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Operational Honours and Awards announced for The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
Published Friday 18th March 2005
Private Johnston Beharry VC and his wife Lynthia
L-R: Warrant officer Class 2 David Falconer, Sergeant David Perfect, Private Johnson Beharry, Private Troy Samuels and Corporal Brian Wood
Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Maer received a Distinguished Service Order
Sergeant Terry Thomson receives the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC)
Company Sergeant Major David Falconer and his partner Julie Gallagher
Sergeant David “Pete” Perfect and his wife Ellen
Private Troy Samuels receives The Military Cross (MC)
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment received an impressive cluster of medals for bravery in Iraq
An impressive cluster of medals for bravery in southern Iraq between April and October 2004 have been won by officers and soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, currently based at Barker Barracks, Paderborn, in North West Germany.
In the operational honours list published on 18 March 2005, Private Johnson Beharry became the first man to be awarded the Victoria Cross in 23 years and one of only 12 to have been awarded the country's highest award for gallantry in the past 60 years.
Private Beharry was deployed in Southern Iraq last year. He was the lead vehicle in a convoy which was ambushed he led his men to safety despite being repeatedly struck by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. He ensured colleagues were led to safety and manoeuvred his Warrior Armoured Fighting vehicle into cover before collapsing from mental and physical exhaustion.
Only 1355 have been awarded since the Victoria Cross's creation in 1856.
Sergeant Terry Thomson, aged 28 from Littlehampton, who has been awarded Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, said immediately after hearing the news:
In the incident which resulted in the award Terry had been ordered to take his Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle carrying soldiers for dismounting to locate and extract a patrol.
Believing the lost patrol to be in the heavily protected Ba'ath Party Headquarters Terry stormed through the gates and was engaged by enemy militia. Despite this he manoeuvred his Warrior around the complex searching for the patrol. Terry did this knowing he was outnumbered and the enemy had better positions.
Terry is a former pupil of Littlehampton, West Sussex. He is married to Emma and the couple have a daughter Kleo aged 2.
Private Troy Samuels, aged 27 from Jamaica, has been awarded the Military Cross. Private Samuels was in the lead vehicle on a convoy route in a Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle when they were hit with missiles, two rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire.
Despite receiving a number of injuries to his head and body Troy grabbed a rifle to engage the enemy from the hatch of his Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle.
When Troy realised that his platoon commander was badly injured and not dead from the attack he showed total disregard for his own safety by helping to carry the officer into the back of another vehicle.
He then assisted with the evacuation of the other soldiers, all of whom were injured, before getting back into the warrior. Once he returned from hospital he insisted on being returned to front-line duty serving as an example to his colleagues.
This incident was one of those which led to his colleague Private Johnston Beharry receiving the Victoria Cross.
Troy, who has been in the Army for five years, is a former pupil of Mantigo Bay School.
Corporal Brian Wood, aged 24 from Bordon, Hampshire, learned at the same gathering that not only had he been promoted from Lance Corporal to Corporal but he’d been awarded the Military Cross. He said immediately after:
In one of the incidents which led to the award Brian's Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle was hit by a number of rocket propelled grenades and two missiles. Everyone was injured by the impacts which also set the vehicle ablaze.
He used the fire extinguisher to put out the fire in the rear saving the gunner from worse injury and possibly even death.
As the heat melted their respirators Brian put damp clothes round the casualties' faces to prevent their asphyxiation from the acrid smoke before tending to himself.
On another occasion he took charge of his dismounted troops as they prepared to assault dug-in enemy troops who had ambushed a friendly patrol. The positions were heavily defended armed with rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and heavy machine guns. He led the initial assault killing and capturing a number of enemy. Fixed-bayonets and automatic weapons were used.
He supported two further assaults and his level-headed leadership and courageous action inspired his men as he deployed text-book infantry tactics against a larger number of better equipped enemy.
Brian, who has been in the Army for six years, is a former pupil of Mill Chase School. He is married to Lucy who also comes from Bordon. His parents, Gavin and Margaret, now live in Edinburgh. His father served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers for 21 years.
Sergeant David 'Pete' Perfect, aged 33 from Southampton, said immediately after hearing he’d been awarded the Military Cross:
The incident which led to the award occurred when his Warrior Armoured fighting vehicle was ambushed and the weapons system failed. Sergeant Perfect engaged the enemy from the turret with his own rifle despite heavy incoming fire.
Then when the vehicle caught fire he climbed out on to the top turret hatches despite being heavily under fire to add his weight to open those hatches to give much-needed air to those soldiers being choked by fumes.
Later Sergeant Perfect fought his way through to assist a patrol providing fire from the turret. Having collected a casualty and a prisoner he engaged the enemy for over an hour. When he realised his Warrior had lost its forward gears he reversed the vehicle back 18 kilometres to the coalition force base with prisoner and casualty.
Sergeant Perfect is married to Ellen and his mother Louise lives at West Moor, in Dorset.
Company Sergeant Major David Falconer, aged 38 from Worthing, has also been awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in Iraq. Immediately after hearing the news he said:
David, was joined by his partner Julie Gallagher for the announcements made just as his unit the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, was preparing for Easter leave.
In the main action which led to the award David led a bayonet charge on a number of dug-in enemy positions facing heavy small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.
Following the battle he organized the evacuation of casualties, prisoners and enemy dead. Even then he was still under fire and his steadfast composure and absolute courage gave great confidence to his mentally and physically exhausted troops.
Throughout the seven-month tour he evacuated over 20 casualties from battle, often at great personal risk, always ensuring that they reached medical aid as soon as possible.
David has been in the Army for 19 years.
1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Maer, who himself received a Distinguished Service Order, said when he announced the awards:
The full list of Honours and Awards for The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment is:
The Victoria Cross
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC)
The Military Cross (MC)
Mention in Despatches (MiD)
The Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS)
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