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Portsmouth - HMS King Alfred
Operational Awards Awarded to Naval Reservists
Operational medals for Service in Afghanistan and Iraq were awarded to two members of Portsmouth’s Royal Naval Reserve Unit, HMS King Alfred, by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire last Saturday.
Carrying out one of her first engagements since being appointed a Dame, the Lord Lieutenant, Dame Mary Fagan, presented medals to Lieutenant Mellissa Dawson (35) for Service in Afghanistan, and Able Seaman Nicolle Ellis (31) for Service in Iraq.
The medal presentations took place at the end of the ceremony held at Whale Island. Over 100 Royal Naval Reservists were parading and taking part in the ‘Ceremonial Divisions’ which is a key event in the Naval diary, giving the sailors the opportunity to display their military ethos and professionalism.
In addition the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal (VRSM) which is awarded for ten years continuous and exemplary service to members of the Reserve Forces, were awarded to 5 other Royal Naval Reservists. Lieutenant Commander Moira Wilcockson (46) from Warblington; Lieutenant Commander Margaret Rickard (51) from Portchester ; Lieutenant Robert England (51) from Southampton, Lieutenant Julie MacDonald also from Portchester; Petty Officer Jane Reynolds (41) from Portsmouth; and Able Seaman Keith Francis (47) from Winton.
Lieutenant Mellissa Dawson who lives in Southsea and works for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in Portsmouth spent 6 months in Afghanistan in 2005, helping to set up the Joint Force HQ, in Kandahar with 16 Air Assault Brigade. Since then she has also completed some full time Reserve Service and has just come back from Bahrain. Mellissa said, “Being in Afghanistan was amazing especially meeting the local people, and the beauty of the country and how broken it is, it is such a shame that we can’t fix it here and now.”
Nicole Ellis who lives in Emsworth works for Selex SI Ltd in their HR Department, Nicole went to Iraq, and spent 6 months on board the RFA Cardigan Bay in Bahrain, also spending time on board as it sailed up to the Northern Arabian Gulf.
Nicole was working in communications and was responsible for communications with 8 other large ships, and smaller craft within the Task Group. Cardigan Bay is a training and support ship, with a helicopter landing platform, and helped in training Iraqi Naval Marines. The American local Coast Guard were also based on board. Nicole said, “One of the most amazing experiences I had while I was there was to go out with the American Coast Guard on whilst patrolling and guarding the oil platforms.”
Both Mellissa and Nicole said that receiving their medals from the Lord Lieutenant was a great honour.
Family and friends were invited to support those Reservists on parade and to congratulate those receiving medals.
The Lord Lieutenant took the Salute during the parade and after spoke to the members of HMS King Alfred. She said, “I am delighted to be with you today. I have watched the development of HMS King Alfred closely since it’s Commission 15 years ago, developing its’ own identity.”
“You are now great ambassadors for both the Royal Navy and the Reserve Forces, playing a part serving in the Theatre of War and being much valued.”
She added, “Thank you also to your families and your employers who have supported you.”
If you would like to find out more about the Royal Naval Reserve then visit the Royal Navy Web site for call HMS King Alfred on 02392 54 74 59.