War hero’s dismay as new bid refused

Alan Cunliffe, who has received a second letter turning down his bid for a Battle Command clasp.
Alan Cunliffe, who has received a second letter turning down his bid for a Battle Command clasp.
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A Fylde war veteran says he is giving up on his battle for a service honour after his application was turned down for a second time.

Alan Cunliffe, 90, from Wrea Green, heard earlier this month his initial bid for a Bomber Command Clasp had been turned down by the Government.

After reapplying, he has received a second letter turning his bid down.

The letter from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency says his unit was “part of the Mediterranean Allied Air Force so regrettably you are not eligible.”

The clasp is only for raids in Western Europe.

Mr Cunliffe described the decision as “a nonsense”.

He said: “We were bombing some of the same targets as they were bombing from England.

“I am dismayed at this decision. But that’s it, I am not going to apply again.”

As a Flying Officer during the Second World War, Mr Cunliffe risked his life to complete 36 missions at a time when RAF bomber command soldiers were fortunate to survive seven raids before being shot down.

Other applicants for the clasp are also disappointed at the decision.

Russell Jones, from Poulton, is currently applying for the same medal on behalf of his 91-year-old father Eric.

He said: “I was so annoyed for Mr Cunliffe because he’s such a nice guy.

“There’s quite a few people of that age who got badly treated.

“These are people who went through something we’ll never experience and they’re being done out of something they deserve.”

Target raids on Europe

As a 22-year-old serviceman, Mr Cunliffe was a navigator on Wellington and Liberator aircraft flying from an aerodrome in Southern Italy.

They were dispatched to targets across Europe including the south of France, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

The MoD has said it is “carefully considering” all appeals for the Bomber Command clasp to ensure “the qualification criteria were originally interpreted correctly.”

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