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Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup receive prestigious awards in gratitude for services to Estonia

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Worth and Warrant Officer Class One, Regimental Sergeant Major, Mike Richardson of the Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup are the first in the history of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Estonia to receive special recognition for their services to Estonia’s security.

During the medals parade for the entire Battlegroup which returns home next week, personnel from the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) Battlegroup (BG) were thanked by Major General (Maj Gen) Veiko-Vello Palm, Deputy Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, and the British Ambassador to Estonia, Ross Allen, for the extension of their tour at short notice, as well as their professionalism in readiness to defend the eastern flank of Europe.

Presented by Maj Gen Palm, Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Worth is awarded the Estonian Army Silver Cross of Merit for ‘preparation, integration and excellent leadership’, stating that his contribution has been invaluable, particularly in demonstration of flexibility and cooperation. Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Richardson receives the Estonian Army Bronze Cross of Merit, for ‘exemplary performance of the tasks of the Warrant Officer’, demonstrating a high level of expertise and discipline through the behaviours of his soldiers, setting an example for those in the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade.

“These Estonian awards to Lt Col Worth and WO1 (RSM) Richardson are a significant honour and recognition of the contribution made by the whole Royal Tank Regiment BG. I am enormously grateful to the BG for their exemplary performance and in particular for extending their tour at short notice, to enhance the security of Estonia, the UK and other NATO allies.” said Ross Allen, HMA Tallinn.

The parade was attended by 12 Armoured Brigade Combat Team Commander, Brigadier Mike Cornwell who later presented the BG Commander’s special recognition awards to the British element of the BG. During his speech, Brig Cornwall also thanked the BG for their exemplary discipline and resolution in the face of changing circumstances, commenting that the RTR BG have, “contributed to Alliance cohesion, with an ocean of stability to the eFP nations; setting the bar for future British Army tours on Op Cabrit.”

The RTR BG which included the French Company for the majority of its tour, leaves Estonia following completion of nine months on the Eastern Flank supporting the NATO enhanced Forward Presence. They were extended in February 2022 when the British Prime Minister announced that they would double their presence in Estonia by deploying a second Battlegroup.

"The BG completed exercises Winter Camp, Iron Spear, Bold Axe and Hedgehog (Siil 2022) among others. They worked on community projects including the building of Tartu Ice Rink and Orchard, and hosted visits from key members of the NATO Alliance at a time when Estonia’s security is of the utmost importance to its European neighbours.

“It has been an enormous privilege to train in Estonia, serving under both Estonian Brigades. We have had an incredible experience exercising in all weathers and navigating new terrains, training alongside the Estonian Defence Forces with our colleagues from Denmark and France,” stated Lt Col Simon Worth, Commanding Officer RTR BG, British Army.

“This medal recognises the determination and resilience that the officers and soldiers of the Royal Tank Regiment have shown over the last nine months. Although my soldiers are looking forward to some well-deserved rest, we depart Estonia proud of our contribution and convinced of the vital importance of this mission,” said Lt Col Worth.