Justice at last for Norwich war veteran awarded Bomber Command clasp

Jack Webster, of Costessey, who was with Bomber Command, who also does not qualify for a clasp on his medal. Picture: Denise Bradley Jack Webster, of Costessey, who was with Bomber Command, who also does not qualify for a clasp on his medal. Picture: Denise Bradley

Thursday, August 15, 2013
8:30 AM

War hero Jack Webster has at last been awarded the Bomber Command clasp he so richly deserved.

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Former Lancaster wireless operator Mr Webster, 88, flew five Bomber Command operations over Germany.

But his application for the new honour was rejected twice by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which quibbled over strict length of service requirements.

Mr Webster’s case was backed by the EDP and his Norwich South MP Simon Wright. Now, following two more letters from Mr Webster, a small package containing the clasp has dropped through the letterbox of his home in Glenda Road, New Costessey.

A brief accompanying note explained that “new evidence” had been presented, confirming his eligibility.

Mr Webster said he would be wearing the clasp in public for the first time, with his other medals, at next month’s Battle of Britain commemorations in Norwich.

“Until now we didn’t have anything to show we were even in the air force, let alone air crew. It felt wrong,” he said.

Mr Wright said it was “fantastic news.” He added: “Mr Webster served with great distinction and bravery and it is right that his contribution should be recognised.”

But there is, as yet, no good news for veteran John Joyner, 89, of Burnt Hills Cromer. MoD claims he had only served for 52 days, instead of the required 60.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, said he was encouraged by Mr Webster’s success, which indicated some flexibility on MoD’s part, and had written a second letter to veterans minister Mark Francois, pleading Mr Joyner’s case.

■ North Walsham resident Mike Leverington, of Banningham Court, said his 93-year-old father, who lives in Hampshire, has also just been awarded the clasp after two initial rejections by MoD.

Mr Leverington senior was shot down on his fourth or fifth Bomber Command operation and became a prisoner of war, spending time in Buchenwald concentration camp from where he was transferred to Stalag Luft III, the day before he was due to be shot. MoD had also questioned his length of service.

His son said the clasp’s arrival had delighted his father, particularly as he had felt MoD’s earlier rejections had somehow branded him a liar.

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