Join us

Birthday Honours 2024: Operational Honours and Awards List 61

Thirteen members of the British Army have been specially selected to receive operational honours and awards for their outstanding achievements, selfless commitment and exceptional bravery.

Armed Forces Operational Awards List Number 61 is published alongside the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024 in the London Gazette on Saturday 15 June.

Op List 61 rewards acts of bravery and leadership. It includes awards in respect of worldwide operations for the period from 1 April to 30 September 2023 and for non-operational gallantry.

MBE: The Interpreter

Being awarded an MBE is Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Sammy Al-Khaldi, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

Colchester-based WO2 Al-Khaldi was the only British military interpreter during Op POLAR BEAR, the UK’s mission to evacuate more than 3,000 people from Sudan in April 2023, following conflict in the region.

“To receive an MBE is totally unexpected and I was quite overwhelmed when I was told,” said WO2 Al-Khaldi. “It’s almost too big to describe how proud I feel.”

His citation says: “WO2 Al-Khaldi successfully negotiated with Sudanese air traffic control when their Armed Forces refused permission for an aircraft carrying the Operational Reconnaissance and Liaison Team to land.

“Without his intervention, there would have been no UK military presence in the area.”

A vehicle mechanic by trade, WO2 Al-Khaldi is currently an Artificer Quarter Master Sergeant in 3 PARA’s Light Aid Detachment. His father is Jordanian and he grew up speaking Arabic.

He said: “It was about 36 hours from being in Colchester to finding myself negotiating with Sudanese air traffic control. It was all quite surreal and a whirlwind, but I was just the right person in the right place at the right time.”

The citation continues: “He was also fundamental to negotiating the use of the Coral Hotel as the Evacuee Handling Centre, where his language skills marked him out as a target for countless Affected Persons who desperately sought his help.

"His impact was felt by several nations trying to evacuate their citizens."

WO2 Al-Khaldi said: “We had to establish an evacuee handling centre to process the entitled people that we were there to get out, and everything to do with sorting out accommodation, food and transport had to go through me.

“The culture in Sudan is very similar to Jordan and I quickly felt comfortable there and was able to speak to the locals as a fellow Arab, as well as being a British soldier.”

King's Commendation for Bravery (KCB): Operational

Trooper (Tpr) Lorcan Graydon of The Blues and Royals and currently based with the Household Cavalry Regiment in Bulford, was working as part of the Peacekeeper Mobile Force Reserve on Operation TOSCA in Cyprus in early August 2023.

He is being recognised for his exceptional bravery in response to an internationally condemned violation in the Buffer Zone and is being awarded a King’s Commendation for Bravery.

Tpr Graydon said: “I’m deeply honoured to receive this award. It feels surreal and is without a doubt my proudest moment in uniform.”

It was a deployment that saw his platoon patrolling the notoriously sensitive area of the Buffer Zone while a diplomatic and security situation unfolded.

Tpr Graydon’s platoon’s mission was to provide early warning of the construction of an illegal road by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

His citation says: “Despite his limited experience, he intuitively chose to distract the aggressors’ attack alone, in order to enable his Platoon to break clean and regroup.”

Tpr Graydon said: “I remember every second of that day, it felt like we finally got to do the job we had trained for. It was exhilarating and one of the best days of my life.”

King's Commendation for Bravery (KCB): Non-Operational

Also recognised for their exceptional bravery is Major Harry Wallace, of the Royal Artillery, who risked his life trying to save a trapped motorist from their burning vehicle.

On learning of his award Major Wallace said: “I am both humbled and honoured to receive this award and hugely appreciative of my chain of command for taking the time to nominate me.”

Major Wallace was one of the first on the scene of the accident and could see the driver was trapped and unconscious.

His citation said: “Taking immediate action, he marshalled the support of others who had arrived and they attempted to extinguish the fire and extract the driver.

“With scant regard for his own safety and with thick smoke billowing, he climbed into the rear of the car in an attempt to pull the driver out. However, as the fire took hold Major Wallace was forced to abandon his rescue attempt.”

Sadly, the emergency services were unable to save the driver. Major Wallace was himself injured and needed hospital treatment following the rescue attempt.

“I am only sorry that I could not have done more under challenging conditions, and I’m grateful to the Army for instilling a mindset that to do nothing was not an option,” said Major Wallace. “I am proud to say that there are scores of people in my organisation who would have taken the same actions under the circumstances.”

The Army List for operations

Appointments and promotions in the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

As Officers (OBE)

Lieutenant Colonel Haydn James Gaukroger, The Parachute Regiment

As Members (MBE)

Warrant Officer Class Two Osamah Omar Al-Khaldi, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Major Yugal Angbo, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Lance Corporal (now Corporal) Charlotte Sophie Parry, Intelligence Corps

King's Commendation for Bravery (KCB)

Trooper Lorcan Ignatius Valentine Noel GRAYDON, The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons)

King's Commendation for Valuable Service (KCVS)

Acting Brigadier Matthew Richard Baker, OBE

Lieutenant Colonel Shane Stephen Burton, The Royal Gurkha Rifles

Major David Alexander Edmondson, Army Air Corps

Captain Barry Kieron Green, Royal Regiment of Artillery

Major Ashley Michael Neve, The Parachute Regiment

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Anderson Forrest, The Royal Irish Regiment

Non-operational gallantry

King's Commendation for Bravery (KCB)

Acting Corporal Richard David Hayes, The Parachute Regiment

Major Harry Alexander Robarts Wallace, Royal Regiment of Artillery

Find out who is recognised in the Meritorious Service Medal list and Commendations.

Find who is recognised in the King's Birthday Honours List 2024.