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Well done Neil my old fruit!

Yours for 75. Drop me a line on your return to UK!


Well done on winning the tie & cravat, you'll look great in FW!

Please make cheque payable to CVA and send to 7 Glebe Close, Ambrosden, Bicester, OX25 2LH.

Many thanks


Well done on winning the blazer badge - please make cheque payable to CVA and send to 7 Glebe Close, Ambrosden, Bicester, OX25 2LH.

Many thanks

Well done on winning the knife - please make cheque payable to CVA and send to 7 Glebe Close, Ambrosden, Bicester, OX25 2LH.

Many thanks

Mrs Roderick informed me of this book by John Rickett who is the son of Dr James Rickett, originally a GP near Portsmouth. On being called up he served as a Medical Officer on the island of Vis, Yugoslavia, with No 2 Commando, who were under the command of Brigadier Tom Churchill, along with his brother Jack.
Personally I don't think so - sorry Mr Essence Eden! )
Cheers Paul
10 - just to cover postage.

029/2013 21 March 2013


A soldier who single-handedly cleared an entire compound of insurgents in Afghanistan is amongst military personnel whose outstanding acts of gallantry on operations have been recognised today (Friday 22 March).

Lance Corporal Lawrence Kayser, 27 from Woodton, Norfolk, whose Military Cross was announced today, saved colleagues from a ?potentially disastrous situation? in June 2012 when his platoon came upon a large-group of enemy while preparing an ambush in Helmand.

His citation explains how, during a patrol, LCpl Kayser and his platoon suddenly came under heavy insurgent fire. Realising the entire platoon was at risk, LCpl Kayser took immediate action. Leaping from a ditch, he charged the Taliban fighters and engaged at close quarters, racing into their compound. LCpl Kayser quickly shot and incapacitated an enemy in his path before being hit by shrapnel from a grenade, wounding his arm. But LCpl Kayser ignored the injury to push home his solo assault, driving the remaining insurgents out of the compound and safeguarding his platoon.

An extract from LCpl Kayser?s citation reads:

?Still only an inexperienced Lance Corporal, the decisions Kayser made that day were in the full knowledge of the extreme danger he would be exposed to. At any stage he could have stopped or waited for support but he knew with every second the shock effect of his assault would dissipate placing his comrades in greater danger. He therefore chose to press forwards alone. In the aftermath it became clear that the insurgents that Kayser intercepted were in the process of preparing their own attack. Kayser?s exceptionally gallant actions undoubtedly saved a potentially disastrous situation and are worthy of very significant national recognition.?

His story is just one among many instances of gallantry by servicemen and women highlighted by the latest Operational Honours list published in the London Gazette today (Friday 22 March 2013).

Among the others honoured is RAF Regiment man Sergeant Roy Geddes, 43, of Elgin, Monmouthshire, who played a key role in the defence of Camp Bastion, the main British base in Afghanistan?s Helmand province, and is to receive the Military Cross. At just after 2200 hours on 14 September 2012 a well-armed 15-man insurgent team breached the perimeter fence, launching a battle that would last until dawn. Sgt Geddes heard the gunfire and explosions and immediately responded amid the chaos of a ferocious battle, leading a twelve-man team in Jackal armoured vehicles.

According to his citation, Sgt Geddes ?breathed fire into the spirit of his men? - despite being wounded in the knee when one of his vehicles was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. He successfully extracted his men before joining recently-arrived reinforcements to re-engage with the enemy.

An extract of the citation for Sgt Geddes, who is only the second member of the RAF to receive the MC for action in Afghanistan, reads:

?Despite being wounded, he insisted on leading the assaulting troops to the enemy position and immediately found himself back in the thick of the action, directing and guiding his men in pressing home the attack, neutralising the five insurgents. Immediately upon securing this location, he regrouped his men to continue to fight through enemy positions north towards the US Marine Corps Harrier operating area, which was ablaze. It was not until first light on 15 September when the airfield had been secured that Geddes was extracted to medical attention and even then, only because he was ordered to by the Squadron Commander.?

Another serviceman recognised today is Sergeant Anthony Russell, 42, of Bath, Somerset, a Royal Marine serving as a winchman in a Royal Navy Sea King. Sgt Russell is to receive the George Medal for his courageous rescue of the occupants of a floundering yacht.

As well as recognition of outstanding gallantry, the Operational Awards List also includes honours for meritorious service.

Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond MP said:

?In a changing world the bravery and commitment to duty of our servicemen and women remains unswerving. Whether fighting for our security on operations abroad or rescuing mountaineers and sailors within the British Isles, they deserve our gratitude and respect. I hope that the awards announced today go some way to underlining how much this country values the efforts and sacrifices of our Armed Forces.?


A full list of those honoured can be found in the London Gazette. The website is

All recipients will be formally presented with their awards at a later date.

