Palma.—Earlier this year, the Government launched the clasp for those who had taken part in the air offensive during the Second World War and Philip Green, who has lived in Majorca for over 25 years now and was a flight navigator for 108 Bomber Command Squadron applied for the clasp.

Only to be knocked back.
Green, who, after having trained with Bomber Command in Britain where the squadron was based, was eventually deployed to Middle East Command to be based at LG 234 near the Pyramids with Rommel at the gates of Cairo.

He and his crew flew and completed four sorties before being shot down and taken captive. He then spent the next two and half years as a prisoner of war in Italy and then Germany.

Bomber Command suffered the highest casualty rate of the British Armed Forces in the Second World War, losing 55'573 of the 125'000 who served.
Yet, from the moment the war ended, veterans have complained that they have been officially overlooked, blaming government disquiet at the cost in German civilian lives caused by their raids.

In his V-E Day speech, Winston Churchill, the prime minister, pointedly omitted to mention the contribution made by Bomber Command.
The Bomber Command clasp was introduced in February following a review of military decorations by former diplomat Sir John Holmes, who concluded that Bomber Command had been treated “inconsistently” with their Fighter Command counterparts. At the same time, it granted a medal to sailors who had served on Arctic convoys. Green said that when he first applied, on the form there “was no mention of any special criteria.” On the official form it states “A Clasp to the 1939-45 Star is granted to the aircrew of Bomber Command who served for at least sixty days, or completed a tour of operations, on a Bomber Command operational unit and flew at least one operational sortie on a Bomber Command operational unit from the 3rd September, 1939, to the 8th May, 1945, inclusive.” Green had completed four sorties and admits that it was not his fault he was shot down and taken prisoner of war, something the application form also states will not be held against any one applying for the clasp. “The clasp was introduced to finally honour Bomber Command's great efforts after having been snubbed after the war and now I'm being snubbed again,” Green said yesterday. “I know it's not the RAF it's the MOD and they keep moving the goal posts, the number of sorties, the length of time served has been lengthened from 60 days to 120 days. RAF records show that 108 Squadron was part of Bomber Command from September 3 1939 to April 8 1940.” The final letter he received ends “We at the Medal Office are sorry for the confusion caused and are aware how disappointed you must be. Please be aware our decision is bound by the criteria of the Clasp and in no way undervalues you service during the Second World War.” Well that is how Green feels. “Saying we were not part of Bomber Command because we were in the Middle East would be like ruling the 8th Army was not part of the British Army. It's absolutely ridiculous and leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. “Being snubbed in this manner makes it feel like all the sorties we carried out, risking our lives, were for nothing, were useless and a waste of time. I don't know if any other surviving members of Bomber Command have been treated in this way, it's a disgrace,” he added yesterday. In fact, many veterans have snubbed the clasp , disgusted at being offered only a clasp rather than a medal and are boycotting the award, with barely half of those eligible having so far applied for it.