A Truro Reservist has received a prestigious award from the Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Colonel Edward Bolitho OBE, for 18 years of outstanding service with the Territorial Army.
Having spent much of his youth with the Army Cadet Force, Serjeant Benjamin Whitehouse joined D Company 6Rifles when he was 18 years old. Benjamin is now 36 and still enjoying army life at Truro TA Centre, excelling at everything he puts his mind to.
“I was in Cornwall Army Cadet Force when I was young and saw the Territorial Army as an excellent way to utilise the skills I had gained from the Cadets. I can’t explain why but I just knew all along that I wanted to be a soldier,” he said.
“When I joined the TA I was 18 and just out of college; at the time I saw it as a means to some day join the Army as a Regular soldier.
“I realised very quickly that being a Reservist gave me the best of both worlds – I was able to develop my skills as a soldier while having a civilian job at the same time.
“The great thing about being in the Reserves is the sense of camaraderie you get when you’re working with other soldiers – there’s nothing else like it.
“I won’t say it isn’t hard work at times, because it is,” he added, “but it’s everything I have ever wanted to do and it motivates me constantly to want to achieve more.”
In 2006 Benjamin completed a six month tour in Afghanistan, in a demanding role as part of the Force Protection Company at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province. He was also deployed to serve in London during the 2012 Olympics, which he describes as one of the highlights of his Army career.
Now a Platoon Serjeant, he has earned the total trust of his superiors and utmost respect from subordinates for his tireless work, ensuring they are well motivated.
At the Truro ceremony Serjeant Whitehouse received the Lord-Lieutenant for Cornwall’s Certificate for Meritorious Service at the Alverton Manor Hotel.
“It really is such an honour to receive the award, to know you’ve been recognised for the hard work you’ve put in over the years is a really great feeling,” he said.
Serjeant Whitehouse’s citation, read out at the ceremony, said: “He has been an outstanding member of 6 RIFLES and its forbears and a loyal and committed ambassador of the county and its Reserve Forces for all his adult life.
“He consistently achieves above what is expected of his rank and position and his enthusiasm for service remains unrivalled.”
Benjamin now works as a TA Liaison Officer at Redruth Army Careers Office where he uses his detailed knowledge of the Territorial Army and his own experience on combat operations to inspire a generation of young Cornishmen and women.
Others who received Certificates of Meritorious Service at the Cornwall Lord-Lieutenants Awards Ceremony were:
• Chaplain Diane Powell RNR, aged 72, who has dedicated 25 years of her life to Padstow Sea Cadet Unit as an Adult Instructor.
• Reverend Kenneth Wakefield, aged 59, who has been a Chaplain at Cornwall Army Cadet Force for 13 years.
• Serjeant Major Instructor David James, aged 69, a former Regular Soldier who served with the Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry, and who joined Cornwall Army Cadet Force in 1991.
• Serjeant Timothy Rowe, 44, from Redruth – a foster carer and sports coach who has dedicated 17 years to the Territorial Army.