Images of the names of recipients being announced at a ceremony at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on Thursday 21 March will be available on the Defence Imagery website from approx 1400 on Thursday 21 March: under ?Latest Packages?. To access the site enter the username GuestUser and the password HardDrive.

For more information about this press release, contact Lex Oliver in the Ministry of Defence Press Office on 0207 218 4947.

Background information on Operational Honours

Following acts of gallantry or meritorious service, recommendations for honours and awards are made by commanding officers. These are then passed up the chain of command for consideration.

In the case of operational honours the theatre commander is able to judge each citation against others in his command and to comment on them. From there the citations that are endorsed are passed to the overall operational commander, for example the Chief of Joint Operations in Northwood for further comparison before being passed to the MOD Armed Forces Operational Awards Committee.

This committee, which is chaired by the Defence Services Secretary, has as its members, the Naval, Army and Air Secretaries and the Deputy Chief of Joint Operations ? all 2 star officers who have had considerable operational experience themselves, recommends which awards should be made and in what quantity.

These recommendations are then considered and endorsed by the MOS Services Honours Committee, which is chaired by the 2nd PUS, before being submitted to Her Majesty, The Queen through the Defence Secretary for her approval.

There is an additional step for recommendations of the two highest awards ? the Victoria Cross and the George Cross. VC recommendations are endorsed by the VC Committee comprising the Permanent Under Secretary and the Service Chiefs of Staff. Those for the George Cross are endorsed by members of the George Cross Military Committee, which is a sub committee for the Honours and Decorations Committee.

A similar system is used through national command chains for the State awards at the Queen?s Birthday and New Year Honours Lists. At any time during this staffing chain recommendations may be upgraded or downgraded to ensure that awards are made at the correct level. The system ensures that consistent standards are applied to ensure there is no diminution of the value of awards.

The system for the award of Decorations and other Honours to Service personnel underwent a major revision in 1993, when the practise of having in some categories of award, different medals for Officers and other ranks were discontinued. Thus for example the Military Medal is no longer awarded to Non Commissioned Ranks, who instead are now eligible for the Military Cross which had previously been reserved for Officers and Warrant Officers.

All awards, except for membership of Orders, can be given posthumously.

Where a medal is worn by an individual more than once, the second and subsequent awards are denoted by a Bar worn on the medal ribbon. Thus the phrase DFC and Bar (sometimes shortened to DFC*) denotes the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross twice to the same individual.

Hierarchy of gallantry, leadership and bravery awards for active operations (in presence of the enemy)

Level 1

Victoria Cross (VC)

Level 2

Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
(for command and leadership)

Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC)
(for gallantry)

Level 3

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
(at sea)

Military Cross (MC)
(on land)

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
(in the air)

Level 4

Mention in Despatches
(for bravery, no post-nominal)

Hierarchy of gallantry and bravery awards for non-active operations (not in presence of the enemy)

Level 1

George Cross (GC)

Level 2

George Medal (GM)

Level 3

Queens's Gallantry Medal (QGM)

Air Force Cross (AFC)

Level 4

Queen's Commendation for Bravery

Queen's Commendation for Bravery in the Air

(both for bravery, no post-nominal)

Operation HERRICK 16 Spring 2012 to Autumn 2012

Around 6,400 soldiers under the command of Brigadier Doug Chalmers deployed on Herrick 16 in Helmand, contributing to the increasing security of Afghanistan and the training of Afghan Security Forces.

Key achievements include:

A significant transfer of lead security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in Nahr-e-Saraj.

The transfer from ISAF to the ANSF of six large patrol bases and three small checkpoints in Nahr-e-Saraj, whilst at the same time, the 40 Commando Royal Marines-led headquarters has completed two complex mergers, allowing two battle group headquarters to recover to the UK.

Successful operations in the depth of the Protected Communities with the aim of disrupting the Insurgency and setting the condition for the ANSF to develop and provide effective security in Central Helmand.

Tangible reduction on attacks on civilian convoys and IED incidents on Route 601 through the encouragement of the AUP to conduct operations in depth

Mentoring of specialist reconnaissance elements of the ANA and the AUP.

Units involved in Op HERRICK 17, Autumn 2012 to Spring 2013

Transition Support Unit Nahr-e-Saraj (40 Commando Royal Marines)

Transition Support Unit Lashkar Gah (1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster?s Regiment)

Transition Support Unit Nad-e-Ali (1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment)

Brigade Advisor Group (1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland)

Brigade Theatre Echelon (The Queen?s Royal Lancers)

Chance for Change are supporting an initiative to help restore Inverailort House.

Jack Bakker has sent this link to a really nice video that they have made and added to their website.

As Jack says - it really makes you want to be there.

Here is a link to the latest version of the video:
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