MILITARY personnel have been awarded honours in recognition of their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch, currently commander of Standing Joint Command (UK) and responsible for the military support to the Covid-19 crisis, has been made a Knight Commander of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours list.

General Urch served twice at HQ Land Command in Wilton, commanded 22 Engineer Regiment at Perham Down and later was Commander of 1 Mechanised Brigade in Bulford.

Salisbury Journal:

Richard Osgood, the Ministry of Defence archaeologist based at Westdown Camp on Salisbury Plain, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). The award was for his outstanding contribution to military archaeology, not just on Salisbury Plain but across the UK and on the First War Battlefields in Northern France and Belgium.

It was also for his outstanding work for the charity Operation Nightingale which has seen Wounded, Injured and Sick service personnel working on archaeological digs across the country.

Notable has been the work on Barrow Clump on the Plain but has included such modern excavations as a Second World War Spitfire near Upavon.

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Commenting on the award, Richard said: “Thanks so much too everyone for the heart-warmingly lovely messages today - a bright end to a grim year. I can’t help feeling a tad fraudulent as I am so privileged to do a job I love, in a landscape I adore, with people I admire.”

Two local soldiers have been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (Awarded for distinguished service, or for gallantry, by non-commissioned officers). Warrant Officer Class 2 Osbaldeston, of 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, who is a veteran Unmanned Aerial Systems expert and Air Safety champion serving with 10 Battery. He is also a dedicated volunteer and fundraiser for the Models for Heroes charity. Warrant Officer Class 2 Wilde of First Fusiliers also received the award for his outstanding contribution to the regiment.

Salisbury Journal:

1 Royal Welsh received a number of awards for their outstanding work during the Covid-19 crisis, including a Chief of the General Staff Commendation for Major Rabbitt, a Commander Field Army Commendation for Lance Corporal Palmer-Hill, a Standing Joint Commander’s Commendation for Fusilier Gorton and four General Officer Commanding 3rd (UK) Division commendations.

A standing Joint Command commendation was made to Lieutenant Theodore Chabo of the Army’s Educational and Training Services.

When the Tidworth Education Centre was closed down, Lt Chabo volunteered to support the local Army Media Team.

Salisbury Journal:

On his second day found himself giving media support to troops working on the front line in support of the NHS at the Bristol Nightingale Hospital. He then went on to deploy with the Military Testing Units that were popping up across the region. Lt Chabo’s role as go-between for the media and service personnel helped both parties to get their job done and enabled the media to get messages of reassurance to the public.

Recognising that he could not be at all of the sites where personnel might be located, he created a guide for those who may come in contact with the media and this is now the gold standard and issued to all three services across the country before they deploy on Covid related tasks.

Lt Chabo said: “The real credit should go to the service personnel who were on task 18 hours a day for months on end and I am proud to have been able to help tell their stories. I am very lucky to have been recognised in this way.”