Defence Secretary Ben Wallace raises eyebrows after attending a military ceremony wearing a medal he won as an ARCHER
- Ben Wallace attended ceremony to honour valour of the Armed Forces last week
- He wore a medal he won serving in the Scots Guards in Northern Ireland in 1992
- Wallace also wore a second medal he earned via the Royal Company of Archers
Ben Wallace wearing the Northern Ireland service medal (left) and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (right) which he earned through the Royal Company of Archers
Attending a military awards ceremony last week, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace proudly wore the Northern Ireland service medal adorned with the bronze oak leaf that, as a Scots Guards officer, he won in 1992 for being mentioned in dispatches after capturing an IRA unit.
But some guests were more interested in a second medal that was pinned to his chest during the ceremony – known as The Millies – to mark the valour of the Armed Forces.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal was introduced in 2012 and is given to military personnel and emergency service workers with at least five years’ continuous service until at least February 6, 2012. But Mr Wallace left the Army around 1998, sparking speculation that he was wearing a medal he had not earned.
The Mail on Sunday has established, however, that he is entitled to wear it through his association with the Royal Company of Archers (RCA), a little-known ceremonial society whose members are largely drawn from Scotland’s nobility.
The RCA was formed in 1676 and has 500 largely elderly members who carry longbows and dress in feathered caps and gold embroidered tunics at ceremonial events.
But Mr Wallace’s rather peculiar entitlement to the medal has not impressed everyone.
Ben Wallace, Defence Minister, and Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, pictured outside Downing Street last month
One serving Non-Commissioned Officer at The Millies said: ‘Nobody doubts the Defence Secretary’s gallantry, but as he only qualified for the Jubilee Medal through membership of this peculiar ceremonial outfit, he was perhaps not best advised to wear it to the Millies or on Remembrance Sunday which he has done in the past.
‘A few soldiers were muttering that perhaps they worked a bit harder for the right to wear it than the Archers, who haven’t drawn a bow in anger for centuries.’
Last night, a spokesman for Mr Wallace declined to comment.
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