Up to 300,000 brave former Servicemen robbed of pensions by a cruel legal loophole are demanding a change in the law.
The veterans don’t get a penny because those who left the Forces before the pension was introduced in 1975 are not eligible if they served less than 15 years.
Those who left after 1975 get a pro-rata pension provided they served at least two years.
Now a petition has been launched to change the rules so that those who left pre-1975 get the same deal.
Ahead of Remembrance Day the petition, which already has nearly 22,000 signatures, was delivered to the door of 10 Downing Street by campaigners and the Sunday Mirror.
Paul Coddington, 74, a former Royal Engineers lance corporal, said: “I’ve met people in dire straits due to this, living homeless and committing offences they never would have otherwise. They need help. Hopefully Theresa May will take notice.”
Paul, whose service from 1962 to 1971 included tours in Germany and Singapore, added: “I left after nine years and went back to university before joining the probation service.
“But if someone had told me I needed to do 15 years to receive my military pension I would have. It was never explained to us.
“There are a lot of platitudes and they say they care about you, but you serve and then they don’t want to know you.”
Chris Cooper, 71, who was in the Royal Navy for a decade until being made redundant in 1973, said: “Many of us were forced out by defence cuts and didn’t have a chance to continue.”
Chris, a chief petty officer stationed on ships across the world including in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, added: “We are asking for a review of decisions made in the past which are not just and fair to all.”
In 2008, 135 MPs backed a bid to prompt a full Commons debate on veterans’ pensions but it was never heard.
The MoD said it “sympathised” with the veterans but added: “The issue of pre-1975 pensions is common to all public service schemes and it has been the policy of successive governments not to make retrospective changes.”
Not a penny for nine years
Navy veteran Barry Cuckow, 76, gets no cash from nine years of service that ended in 1969.
The former leading radio operator, who went on to work for the Government intelligence nerve centre GCHQ, said: “I have a civil servant pension but nothing from the Navy, even though I paid into a military pension for five years of my service.
"There are lots of people struggling.
"I’m OK financially by comparison, but I’m doing this for those people who really need it.”
You can sign the petition online at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/equal-pension-rights-for-veterans-of-her-majesties-forces-serving-before-1975
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