UK Govt. may order probe of Afghan medals scam

May 3rd, 2009 - 5:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown London, May 3 (ANI): The arrest of a British Army major who won the Military Cross “for consistent bravery and inspirational leadership” after he allegedly exaggerated accounts of his bravery, has reportedly prompted the Gordon Brown government to consider a review of the dozens of gallantry medals awarded to British troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province.

This is the first time such an investigation has been conducted by the British Army and could have far-reaching implications for the way honours and awards are “written up” by senior officers, reports The Telegraph.

There has been concern about the so-called “medal inflation” creeping into the Armed Forces, under which units have ended up with a larger haul of medals for actions in Helmand than they would have received under similar circumstances in previous conflicts.

The special investigation branch of the Royal Military Police arrested Major Robert Michael Armstrong, 35, last week following a complaint by another officer.

Armstrong was attached to the 1st Battalion of The Royal Irish Regiment battle group in Helmand.

The Sunday Telegraph understands that the unnamed officer complained that Major Armstrong exaggerated his involvement in battles and that actions attributed to himself were actually those of fellow officers.

It is also understood that Lt Col Edward Freely, the commanding officer of the Royal Irish battle group, could also be questioned if the investigations go any further.

Lt Col Freely was responsible for writing all citations that led to 17 awards given to members of his battle group.

The haul included three Conspicuous Gallantry Crosses, a feat unprecedented in the Army.

Sources have confirmed to The Sunday Telegraph that if there is any substance to the allegations surrounding the falsifying of citations within the battle group then all 17 honours and awards could be reviewed.

The claim has left many in the Army stunned. Lt Col Freely is a highly regarded officer who is destined for high command. (ANI)

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