Homes for heroes? Soldier forced to sell medals to afford a house highlights plight of many – Scotsman comment

Days after the First World War ended, then Prime Minister David Lloyd George gave a speech that came to be summed up in the pithy phrase “home for heroes”.

Shaun Jardine, of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, holds his Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire)
Shaun Jardine, of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, holds his Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

As soldiers prepared to return home, he told the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton: “What is our task? To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in… the housing of the people must be a national concern, and must be undertaken as such.”

A century later and a modern-day military hero is selling medals won for valour displayed during the Iraq War in order to afford a house.

In August 2003, Shaun Jardine, then 21, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, and his team came under heavy machine-gun fire.Ordering the others to provide covering fire, he assaulted two enemy positions in succession, killing two attackers.

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He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, second only to the Victoria Cross and the only such medal to have been given to a Scottish regiment. It is expected to fetch up to £140,000 and is being sold along with Mr Jardine’s other medals.

Regardless of whether he possesses the medal or not, he will always be remembered for his bravery, but it is a shame that he finds himself in a position where he feels the need to sell them.

That shame is not his, but society’s. Many people, of Mr Jardine’s age and younger in particular, find it almost impossible to afford a home, a problem that has been only getting worse in recent years.

It’s time for modern politicians to remember Lloyd George’s words and make “the housing of the people… a national concern” once more.

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