MORE than 200 North-East war veterans will next month receive a medal the Queen does not want them to wear.

The Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal was offered by the Malaysian government to the Commonwealth countries who served in Malaya throughout the Fifties and Sixties.

A wrangle over the medal meant that, initially, they could not even be presented to British veterans.

But in January last year, the Queen intervened, under the proviso that the medals should not be worn.

At a presentation in Seaburn, near Sunderland, next month, 205 of the medals will be presented - with veterans expected to wear them.

The veterans, proud of their involvement in the fight against terrorism and communism in the South-East Asia region, are unhappy about the ban.

Gordon King, of Longbenton, North Tyneside, who served in South-East Asia from 1952 to 1955 and 1963 to 1965, said that most of the veterans would defy the ruling.

"We are very bitter about it. The Australian, New Zealand and Fiji lads are all allowed to wear them after the Queen granted them permission. But the British forces have been stopped," he said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said a General Service Medal had been awarded to all the servicemen involved in the conflict, and the decision was taken to preserve the integrity of that accolade.

He added: "Medals are supposed to be something to strive for, a symbol of their level of service and achievement.

"If they are wearing two medals for the same conflict, it might devalue that.

"The Queen has said veterans should not wear these medals. It is not a criminal offence, but it is going against the wishes of the Queen. Nothing will happen if they do wear the medal, because it is not policed."

A statement on campaigning website reads: "This shameful recommendation has brought us together again for one last battle against a very unpleasant form of discrimination and aggression. And we shall not fail.

"We didn't then, and we shall not now."

In the years after the Second World War, Commonwealth forces in Malaya had to defend the country from the threat of Communism.

The insurgents were rebuffed, and in 1963, the country was granted independence from the Commonwealth.