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Sailors and Marines recognised in operational honours list

Operational Awards and Honours March 2016
21 March 2016
Eleven Royal Navy, Royal Marine and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel have been awarded Operational Honours and Awards for their gallantry and dedication to their Service.

The 45th Operational Honours and Awards List includes personnel from all three Services who have displayed bravery, commitment and meritorious service.

Three of the naval personnel served on board HMS Bulwark, the Plymouth-based Landing Platform Dock, which was sent on humanitarian operations off North Africa last year. 

These honours included an OBE for the ship’s former Captain, Captain Nick Cooke-Priest, and a Queens Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) for Commander Stuart Finn, the Commanding Officer of 814 Naval Air Squadron (embarked in the ship for the operation) and one of the Landing Craft Coxswains, Corporal Matthew Goldsworthy.

Captain David Smith of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary was Chief Engineer on board RFA Argus when the ship deployed to West Africa to provide support to the fight against the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone. He was awarded a QCVS for his performance during the 'intensely demanding period'. 

Capt Smith’s citation said, “Once in theatre you demonstrated exemplary leadership and technical acumen and your engineering ingenuity and passion for perfection, combined with your insistence of the highest standards, produced excellent results.”

Six others also received formal Commendations from both the Chief of Joint Operations and the Royal Navy’s Fleet Commander.

In receiving this honour I would like to pay my greatest respects to the officers, sailors and marines who served with me in Bulwark throughout the operation, it was a genuinely fantastic team effort

Captain Nick Cooke-Priest RN, former Commanding Officer of HMS Bulwark

Capt Nick Cooke-Priest said: “I am fully humbled by this award. Operation Weald, the migrant search and rescue mission in the Southern Mediterranean last year, was a demanding and challenging period for the ship. In receiving this honour I would like to pay my greatest respects to the officers, sailors and marines who served with me in Bulwark throughout the operation, it was a genuinely fantastic team effort.”

Other recipients included Lieutenant Commander Andrew Brown who was awarded an MBE for his time in charge of HMS Chiddingfold in the Gulf from December 2014 to July 2015, and Warrant Officer 1 Alan Evans the marine engineer officer of HMS Chiddingfold was awarded a QCVS.

Lt Cdr Brown’s citation said that he “played a pivotal role in ensuring that the ship maintained exceptionally high readiness and fulfilled every task demanded of it in sapping temperatures and testing sea conditions. His personal example was instrumental to the maintenance of morale of the crew, some of whom were in their fifth deployment to the Middle East in as many years”.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to be recognised in such a way and receive an MBE – I could not be more proud. Although a personal award, all that I have achieved has been enabled through the unwavering support of my family and the professionalism and dedication of the officers and ratings of the Royal Navy, most recently on board HMS Chiddingfold during a challenging Gulf deployment.”

As the head of the marine engineering department on board WO1 Evans ensured the Portsmouth-based minehunter was kept in top condition. His citation says: “He overcame complex engineering challenges to ensure the ship maintained its operational capability, upholding the UK’s reputation among coalition allies.”

He said: “I was surprised and honoured to receive this award of recognition of my achievements on HMS Chiddingfold, Every member of the marine engineering department contributed to its success and I had the good fortune to be head of that exemplary department.”

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