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Home Counties Reservists honoured at HMS Wildfire’s Annual Divisions

22 June 2023
Prince Michael of Kent was guest of honour as Naval Reservists from northwest London and the Home Counties paraded for HMS Wildfire’s Annual Ceremonial Divisions.

The unit – which is based inside the UK military's Northwood headquarters – is the hub for maritime reservists from across Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

Scores of Wildfire sailors were joined on the parade ground by a string of local Sea Cadets (TS St Albans, Renown, and Whaddon), Merchant Taylor’s Combined Cadet Force, the Hertfordshire Royal Marines Cadets and the Northwood Royal Navy Volunteer Band.

Watching, in addition to families, were local dignitaries, affiliates and the Commander Maritime Reserves, Commodore Mel Robinson.

Beyond an impressive display of military pomp and ceremony, divisions allowed Wildfire to honour its best and brightest who have stood out over the past 12 months with Prince Michael – Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Reserve – presenting a number of awards.

The Top Achiever Prize (Gloria Ademokun Trophy) went to Lieutenant Andrew Crawford, recognising the qualities dedication, enthusiasm and determination Gloria, a nursing officer, possessed.

Lt Crawford, who runs a large operations team for Metro Bank by day, is an amphibious warfare officer, coordinating the movement of Royal Marines from assault ships to shore by boat and air. When not deployed, he’s Wildfire’s training officer and was activated as part of the military response to the Covid pandemic.

The winner of best Initial Naval Trainee (Rating) was AB2 William Wilson who would have received the Matthews Trophy (named after Wildfire stalwart of 40 years, WO1 Tony Matthews, who retired last year) had he not been undergoing training at HMS Raleigh. Out of uniform he can be found at Stamford Bridge, working as a project manager for Premiership giants Chelsea.

 

The officer counterpart of the award, the MacKenzie Trophy for best initial trainee went to OC Karlis Zivtins. A metallurgical services engineer at Pyrotek, analysing metal quality in aluminium, defect root cause analysis in products, and the performance of ceramics in molten metal environments, Karlis is also a volunteer instructor with Milton Keynes Sea Cadets, TS Whaddon.

Able Seaman Rowell Jarman – a portfolio manager specialising in payroll and HR software – left with the Salamander Prize donated by the Worshipful Company of Firefighters to Wildfire in 2021 to present to sailor who has consistently displayed selfless commitment, perseverance and reliability.

The final award was Wildfire’s Commanding Officer prize for the stand-out individual on the unit’s books who has proved to be an asset not just to Wildfire, but the wider Royal Naval Reserve. That person is Able Seaman Brendan Carr, a security industry expert and freelance producer/videographer, who has used those day-job skills to support initiatives linked to the Maritime Reserves transformation.

The event also saw Wildfire’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Ian Dorward stand down as Equerry to His Royal Highness, handing over Royal duties to Lt Cdr Francis Heritage after five years in post.

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