The Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) has confirmed to us that British soldiers in Bosnia have not changed their shoulder insignia, contrary to a wildly shared tweet from the ‘Veterans for Britain’ group.
Veterans for Britain expressed anger last week that ‘British Forces were being put under the EU flag’ whilst participating in Operation Althea.
Good to see EU flags REMOVED from the uniforms of British soldiers in Bosnia after it caused outrage in the UK.
They’re replaced by op badges or nothing.
Those keen to normalise the EU branding of HM Armed Forces claimed EU flags were an ‘essential identifier’. Apparently not so. pic.twitter.com/ZQ6vkxMdvp
— Veterans for Britain (@VeteransBritain) September 9, 2018
According to NATO:
‘The EU-led military operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) provides capacity-building and training support to the Armed Forces of BiH, it reinforces the BiH efforts to maintain the safe and secure environment in the region and supports the overall EU comprehensive strategy for BiH’
The opposition to the EU insignia made national news last week when Andrew Bridgen MP addressed the House of Commons. He asked for “an urgent statement on UK participation in the EU army that doesn’t exist”, referencing the Brexit campaign in which the prospect of an ‘EU Army’ was dismissed as “scaremongering”.
It seemed to me that Veterans for Britain then appeared to suggest that British soldiers were no longer wearing the EU insignia due to the supposed ‘outrage’ it had caused. However, both PJHQ and the Ministry of Defence confirmed to me that no change had been enacted with regard to shoulder insignia.
It is unclear whether Veterans for Britain were acting with any motivation or were simply incorrect. What is clear however, is that social media myths must be challenged.