SECOND World war veteran Harry Shindler, known for helping ex-servicepeople and for campaigning for the British expat vote, has been made an MBE in the New Year Honours List.
He was listed for services to Britain veterans and to the community in Italy, where he lives.
“It came as a surprise, but a very pleasant one,” said Mr Shindler. “You don’t do these things because at the end of the road there might be a medal, but because they have to be done. But it’s very pleasing of course if someone pats you on the back and says ‘well done’.”
“It’s for my work in Italy for ex-servicemen and the community work representing expats; a mixture of things.”
Mr Shindler fought in the Battle of Anzio 70, which started 70 years ago this month, and is the official representative in Italy of the Italy Star Association, an association for ex-servicepeople from the Italy campaign in 1943-45.
His efforts have included finding graves of British servicemen killed or listed as missing in action during the war and he recently helped Roger Waters of Pink Floyd find the battlefield where his father was killed.
He is also noted for his tireless legal battles against Britain’s policy of cutting off the expat vote after 15 years. He is currently in talks with the European Commission, which he hopes may initiate action in the European Court of Justice to put pressure on Britain and a handful of other EU countries which limit expat voting rights.
“This is a very important issue, a fundamental issue of democracy and there’s no question we will win at the end of the day,” he said.
“I hope someone in the House of Commons might see some sense and decide to end this farce and agree we get the vote, but the campaign goes on. We want to take to government to the European Court and after that I will take the government to the United Nations.”
Support for ending the 15-year rule can be registered at this site: Votes for Expat Brits
Photo: Mr Shindler meets EU vice-president Viviane Reding last year as part of his votes campaign. © European Union, 2014