Lord-Lieutenant honours Army Reservist survivor of Iraq ambush


151029WX-PR-IMG_9290An Exeter-based Army Reservist who suffered life-threatening injuries when ambushed in Iraq in 2004 has celebrated 30 years’ service with a very special award.

Warrant Officer Tony Smith, aged 47, who still has a bullet lodged in his spine, received the Certificate for Meritorious Service from the Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon DL, during ceremonies at the Council House, Plymouth.

The Certificate recognises service of an exceptionally high order by people connected with the Reserve Forces or uniformed cadet organisations.

Tony joined the Territorial Army (now Army Reserve) in Exeter at just 17 – “I’d enjoyed my time as an Army cadet, so it seemed natural to carry on,” he said.

He saw operational service in Bosnia and Kosovo before the incident during Op TELIC in Iraq, where he suffered two bullet wounds in the stomach.

None of that dampened his enthusiasm and dedication to an Army career that has seen him wear four different cap badges – the latest of the 6th Battalion, The RIFLES.

Tony, who lives in Exeter, is based with HQ Company at Wyvern Barracks, where his leadership of recruiters and mentors has seen the unit grow more in the past 12 months than in any year during the last decade.

He works as senior storeman at the University of Exeter’s Officer Training Corps.

The Certificate for Meritorious Service was also awarded to Flight Lieutenant Christopher Myers, of Exeter, whose unbroken association with the RAF, and then the Air Training Corps, stretches back 50 years.

He commands 2469 (Exeter St Thomas) Squadron and has played a leading role in building a new Detached Flight at Crediton as well as acting as the Devon and Somerset Wing’s grants and fundraising adviser.

Other recipients included:

  • Flight Lieutenant Richard Bagnall, of Exminster, Officer Commanding, 299 (Exmouth) Squadron, Air Training Corps.
  • Chief Petty Officer Neil Gregory, of Exmouth, Officer Commanding, 395 (Exmouth) Sea Cadets.

The Plymouth ceremonies included the appointment of young people as the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadets for the next year, a role which includes attendance at a number of official engagements, including royal visits.

They were chosen on their merits within their respective Cadet forces, but also for their dedication and work within the local community. The line-up included:

  • Matthew Cordwent, aged 17, of Crediton, Cadet Flight Sergeant, 2469 Exeter St Thomas Squadron, Air Training Corps.
  • Kia Brockway, aged 16, of Exmouth, Leading Cadet, Exmouth Sea Cadets.

Reserve Forces