Recognising the volunteer reserves is to be applauded

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When reservists enter a war zone, they are putting their lives at risk just as much as their full-time colleagues.

Those aiming to do them harm will not care whether the people they are shooting at are fully enlisted or ‘only’ volunteer reservists.

These reservists are people who wanted to give their time to the armed forces, on top of the day jobs they already have.

The last available figures, from 2014, state that there were more than 28,000 reservists across the navy, army and air force.

They are a significant and important resource. While some may say they are relied on more than they should be, that is another argument.

But long gone is the derogatory image of the weekend warrior – the reservists are highly-trained and effective individuals, relied upon by those around them just as much as any other.

And this is why we welcome the introduction of a new honour for volunteer reservists – those who give more than 10 years of service will now be able to put the letters ‘VR’ after their names.

The award will be regardless of their rank or service and will also be applied retroactively to 1999.

As defence secretary Michael Fallon says: ‘As reservists are members of the armed forces on top of their civilian roles, they give significant and noteworthy service to our country.

‘Each is truly twice the citizen and it is right that we recognise this publicly.’

While the concept of The Big Society has largely faded, the whole ethos of the volunteer reserves fits the bill.

Those who sign up don’t do so for recognition or reward, but because they believe it’s worth doing.

But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be recognised.

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