AIR BRANCH NAVAL RESERVISTS PICK UP THEIR MEDALS
Over three decades after the Falklands War ended seven Naval Reservists have been awarded their South Atlantic Medals at a small ceremony held at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.
The group of naval reservists had served across the Fleet Air Arm’s Units in the months after 12 July 1982, the date for the end of hostilities, which qualified members of the Armed Forces for the South Atlantic Medal. But last year a long-awaited independent review ruled that this time should be extended by an additional three months to October 21 1982, covering a period when a threat to British forces was still at a heighted state.
Presenting the medals at the RNR Air Branch Officers annual conference was Commodore Jamie Miller OBE, Naval Regional Commander,Walesand Western England (NRCWWE). He had served as a Lieutenant Commander onboard HMS Coventry during the War, before she was attacked by a wave of Argentinean A4Skyhawks. They released three 250 kg bombs which hit the Ship just above the waterline and caused the abandonment and eventual sinking of HMS Coventry.
“It is a great honour to be presenting these South Atlantic medal to you today”, said Cdre Miller. “It all seems so very long ago now, but it is good that you have all been recognised for your brave efforts”.
ReceivingSouth Atlanticmedals were; Commander Ian Halliday, Warrant Officer 1 Andy Mathews and Lt Cdr Jerry Newall who had all served on HMS Illustrious. Air Engineers Lieutenant Commander Stuart Meikle of 824NAS and Chief Petty Officer Andrew ‘Whisky’ Walker of 845 NAS and Cdr Robin Wain who served onboard HMS Brazen.
The seventh and final Falklands medal was presented to Lt Cdr Simon Smith, who during theFalklandswas a Senior Aircraftsman with the RAF, but later transferred to the senior service. He also picked up his Operational Service Medal (OSM) for OP Silkman, where he was the Air Traffic Officer onboard HMS Ocean off the coast ofSierra Leone in 2001.
Other awards being presented by the Cdre were, Volunteer Reserve Service Medals (VRSM) to Lt Cdr Gareth Mills and Lt Craig Compain for seven ½ years Reserve service. A first clasp after 12 ½ years service to his VRSM medal for Lt Cdr Steve McArdell. A second Clasp after 17 ½ years to Lt Cdr Bill Powell and finally third clasps to their VRSM’s went to Lt Cdr Suzanne Clark and Lt Cdr Ed Oates for a staggering 22 ½ years Reserve service each.