British Sergeants honoured for work with Estonians in Helmand

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Two British Sergeants who served closely with the Estonian Company in northern Nad 'Ali, Helmand province, for six months have been awarded with the Estonian Army Silver Cross of Merit.

The Commander of the Estonian Land Forces, Colonel Indrek Sirel, awarded Sergeant Wayne Shorthouse, from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA), and Sergeant Kevin Tomlinson, from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, for the co-operation and great support provided by the two non-commissioned officers (NCOs) to the Estonian Company in Helmand over the last six months.

Sergeant Shorthouse was assigned to the Estonian Company as 3 PARA Liaison Officer. Sergeant Tomlinson served as the Afghan National Army (ANA) advisor in the area of responsibility of the Estonian Company.

The medals were presented on Friday in Patrol Base Wahid by Major Ranno Raudsik, Officer Commanding the Estonian Company, who said:

We appreciate the support provided by the British NCOs to our Company. Both Sergeants showed initiative and stayed professional even in most difficult situations. Thanks to their dedication there was good information exchange with the Battle Group and we can rely on the ANA during the patrols.

Sergeant Tomlinson said:

It’s been quite easy to serve with Estonians, they are good blokes. Different personality to the Brits but still we get along well.

Sergeant Shorthouse added:

I found that Estonians are very professional soldiers.

The Estonian Army Silver Cross of Merit is the highest Land Forces medal for NCOs. The medal has been presented since 2004 and it’s given to NCOs for contributing to the development of the Land Forces.

There are only two foreign NCOs who have received it previously, one of whom is British.

Most of the 164 Estonian troops in Afghanistan are based in Patrol Base Wahid and the surrounding checkpoints in northern Nad ‘Ali, where they work alongside British troops from 3 PARA to drive out insurgent elements, restore peace and stability to communities, and develop the capability of Afghanistan’s own armed forces.