1. ITV Report

Growing controversy over Bomber Command award

There is growing controversy over the special award that's been given to those who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War.

It has been highlighted by an anomaly involving two war veterans in the same squadron, who flew in the same Stirling aircraft over Germany. One of them has received the Bomber Command clasp, the other has had his application rejected.

88-year-old Denis Gill from Worlingham in Suffolk has been given one. He was a rear gunner and flew 34 missions with 199 Squadron from North Creake in Norfolk. The only other surviving crew member, 90-year-old Andy Croxall from Atherstone in Warwickshire, has not received one.

He flew 24 missions and believes he should get the clasp.

If Gilly's got one, which he fully deserves, I think I should get one as well.

– Andy Croxall
Denis Gill has been given a clasp, while Andy Croxall has not. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Denis Gill agrees wholeheartedly.

For Andy not to get one seems very strange. There's something wrong there. He certainly deserves one.

– Denis Gill

The Ministry of Defence says it is the number of days served, which determines who receives the clasp.

The Bomber Command Clasp is granted to the aircrew of Bomber Command who served for at least sixty days, or completed a tour of operations, on a Bomber Command operational unit and flew at least one operational sortie on a Bomber Command operational unit from the 3 September 1939 to the 8 May 1945 inclusive. This applies to Servicemen after they have met the minimum qualification for the 1939-45 Star, which in many cases, though not exclusively, is sixty days.To be clear, servicemen must have already qualified for the 1939-45 Star before their time can count toward the required sixty day qualification period for the Bomber Command Clasp.

– Ministry of Defence spokesperson

Critics say that, due to the massive casualties suffered by Bomber Command, anyone who flew a single mission deserves the clasp.

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