Army personnel recognised for their operational talents

The fight against COVID-19 in our worldwide theatres of operation is recognised in the Armed Forces Operational Awards List Number 55, published in the London Gazette today (26 Mar 21).

Fifteen soldiers and officers pick up awards in respect of worldwide operations for the period from April 2019 to September 2020.

While the Army is supporting the COVID response in the UK, there are also many troops - deployed around the globe in support of allies or partner nations - who are working to support other countries through the pandemic. Under the Army transformation plan, and the push for innovative Future Soldier capabilities, more troops will be deployed more globally, more of the time. We will be present in the places which matter most to the UK, meaning we can better anticipate events and reassure our allies.

Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Lewin, The Blues and Royals, was deployed to South Sudan as part of a United Nations mission and immediately stepped up to cover a gapped superior's role, working as the primary medical advisor for a military force of 17,000 and COVID medical advisor for the mission as a whole. Demonstrating exceptional drive and professionalism, Lewin's medical advice and guidance led to UNMISS being better prepared and able to respond to the pandemic. His rational advice was crucial in supporting the arguments to tolerate the threat, remain in South Sudan and maintain the UK's critical support to the mission. Lieutenant Colonel Lewin is awarded an OBE.

I was working way outside my comfort zone, but I hope I helped in some way to reduce the impact of the disease on the mission and enable them to carry out their lifesaving work for the country. Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Lewin OBE

News of his award has come as a massive shock. “There were six of us from the UK team that stayed for nine months to help the UN in South Sudan and they were all outstanding. The thing that struck me throughout was the quality of the teamwork there. I’m still in touch with so many people I worked with who all came from so many different countries and can honestly say I made friends for life. They were a joy to work with, such wonderful, brilliant, talented people, who all pulled together in the midst of a crisis to help. I was working way outside my comfort zone, but I hope I helped in some way to reduce the impact of the disease on the mission and enable them to carry out their lifesaving work for the country.”

Background: Medical Officers attached to Regiments of Household Cavalry assume their parent Regiment's cap badge. Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Lewin is the last to serve in this tradition, one that spans over 350 years.

Major Romesh Chinnadurai, Royal Logistic Corps, was a Liaison Officer in Pakistan when the COVID-19 pandemic struck last March. He was Acting Lieutenant Colonel in a post normally held by an Ammunition Technical Officer when he volunteered to assist in the repatriation of 20,000 British nationals. He co-ordinated the administration associated with 21 UK charter flights over 57 days and devised a plan to convert Mobile Forensic Laboratories used for Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) into COVID-19 testing facilities, resulting in this option being trialled by the Pakistani Army. Major Chinnadurai is being recognised with an MBE.

During a difficult year globally, I was just happy to be able to contribute my small part, and to be recognised for that is extremely humbling. Major Romesh Chinnadurai MBE

On being told he had been nominated, Maj Chinnadurai said. “This has come as a complete surprise and I feel exceedingly privileged to have been given this honour.  During a difficult year globally, I was just happy to be able to contribute my small part, and to be recognised for that is extremely humbling.”  

Major Damian Mead, Royal Regiment of Scotland, was commanding numerous soldiers from six nations, whilst deployed to Afghanistan. He was responsible for providing Force Protection to a multinational team of Afghanistan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) mentors. When a Covid-19 outbreak affected over 2,000 members of the Mission, his impeccable judgement, rigorous control measures and care for his subordinates prevented any positive cases from occurring in his base.  Major Mead is also being recognised with an MBE.

Major Mead reflected on his time in Afghanistan, “Operation TORAL 10 was a challenging deployment for all involved whether at home or in Afghanistan. It is a huge privilege to receive this award on behalf of all the Highlanders, attached Corps and families associated with the final ‘Qargha Force Protection Company’, who together delivered a critical operational outcome in support of United Kingdom and NATO objectives in Kabul.”

It is a huge privilege to receive this award on behalf of all the Highlanders, attached Corps and families associated with the final ‘Qargha Force Protection Company’, who together delivered a critical operational outcome in support of United Kingdom and NATO objectives in Kabul. Major Damian Mead MBE

Major Mead’s Commanding Officer, Lt Col TJJ Draper explained why he had been nominated, “Rewarding our people for exceptional performance is a key aspect of being a Commander. I am delighted that Major Mead has been awarded an MBE for his work in Afghanistan: it is testament to his extraordinary leadership coupled with the outstanding efforts of his entire company in meticulously planning and delivering the drawdown and closure of their base in Kabul, in the face of the remarkable challenges of COVID-19. The Battalion are incredibly proud of the fantastic achievements of his team.”

Acting Major Oliver Lewis, Royal Engineers, was the lead for the Kabul Security Programme (KSP) where his actions prevented the Taliban and other violent extremist organisations, such as Daesh, from overwhelming the security forces and gaining control of the capital.  Under Lewis' direction, the KSP has enabled the design, funding, building, maintenance and operation of several Access Control Points (ACP).  These ACPs have created a series of security belts that prevent terrorist attacks, saving countless lives and preventing insurgent attacks on the protected communities within, including Embassies and thousands of coalition soldiers.  Major Lewis is awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.

Warrant Officer 2nd Class Paul Nancollis, The Rifles, was pivotal in the generation and implementation of a complex, layered base defence plan for the New Kabul Compound in Afghanistan. His ability to deliver numerous contingency plans and co-ordinate the base response against a myriad of threats required the utmost professionalism, acute judgement and dedication.  Seeing the effect COVID-19 was having on operational effectiveness, he also volunteered to take on the significant responsibility of organising and administering quarantine, isolation and testing for the entirety of the multi-national base, numbering almost 1,000 personnel.  Determined to improve the welfare of those confined in quarantined isolation, he pioneered a camp wide COVID policy, which gained plaudits from the Resolute Support Mission Deputy Commander. WO2 Nancollis is awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.


The Army List

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Colonel Douglas Bowley QHS

Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Lewin, The Blues and Royals

 

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Acting Lieutenant Colonel (now Major) Romesh Chinnadurai, The Royal Logistic Corps

Major Damien Mead, The Royal Regiment of Scotland

Major Dominic Dias, Corps of Royal Engineers

 

Mention in Dispatches (MID)

Lance Corporal Michael Cameron, Royal Army Medical Corps

Lance Corporal (now Corporal) John Wardle, Royal Army Medical Corps

 

Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS)

Lieutenant Colonel (now Colonel) Sam Cates, The Rifles

Corporal Modou Faye, Adjutant General’s Corps (Staff and Personnel Support Branch)

Lance Corporal (now Corporal) Anne Louise Gowdy, Intelligence Corps

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kace, The Royal Dragoon Guards

Acting Major (now Captain) Oliver Lewis, Corps of Royal Engineers

Lieutenant Colonel William McKeran MBE, Intelligence Corps

Warrant Officer Class 2 Paul Nancollis, The Rifles

Major Simon Pierson, Royal Corps of Signals