Minister of State (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) Johnny Mercer DATE 15112022 CREDIT Alamy
Politics

Johnny Mercer explains his reasons for not wearing military medals

Minister of State (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) Johnny Mercer DATE 15112022 CREDIT Alamy

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Johnny Mercer has explained his reasons for not wearing any issued medals while laying a poppy wreath during the National Service of Remembrance parade on Sunday.

Some Armed Forces veterans expressed surprise at seeing the former British Army officer and decorated veteran of Afghanistan not wearing the medals he was awarded during his time in service.

Mr Mercer responded to the social media comments via his Twitter account, saying: "Some very legitimate questions about why I don't wear my medals. It's personal – neither right nor wrong, just my decision. Not a big deal."

For those still wanting answers, the MP for Plymouth Moor View pointed them towards a recent interview in which he featured during the LBC talk radio podcast, Sweeney Talks.

During the podcast, Mr Mercer discusses everything from his reasons for getting into politics to his time dicing with death during his three tours to Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

In the podcast hosted by John Sweeney, he was asked: "Did you get a gong?" and Mr Mercer responded: "I never actually collected any of my medals. I am not really a ceremonial sort of chap."

British Army Medics DATE 14112022 CREDIT Alamy
Johnny Mercer talks about his tours of Afghanistan and his role co-ordinating joint fires (Picture: Alamy).

Mr Mercer went on to explain that during his tour in 2010, a colleague and "right-hand man" was shot and killed directly in front of him and that his actions during that incident were recognised as worthy of a gallantry medal.

However, the then captain later asked his superior to have his name removed from the list of names who were to be put forward for a gallantry award.

He said: "When they were talking about medals and so on, I just couldn't really put together in my mind going to see his parents, who were absolutely devastated and died well before their time years later, and talking about their son and getting a gallantry medal at the same time

"For me, that is something I couldn't put together in my mind."

Mr Mercer does mention that, at times, he does feel some regret for turning the down chance of being awarded a military medal for his actions.

However, he went on to say: "Ultimately, standing there that summer, covered in blood and sweat, I decided that this was not for me and I stand by that decision 100%."

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