Do not look away - act! That is the motto of Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Iain Bareham (38), a British Army soldier from Lee-on-Solent, based in Herford, Germany.
In November 2012 WO2 Bareham saw a man tampering with parked vehicles outside his army quarter, and was determined that the man would not get away. Bareham pursued the offender and secured the loot. The recovered bag was found to be full of mobile phones, satellite navigation systems, DVD players and other expensive items taken from parked vehicles.
Herford’s Council Commissioner Christian Manz and Mayor Bruno Wollbrink were so impressed by Iain Bareham’s courageous and selfless action, that they invited Iain and his wife Sharon to a reception. They wanted to thank him personally for his commitment.
Council Commissioner Christian Manz said that “ through Iain’s selfless action, his bravery and his determination, worse had been avoided”. He also regarded the soldier’s action as a “special facet of longstanding German-British friendship” and praised Iain Bareham for not having crossed the border between his own actions and police competence.
Herford’s Mayor Bruno Wollbrink spoke of exemplary behaviour and civil courage and emphasized that the state system could only operate smoothly if the population supported it and participated. Iain Bareham was presented with an award for civil courage and a crate of local German beer Herforder Pils.
Iain Bareham said: “When my wife and I got home after the presentation, we just just looked at each other and asked: Wow! Did this just really happy? It all seemed rather surreal and in the grand scheme of things, my colleagues serving on operations, particularly now in Afghanistan, face much bigger challenges. I just did what I hope everybody would do: The right thing on a difficult day.”
WO2 Iain Bareham is the physical training instructor for the British Army at the Headquarters of 1(UK) Armoured Division in Herford, Germany. He is a keen marathon runner and grew up in Lee-on-Solent. Iain’s parents still live in the south of England, in Southampton.
Iain has served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Norway, Canada and Germany since joining the British Army in 1990. He has been stationed in Herford since April 2011. Iain is married to Sharon and they have a two year old son called Arthur. Iain and his family enjoy being stationed in Germany. He particularly enjoys German beer and German food.
The General Officer Commanding 1(UK) Armoured Division, Major General James Chiswell, also awarded WO2 Iain Bareham with a commendation in a separate ceremony for his courageous and selfless act in apprehending a criminal and for his continued support of Herford station community.
His citation states that “WO2 Bareham is an unassuming Warrant Officer of great integrity and an inspirational leader who epitomises the values and standards of the British Army. He displayed selfless commitment by placing himself in considerable danger for the property of others.”
On Saturday 10 November 2012 at 0630 hrs, WO2 Iain Bareham was alerted by suspicious noises coming from outside his married quarter on Glatzerstrasse in Herford, Germany. On looking out of his bedroom window he observed an unknown man tampering with vehicle doors and placing objects from vehicles into a bag. “First of all I knocked on the window, but the man just carried on”, explained Iain Bareham. “I decided I would confront the individual. I was just stunned by the audacity. Once I got outside, I decided to follow him.”
He then dressed quickly, exited his house and continued to observe the individual further before following him to what he believed was the individual’s place of residence. Once Iain Bareham was certain that the man was at his residence, he challenged him. At this point the offender was behaving in an abusive and threatening manner. “I decided, I needed to take control of the situation. I restrained him. Luckily, a lady in the bottom apartment came to the window, alerted by the noise. I shouted over to her to alert the police,” explained WO2 Iain Bareham.
While trying to restrain the man, a long scuffle broke out, during which the German Police arrived on the scene. “The thief managed to release himself by loosening his jacket and ran away,” said Iain Bareham.
The soldier gained the attention of the police car and then immediately chased after his assailant. “Unfortunately for the guy caught, I am a physical training instructor for the British Army. I have been marathon training lately. I had just finished the Frankfurt marathon, so I had good distance in my legs,” explained Iain Bareham.
After a lengthy chase, the German police arrested the offender, who had jumped into a cellar shaft to hide. In the meantime, WO2 Bareham returned to the block of flats and recovered the bag of stolen goods, which he then handed to the German Police for evidence.
Iain Bareham already had physical contact with criminals in the past: In July 2011, also in Herford, Germany – he had an encounter with another burglar. That time, however, he lost out. He received several kicks to his face and was stabbed. He did succeed in preventing the burglary. “Luckily, the stabbing was only a minor wound, it dented my pride more that he got away”, said Iain Bareham.
In 2008, in York, Bareham himself was attacked and stabbed by a man with a knife. Despite a wound in his buttock he refused to hand over his money. The robber escaped without having achieved anything.