British Army Introduces Elizabeth Medal For Next of Kin

Posted Aug 20, 2009 by Christopher Szabo
The British Army has introduced a new medal for loved ones of soldiers killed in battle. The first Elizabeth Medal was presented to the widow of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.
The New Elizabeth Cross
The New Elizabeth Cross
Wikimedia Commons
The BBC says Karen Upton, widow of 35 year-old Warrant Officer (W.O.) Sean Upton, was awarded the medal shortly before her husband’s funeral at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire. W.O. Upton had been in the army for 19 years. He served in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Cyprus and Bosnia.
The report said the new medal was awarded to ”next of kin of armed forces personnel” to recognize their loss. The thirty two-year-old widow said of her decoration:
It is an absolute honour to receive the very first Elizabeth Cross in Her Majesty's name and comforting to feel the support of Queen and Country. I will wear this Elizabeth Cross in his honour with pride and treasure it always.
Karen Upton said her relationship with her late husband had been a real love story:
Sean and I grew up together, were childhood sweethearts and soulmates. He was a loving husband and devoted father.
Chief of the Defence Staff of the U.K., Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said:
We as a nation owe much to servicemen like WO Upton, who gave his life fighting for our security and freedom. But we all also owe a great debt to his family. The presentation of this first Elizabeth Cross in the name of Her Majesty The Queen is a lasting symbol of the entire nation's gratitude and respect.
This is the first time the name of a reigning monarch has been used for a new award since the George Cross was given to civilians for heroism in 1940.
W.O. Upton was one of 22 British soldiers killed in Afghanistan in July. July was the bloodiest month for British forces in the country since they were deployed in
October 2001.