This new award has been created to provide national recognition for the families of Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism.
The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll are granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice. The Elizabeth Cross is not a posthumous medal for the fallen but an emblem demonstrating tangible national recognition for Service families for their loss.
Not all deaths of Service personnel are included in this scheme. The death of any service person, whatever the circumstances, is a tragic loss to his or her family and to the Armed Forces as a whole, but the Elizabeth Cross was instituted specifically to recognise the unique challenges that service personnel face on operations and from terrorism, and the particular burden this places on Service families.
The first Elizabeth Crosses and Memorial Scrolls are to be granted from 1 August 2009 (and will be retrospective to the end of the Second World War). All eligible Next of Kin of those who died between 1 January 1948 to date (see below – ‘Eligibility’) are strongly advised to apply, although the MOD Medal Office will endeavour to establish contact with the more recent eligible families, where up to date contact details are held. See below – ‘Recipients and How to Apply’.
The Elizabeth Cross
The Elizabeth Cross is made of hallmarked silver and is in the form of a cross with a laurel wreath passing between the arms. The arms of the Cross bear floral symbols representing England (Rose), Scotland (Thistle), Ireland (Shamrock) and Wales (Daffodil). The centre of the Cross bears the crowned Cypher of Her Majesty The Queen. The reverse of the Cross is engraved with the name of the Service person in whose memory it is granted. The Elizabeth Cross, accompanied by a miniature version, is presented in a black leather style presentation box with the Royal Cypher on the lid and the Royal Coat of Arms on the inner silk lining.
The Memorial Scroll
The Memorial Scroll is on parchment style paper, headed with the Royal Coat of Arms and the following words “This Scroll Commemorates…who gave his/her life for Queen and Country on…” The Scroll bears the signature of Her Majesty The Queen in the upper left hand corner.
Eligible personnel to be remembered in this way are those who were serving with, or former members of, the Regular and Reserve Armed Forces or the Royal Fleet Auxiliary when deployed in direct support of a designated operation.
The Next of Kin of eligible personnel whose deaths fall into the following categories are to be recognised:
- Those who died from whatever cause whilst serving on a medal earning operation. Medal earning operations are those in which deployed personnel received a Campaign Medal, General Service Medal or Operational Service Medal which demonstrated the risk and rigour involved. Operations where a UN, NATO or other international body or other nations’ campaign medal was accepted for wear, in the absence of a UK medal also qualify
- Those who died as a result of an act of terrorism where the available evidence suggests that the Service person, whether on or off duty, was targeted because of his or her membership of the UK Armed Forces
- Those who died on a non-medal earning operational task where death has been caused by the inherent high risk of the task
- Those who died a subsequent and premature death as a result of an injury or illness attributed to the circumstances outlined above
In addition to recognising future operational deaths in this way, deaths in the circumstances outlined above that occurred after 1 January 1948, or as a result of service in Palestine since 27 September 1945 will be recognised retrospectively. These dates reflect the fact that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission attributed deaths up to 1 January 1948 to World War II service (with the exception of Palestine).
Recipients and How to Apply
Next of Kin can apply for both the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll. For retrospective claims and when the Next of Kin is deceased, their legal successor may apply. Only one Elizabeth Cross is granted for each death recognised.
An additional Memorial Scroll only is available to the following (or their legal successors) where they are not the Next of Kin:
- The parents of the deceased
- The spouse/partner of the deceased or someone who had a substantive relationship with the deceased
Note however that as a Memorial Scroll was issued at the time to those who died in the Korean War, the Elizabeth Cross only (and not the new Memorial Scroll) will be issued in remembrance of those who died during that war.
Application forms can be found via the links on the right under “Related pages” and should be returned to:
MOD Medal Office
Presentation of Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll
For new qualifying deaths after 1 August 2009, it is intended that, in most cases, the Next of Kin will be offered the opportunity for the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll to be presented privately and in an appropriate way at the time of the funeral if they so wish.
For retrospective cases, Next of Kin who are resident in the UK will be offered the choice of whether they wish to receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll at a formal presentation ceremony in the region where they live. Such presentations may be made by a Lord Lieutenant or a senior military representative. It is likely to be some months before these events are arranged as locations will very much depend on the number of recipients living in a particular region and we cannot establish this until applications are received. Further details will be sent to those who are to receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll.
If they prefer, families may chose to receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll by Recorded Delivery post. Next of Kin living overseas will normally receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll in this way.