Two senior members of 165 Port & Maritime Regiment in Plymouth have been honoured by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Devon for their selfless commitment to the Army Reserve.
Mark Holland and John Cragg, both Warrant Officers 2nd Class, received Certificates of Meritorious Service from David Fursdon DL during a ceremony at Rockbeare Manor, near Exeter.
After a successful 22-year career in the Regular Army, Mark became a Reservist with 232 (Cornwall) Transport Squadron RLC in November 2010 before it was re-roled to 165 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC.
He is now the Regimental Training Warrant Officer, engaged on a Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) contract.
Using his wide experience in training and management, he has shown exceptional dedication and commitment in guiding sub-units in all aspects of both trade and military training.
The citation records that he “epitomises what constitutes a high class Warrant Officer and he has consistently set the highest of standards.”
After retiring from the Army Mark spent three and a half years driving oil tankers. Now he derives great satisfaction from seeing Reservists developing their own driving skills.
“That’s very fulfilling,” he said. “Getting someone who has only ever driven a car and, within ten days, they’ve got their Category C licence and able to drive the smaller LGVs. They come back with big smiles on their faces. Then it’s on to the next course with the bigger trucks.”
John also had a full career in the Regular Army with REME, spending his last four years at Plymouth Army Careers Office. He is now employed on an FTRS contract as Regimental Sub-Unit Support Officer (RSUSO) for 265 (Devon) Port Squadron, based at Derriford Army Reserve Centre.
His extensive knowledge and experience have been central to establishing robust recruiting processes for the Squadron, which has achieved good figures in a difficult recruiting climate.
The citation records that his “drive and enthusiasm are second to none.”
Ensuring recruits are fully briefed and equipped for their assessments and training has often meant being first in and last out of work, spending evenings and weekends on the phone with potential recruits. John frequently stands in for the Regimental Recruiting Officer.
He said: “I was surprised to get the award – it’s nice to be recognised for all the recruiting I’ve done over the years. And a man who I recruited as a raw civilian eight years ago came up to me in the street recently to thank me – he’s now part of a recruiting team himself.”
Others to receive the prestigious Certificate of Meritorious Service, which ranks only just below national honours such as the MBE were:
- Chief Petty Officer Steven Sansbury, Coxswain of Devon University Royal Navy Unit, the first new URNU in 22 years. His drive, enthusiasm and leadership have been pivotal in developing the unit from an intake of 12 in 2016 to its current strength of 45 cadets.
- Robin Frost, Cadet Administrative Assistant for A Company, Devon ACF, for going beyond his remit to ensure that ten detachments and seven cadet centres receive administrative and logistic support of the highest calibre. He is also a Cadet Adult Volunteer Officer.
- Sergeant Major Instructor David Carrington, an ex-Regular soldier who volunteered with the ACF in 2005. After rejuvenating detachments at Crediton, Uffculme and Exeter, he became Commander for Wyvern, now regularly in the top five detachments in Devon.
- Staff Sergeant Instructor Julia Carrington, who joined the ACF in 2007 as a civilian assistant. She is devoted to her cadets in Wyvern Detachment but stepped in at late notice to command the detachment in Sidmouth to ensure it became viable again.
- Anthony Griffin, chairman of Exmouth Sea Cadet Corps since 2012 who has been instrumental in raising more than £750,000 for a purpose-built Unit for Exmouth Sea Cadets. Exmouth was recently named the best overall Unit within the South West Area.