MoD to award medals to families of fallen

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The Independent Online

The British military is expected to announce that medals will be awarded to the families of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Independent has learnt. The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, is due to make the announcement at the Ministry of Defence today.

Recognition of the families comes at the end of a campaign by veterans groups. A senior defence source told The Independent: "This is something we have been discussing for a while. This does break with tradition but we felt that this was the right thing to do. We expect that this will now become the norm for future campaigns."

Senior officers are expected to decide if the award will become retrospective, allowing families of those killed in previous wars to receive it.

Over six years, 179 service personnel were killed in the Iraq campaign; 169 have died in Afghanistan.

The new Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, decided to allot the medals after consulting senior officers. The decision forms part of a ministry review of the military honours system.