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Three war veterans finally get front service recognition

Deputy-Ombudsman Lindstedt: The practice followed in awarding endorsements has not been uniform

28.4.2009

Three war veterans have been given endorsements recognising their service on the front after they complained to the Ombudsman when their applications had been refused.

When they originally submitted their applications, proof of the service that would entitle them to receive the endorsement was deemed not to exist. However, it later emerged that all of them had served during the war in a place that made them eligible for it. On the initiative of Deputy-Ombudsman Jukka Lindstedt, the veterans got their recognition at last.

In October 2008, the Pohjois-Pohjanmaa Regional Office corrected the negative decision that the Oulu Military District had made

In 1981, one of the complainants had asked the Oulu Military District to enter a record of service entitling him to receive a front service endorsement into his military passport. He had been informed that no documentary record of this service could be found. 

It later emerged that he had indeed served in a place that made him eligible to receive the front service endorsement. Although the complainant had not made a written application within the required time limit, his case had nevertheless been deliberated by the Military District.

Deputy-Ombudsman Lindstedt considered it unfair that, owing to negligence on the part of the Military District, the complainant had lost his final chance of receiving the endorsement. The Ministry of Defence and the staff of the Oulu Military Area were likewise of the opinion that it should be possible to review the matter. Finally, on 24.10.2008, the Pohjois-Pohjanmaa Regional Office reversed the Military District's earlier decision and  gave the complainant his endorsement.

The Helsinki Regional Office awarded endorsements to two veterans in March 2009

Two other applicants' for the front veteran recognition had been turned down by the staff of the Helsinki Military Area, and the Ministry of Defence had rejected their appeals. The complainants were aware that, nevertheless, the staff of the Kymi Military Area had awarded the endorsement to persons who had served with air defence companies in the same segment.

No record of service entitling the complainants to the endorsement was found in the documents, but nearly all of the company's papers had vanished. Thus all that could prove that the complainants had served in a company that entitled them to the endorsement was the testimony of their comrades-in-arms.

On the basis of reports presented by the complainants, the Deputy-Ombudsman found it credibly established that they had performed service that entitled them to the front veteran endorsement. On the application of the Ministry of Defence, the Supreme Administrative Court quashed the earlier negative decisions, after which the Helsinki Regional Office awarded the complainants the endorsement on 10.3.2009.

Additional information will be provided by Deputy-Ombudsman Jukka Lindstedt, tel. + 358 (0)9 432 3333.