The Queen presented an OBE, Military Crosses and a Queen’s Gallantry Medal at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh for service and actions conducted in Afghanistan during Operation HERRICK 11.
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright, who was Commanding Officer of Regional Battle Group (South) in southern Afghanistan from April to October 2009, was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his leadership in 13 dangerous battle group operations.
Lieutenant (now Captain) Alexander Phillips, Corporal (now Sergeant) Richard Clark, Corporal Craig Sharp, and Corporal Christopher Reynolds were all presented with Military Crosses at the ceremony.
Captain Phillips was honoured for his ‘exemplary’ leadership when conducting nine aviation assaults. On one occasion he led from the front to conduct a bayonet charge on insurgents to clear a compound.
Sergeant Clark was honoured for his actions when he led his section in an attack on an enemy machine gun nest.
Corporal Sharp was the lead section commander responsible for providing flank protection for the improvised explosive device disposal team who were clearing a route for Jackal reconnaissance vehicles.
Corporal Sharp said he was ‘ecstatic’ to be receiving the honour from the Queen.
Corporal Reynolds was awarded the Military Cross for repeatedly demonstrating extreme bravery and outstanding technical ability as a sniper commander during offensive operations in southern Afghanistan.
On one occasion, Corporal Reynolds put himself in danger in order to personally observe an insurgent firing point. He engaged the enemy with his sniper rifle until he ran out of ammunition and then grabbed an SA80 rifle, stood up in the face of considerable enemy fire, and continued to suppress the enemy. He then picked up a light machine gun and again, fully exposed to enemy fire, engaged from a rooftop.
In addition, Lance Corporal David Timmins, from the Royal Logistic Corps, was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal (QGM).
Commenting on the honour, Lance Corporal Timmins said:
I feel very humbled. It’s nice to be recognised… no-one is looking to be recognised, if that makes sense, but it’s a nice touch.
Lance Corporal Timmins himself was severely injured nine days after the incident for which he was awarded the QGM and credits Captain Wayne Owers, a fellow QGM recipient, for saving his life:
Speaking in March, he said:
I swallowed my tongue, had a collapsed lung and my coronary artery was hit.
I was losing a lot of blood but Captain Owers pulled my tongue out of my mouth, sat me up and wacked me on the back several times saying ‘don’t die on me’.
As a result of that I was sick, cleared my airways and was squared away - we laugh about it now and how his unorthodox medical techniques saved my life!