Two highly experienced Senior NCOs with the Army Reserve in Swindon have been recognised by the Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire for their tireless efforts in establishing B Company of 7 Rifles, the Army’s only Reservist armoured infantry battalion.
Colour Serjeant William Spear and Serjeant Robin Stiff both received Certificates of Meritorious Service from Sarah Troughton CStJ, during ceremonies at Cumberwell Park, near Bradford-on-Avon.
William spent 17 years as a Pioneer in the Regulars before retiring and transferring to the Army Reserve on a Full Time Reserve Service contract (FTRS).
As B Company’s first Quartermaster Permanent Staff Instructor (QPSI) he had to set about establishing the Company stores from scratch.
Despite very limited storage facilities at Swindon, William has ensured that B Company never lacks the equipment it requires, while overcoming many challenges and often giving up his own time to support the Company.
Going beyond his role as QPSI, he has regularly supported both B Company and neighbouring Army Reserve units as an instructor. The citation read out during the ceremony declared: “His enthusiasm, dependability and willingness to do what it takes to get a job done are inspiring.”
All this came as a surprise to William who said: “When I was called into the OC’s office I thought it was because I’d dropped a clanger! I feel very privileged and a bit choked to be recognised for something. The last 18 months has been a lot of work but very rewarding.”
That sentiment was echoed by Robin, who added: “Like Will, it’s the first time in 25 years that I’ve been recognised for anything. It’s really nice. To be in from the start and be recognised for that is really special.”
Robin was brought in from The Royal Wessex Yeomanry as Signals Detachment Commander with a brief to establish a signals capability within the Company.
Quickly recognised for his high level of skill, intelligence and dependability, able to mentor officers and NCOs alike, he also provided essential training to help 7 Rifles become the first Army Reserve armoured Infantry unit to achieve readiness.
An excellent instructor, he has also given up time to instruct neighbouring units, helping to foster a spirit of friendship and cooperation. Robin has been equally dedicated to regimental rugby, earning both Battalion and Regiment colours.
Juggling all these military commitments alongside a demanding civilian career as a project delivery manager for EDF, his commitment has been remarkable, as his citation made clear: “That he consistently performs far in excess of his rank, with little fuss and great humour is testament to his professionalism.”
Others to receive the prestigious Certificate of Meritorious Service, which ranks only just below national honours such as the MBE, were:
- Major Lee Bampfield, who is responsible for 30 adult volunteers and 160 Cadets across six detachments as Officer Commanding A (Ferozeshah) Company, Wiltshire ACF. A highly effective leader, he is exceptionally well organised and imaginative in delivering training.
- Lieutenant Nicholas Gilks, who has involved in the Sea Cadets for 14 years, in many different and varied roles. He has been an Executive Officer in two units, a Commanding Officer of five units and he is currently the Deputy District Officer for Avon.
- Lieutenant Andrew Emery, who is second-in-command of A (Ferozeshah) Company Wiltshire ACF centred on Swindon. As well as being responsible for Company training he also organises superb events, and took 40 ACF personnel to Arnhem this year.
- Flight Lieutenant Mike Webster, who has been an adult volunteer with the Air Cadets since October 2006, after a long and prestigious career in the RAF. Mike has worked tirelessly to bring success to the Squadron, seeing cadet numbers improve dramatically.
- Sub Lieutenant Richard Priest, a former Sea Cadet who has had two stints as Commanding Officer at Trowbridge, raising the profile of the unit and increasing boating hours enjoyed by cadets. Last year he also joined the District Team as an Assistant District Officer.
- Regimental Sergeant Major Instructor (RSMI) Chris Barnes, who has been an adult volunteer with Wiltshire ACF for more than 10 years. He has been immensely valuable as a Detachment Instructor, Detachment Commander, and Company Sergeant Major.
- Sergeant Major Instructor (SMI) Steven Davies, a model adult volunteer who in nine years has worked his way up to commanding the ACF Detachment in Calne. His commitment as a full-time Administrative Officer for Wiltshire ACF has also been outstanding.