The UK’s 2.5 million strong Armed Forces veterans will receive a new ID card from next year, which will be the first time former members of the military have been formally recognised.

The ID cards will give veterans immediate access to specialist services, which already stretch from priority health care and housing to hundreds of retail discount offers.

They are intended to be a badge of honour for all ex-Royal Navy, Army and RAF personnel who have served their country.

The move – which mirrors US’s Veterans Affairs ID card – answers a long standing call by vets, who often struggle to prove they have served, when applying for various discounts.

It is the first time the state has ever issued official proof of identity for veterans despite generations making the sacrifice of service over the centuries.

The idea was the brain child of Veterans Minister Tobias Ellwood.

Mr Ellwood explained: “As a former soldier, I am aware of the personal attachment with the service ID.”

“Carried at all times, it becomes symbolic of the responsibility and there is a strange sense of loss when upon departing the Armed Forces, it is taken from you.”

“I’m delighted this initiative, which sits in the Armed Forces Covenant, will help us all better recognise our veterans and their service to our Country.”