HUNDREDS of people have joined a campaign for a Wirral soldier who died in the Falklands war to be formally recognised for his “outstanding bravery”.
Corporal Stewart McLaughlin, a section commander in the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment, died aged 27 during the battle of Mt Longdon, on June 12, 1982.
But despite being hailed for his bravery and devotion he has never received formal recognition in the form of a gallantry award.
His son, also called Stewart, told the ECHO the family had met with senior officers who said that the Wallasey soldier’s actions merited award, but rules governing retrospective awards mean they are unable to do so.
The family said they have evidence he was cited at the time but believe it may have been lost in transit from the Falklands.
An e-petition has now been set up calling on the government to amend its awards system to permit retrospective awards for exceptional cases.
More than 600 people have already signed the petition since it was set up last week.
And campaigners, including many serving and former members of the armed forces, are planning to March to Downing Street on July 4
Mr McLaughlin said: “There is an overwhelming amount of support for my dad. He was never formally recognised despite him being instrumental to the success of the battle.
“I’m extremely proud of him and the amount of people who have come on board shows he obviously had a big impact on so many people.”
Wallasey MP Angela Eagle has also given her backing to the campaign.
She told the ECHO: “I hope that the Ministry of Defence will see that there has been an error made here and try and make amends. Corporal McLaughlin showed outstanding bravery and he ought to be recognised for it.”
Last June, a stone plaque was laid next to the New Brighton war memorial by Wirral council following discussions with his family.
A survivor of the Mt Longdon battle, Jimmy O’Connell, who published an e-book on the conflict has said previously: “The respect he has held, even now, in the battalion is immense.“
An MoD spokesman said: “Our thoughts remain with the family of Corporal Stewart McLaughlin of the Parachute Regiment who was tragically killed in fighting to retake the Falkland Islands in 1982. Commanders in the field initiate recommendations for awards. These are then screened at various levels in the chain of command and passed to the Ministry of Defence, where a committee, comprising senior officers with operational experience, decides the appropriate awards.”
For more information or sign the petition visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/60561