Former Royal Tank Regiment Soldier awarded Queen’s Commendation for Bravery (QCB)

Lance Corporal (retired) Fraser Gee (25) has been recognised with a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the latest Armed Forces Operational Awards List Number 58.

Fraser, who served as a Reconnaissance Troop Warrior Gunner with the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) for 6 years receives the Non-Operational honour in recognition of the actions he undertook when first on scene at a multi-vehicle road traffic accident.

Describing the incident, Fraser says:

“We were all given some leave before going to Estonia so I decided to go back home to Yorkshire. I was about twenty minutes from my place when in my rear-view mirror, I saw a cloud of dust and heard an almighty bang. I immediately stopped and ran back to see what had happened. I was met by the sight of two vehicles, one on top of the other, both in a ditch with flames billowing from them and black smoke everywhere.

Alone in the countryside and miles from anywhere, Fraser had to act quickly:

“There were two people in the first car and they seemed ok,” he continues. “Then I saw the second vehicle which was crushed, almost beyond recognition underneath it and saw that there was someone inside it. I tried to get the driver’s door open but couldn’t as the heat was so immense. I then tried to smash the boot open but again, no joy. After what seemed like an eternity I and another person who had arrived on scene managed to open the passenger door and extract the casualty who was by now in a very bad way.”

But the job was only half done as Fraser explains:

“He was a big lad and it was so difficult getting him out and up that muddy, slippery embankment. It seemed to take absolutely ages. Once we got him clear I put him in the recovery position. By this time, thankfully, more people were arriving, including a nurse who started treating him too.”

Soon after, all the emergency services, including the air ambulance arrived on the scene and took charge of the situation.

“I was running on pure adrenaline.” Recalls Fraser. “I was pretty shaken up too. I remember this nice old lady gave me some baby wipes so that I could clean myself up. I remember I got home and just went to bed. It was only the next day when I spoke to my parents about what had happened that it began to sink in.”

The Queen's Commendation for Bravery is one of the United Kingdom awards granted for bravery entailing risk to life and meriting national recognition. The award is open to both civilians in peacetime conditions and to all ranks of the British Armed Forces for actions not in the presence of an enemy. It is denoted by a silver spray of laurel leaves.

Fraser looks back on the incident and an evening which will never be forgotten:

“I didn’t have time to think about my own safety. Your brain doesn’t comprehend what has happened. I just needed to act and make sure the guy was alright. That was the only thing on my mind.

I was the only one there for a long time and I guess the training I’d been given in the Army kicked in that night, but I imagine it is something anyone would do. We used to do lots of medical training in the unit, we covered all sorts of medical things and it was drilled into us about the recovery position and breathing.”

On learning of his commendation, Fraser said:

“I couldn’t believe it. I remember that I had been put forward but thought nothing of it. Then I got a call from my old Commanding Officer congratulating me. I was lost for words. I don’t see myself as a hero, there are people out there who do this sort of thing all the time.”

Fraser’s citation reads: “Arriving at the site of a road traffic accident, he calmly conducted triage and provided first-aid to casualties. On further investigation, he found two vehicles in a ditch, one on top of another with the top one alight, and he feared the fire would spread to the vehicle beneath. Taking decisive action, he assisted an elderly member of the public to remove another casualty from the bottom car and administered CPR until an off-duty paramedic arrived. In an act of selflessness, he remained at the scene for the next four hours giving first aid to casualties where he could.

Fraser was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and enlisted in the British Army in 2016. He joined because he wanted to work on big machines, he wanted to travel and wanted to do something a bit different. During his time in service, he deployed across the globe with the RTR, taking part in exercises in Albania, Estonia, Germany, Canada and Montenegro to name but a few.

He left the Army in 2021 and is now living with his family in North Yorkshire where he has a new career in mechanics.