The least we can do for Sgt Matthew TelfordPosted on September 9, 2010
This is Sgt Matthew Telford, of the Grenadier Guards. A soldier in the British Army since 1991, he eventually gave his life for his country in November 2009 when he was murdered along with four of his comrades by a rogue Afghan Police officer.
The fulsome praise for Sgt Telford from others who worked with him are a testament to his ability and loyalty to his country and his family.
When he and his comrades were killed, then Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said:
“They were men of courage who died building security in Afghanistan and protecting people in the UK from terrorism. My deepest sympathies and condolences lie with their grieving families, friends, and all those who served alongside them, who will feel the pain of loss most intensely. They are in all our thoughts.”
The Government’s sympathies and thoughts may have been with Sgt Telford’s bereaved wife and sons, but that seems to be where the goodwill ended.
Under the current rules for Army pensions, his family are only entitled to a Corporal’s pension because he had served less than 12 months as a Sergeant. He stepped up to the plate to do that job when his country asked him to, but when it claimed his life his country dodged its responsibilities and downgraded him to a Corporal again.
I understand why this rule is in place – it prevents people getting a promotion then leaving the Army straight afterwards, or being given a deliberate promotion just before retirement in order to cash in. However, surely it could be waived for those who are killed on active service?
Sgt Matthew Telford gave 18 years’ service to his nation, and eventually gave everything he had in that service. Surely giving his wife and sons the pension commensurate to his rank is the very least the nation could do in return?