Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Alan Robertson, Royal Military Police (RMP) Special Investigation Branch (SIB) Reserves, will be made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2022, for his ‘deep commitment to supporting the recovery of wounded and injured personnel’ through Adaptive Skiing.
Company Warrant Officer Alan, 60, has been a continuous Army Reservist for 42 years, having joined the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry as an 18-year-old, and moving across in 1996 to the SIB Reserves. In his full-time career, he spent 30 years as a policeman with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) until retiring as a Detective Inspector in 2016.
However, it is for his work teaching injured and sick personnel and veterans adaptive skiing that he is being recognised with a state honour by Her Majesty The Queen, during her Platinum Jubilee Year. On learning of the award, Alan said: “I was completely blind-sided. I thought I was in trouble. It’s very nice, and a humbling surprise.”
A qualified Alpine Ski Proficiency Instructor, Alan has run numerous training packages to benefit Regular and Reserve soldiers, and through this experience he first encountered Adaptive Skiing. He recognised its potential to provide crucial benefit to the recovery of wounded and injured service personnel and qualified as an Adaptive Ski Instructor in 2016.
Alan, who lives in Kendall, explained how it all started: “I skied as a hobby and then started taking military ski qualifications before retiring from the force. On one of the courses I saw a presentation by a BattleBack WO who told me about the adaptive programme for people who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was about 2014-15.
“So, I got my qualifications as an adaptive instructor. I found that so rewarding I took the civilian qualifications with the British Association of Ski Instructors and started working for a charity called Disability Sports UK. I still work for them now at the Chill Factore Manchester, part-time. In a way, that’s become very rewarding working with them.
“I’m involved in a charity called the Armed Forces Para-Snowsports Team (AFPST). That’s a charity for veterans from the three services and they support people who have since left the Army,” he said.
The citation states: “His deep commitment to supporting the recovery of wounded and injured personnel has positively impacted the lives of numerous members of the Armed Forces. An inspirational Leader and exceptional role model, he represents the very best of the Army.”
Alan, who deployed on Operaation Telic 2 in Iraq in 2003, was allowed to share the good news with his wife, a retired sixth-form teacher. “She’s been very supportive. She’s very proud,” he said. “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I had no clue I was put up for the award. It came as a shot out of the blue.”
Alan is Company Warrant Officer for his 60-strong Reserve specialist unit, which requires members to have a law enforcement background to be able to join. It’s a specialist unit but its very much integrated with the regular SIB unit it is attached to.
His full-time career saw Alan become a Detective Inspector in Moss Side, Manchester, before later joining the GMP Counter Terrorism Unit. He spent the last three years in Professional Standards.
Read the full Queen's Birthday Honours List here