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Proud RFA family finally collect medal their husband/dad could not

28 July 2022
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Proudly showing the medal disease and illness never allowed its true recipient to receive are the family of RFA Captain Rob Anders.

More than two years after he was awarded the OBE – and nearly three since the deeds which earned the senior Royal Fleet Auxiliary officer formal recognition – the Anders family were finally able to attend Buckingham Palace for the investiture.

Sadly, Capt Rob himself was not; the father-of-two died suddenly from a brain tumour just before Christmas 2020.

With more than 30 years’ service to his name in the RFA – the vital support arm of the Royal Navy which assists and carries out operations around the globe – Capt Anders was a popular figure, commanding a string of ships between 2015 and his untimely death.

In September 2019, Capt Anders was Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay, the first ship to arrive on the scene of devastation in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian had battered islands with winds of up to 185mph, causing the worst natural disaster in the area in living memory.

In the days which followed, more than 6,000 people were helped by the ship’s team – RFA, Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Engineers and Royal Logistics Corps and Fleet Air Arm – in some of the worst hit areas of Great Abaco Island and surrounding region.

We were incredibly honoured to be able to pick Rob’s OBE up for him. The day was full of emotion and pride and we couldn't have been treated more kindly and generously.

Mrs Anders

Six months later that led to the OBE being announced in the first Operational Honours of 2020… but by then the country was in Covid lockdown, investitures were put on hold so the Anders were denied their proud family day out... until now.

His widow Phillipa and teenage children Nell (17) and Will (16) were joined by Rob’s parents as the Duke of Cambridge presented Capt Anders’ decoration.

“We were incredibly honoured to be able to pick Rob’s OBE up for him. The day was full of emotion and pride and we couldn't have been treated more kindly and generously,” said Mrs Anders.

“Because of the situation, it was agreed that all three of us should go up to accept the OBE, giving us all the chance to talk with Prince William.

“He told us about his time onboard RFA Mounts Bay and asked Nell and Will to look after their mum! After the investiture, we met up with Rob’s mum and dad for a celebratory lunch."

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