Belfast Telegraph

RIR soldier's mum puts medal plan to Paterson

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

The campaigning mother of a Co Londonderry soldier killed in Afghanistan said she was “encouraged” after meeting the Secretary of State.

Margaret McCormick, who is calling for official recognition for military personnel killed on active service, described the hour-long meeting with Owen Paterson at Hillsborough Castle as “helpful” and “useful”.

Her son, Ranger Aaron McCormick (20), from Macosquin near Coleraine, was killed while clearing roadside bombs in Helmand province on Remembrance Sunday 2010.

She launched the campaign because Ranger McCormick’s name was excluded from a list of 140 soldiers recognised for their bravery in the most recent military honours list.

Mrs McCormick accused the MoD of snubbing her son.

“It’s too late now to have recognition for Aaron,” she told the Belfast Telegraph. “But what we are looking for is recognition for all the soldiers killed. We want a British version of the Purple Heart which is presented to American soldiers killed or injured on active service.

“The Secretary of State was very receptive to the idea and said he would be meeting officials from the Ministry of Defence either before or immediately after Christmas.

“He listened to everything that we said and he was very interested in raising the issue of our own Purple Heart.”

Currently, the Elizabeth Cross is presented to the families of soldiers killed in action. However, Mrs McCormick wants a separate award that recognises individual servicemen and women to be introduced.

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