WITH the large number of casualties in Afghanistan in the last 12 months, this year's Remembrance Sunday will be especially poignant and painful.

Yet, as we remember and salute the sacrifice of so many over all too many wars, it is slightly shocking that this autumn the Ministry of Defence rejected the proposal for a National Defence Medal to recognise the efforts of everyone who has served in our armed forces.

The British Veterans' National Defence Medal (NDM) campaign has a simple objective - to give full official recognition to our sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen who have served the nation since the Second World War.

So, whether they served in the Korean War, in Cyprus, in the Cold War - when hundreds of men and women died on duty - or during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the veterans leading this campaign want to ensure all our ex-servicemen and women are honoured.

Before backing this campaign, I asked the obvious question: "Won't this devalue the honours system more widely?" The answer 'no' was compelling - not least as it came by way of example after example of men and women who had risked their lives for us while in the armed forces yet had received little or no recognition beyond a lapel badge. In a recent report examining arguments for and against such a new medal, the situation in other countries is compared. Australia, New Zealand and the USA all have the type of medal our veterans seek. Is it too much to ask our Government to do the same for our forgotten heroes?

Kingston constituents can call Edward Davey on 020 8288 0161, visit his website at: www.edwarddavey.co.uk