Three Wandsworth Royal Marine Reservists who are members of the Royal Marine Reserve based in Southfields, have been honoured by the Greater London Reserve Forces and Cadets Association at an award ceremony on 15th March 2012.
Receiving the Top Reservist of the year runners up award was Marine Dan Holder, whilst his fellow Marine Reservists, Colour Sergeant David Hill, and Lance Corporal Nigel Splain were awarded Lord Lieutenant Certificates.
Marine Holder received a standing ovation by the guests as he received his award from the Vice Lord Lieutenant of London, Wing Commander Mike Dudgeon OBE. Marine Holder who is a tree surgeon in civilian life received his award for his outstanding achievements over the past 12 months. His Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Alex Murray read his citation. “Marine Holder volunteered for operational service in Afghanistan in July 2010 and served with 40 Commando at a forward operating base in SANGIN. As a result of his heroic actions in Combat he was awarded the American Bronze Star Medal with Combat V Clasp (denoting Valour”). This is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration, signed by President Obama and awarded for acts of bravery and heroism. It is the fourth highest combat award of the US Armed Forces and the ninth highest military award in the US military. It is exceptionally rare for a non US Serviceman to be awarded this – only 6 have been awarded previously and it equates to the UK Military Cross.
Dan said, “In my career as a Royal Marine Reservist I have worked alongside some great Marines. Sadly, I served with a fellow Reservist, John Crookes, who lost his life doing this job. And it is to that end that I am extremely pleased to have received this great award but realise that without having known John and having gained vital experience directly from him it is unlikely that I would have been nominated for it. It is John, in my eyes, that deserves this recognition.”
Colour Sergeant Hill, was awarded a Lord Lieutenant Certificate for his meritorious service. Colonel Murray said, “Colour Sergeant Hill is a perfect example of the committed Reservist, he has matched his regular counterparts in a professional military sense whilst balancing his civilian career as a watch manager with the London Fire Brigade.”
Colour Sergeant Hill has served in Kosovo with 45 Commando developing the fledgling Kosovo Fire Service where he was commended by the Chief of UN Fire Rescue Operations. Whilst serving in Iraq he worked hard to help build the Iraqi Fire and Rescue Services after the devastating earthquake in Bam, and whilst serving with the Special Boat Service in Afghanistan he used his civilian skills to enhance the overall effect of the military team he was working with by undertaking fire safety planning across all locations within his remit.”
Colour Sergeant Hill said, “Over my 28 years as a Royal Marine Reservist I have operated and trained in all the harshest of environments, desert, arctic, jungle and on board ships at sea and I am overwhelmed and humbled by this award and recognition”.
Lance Corporal Nigel Splain who is full time carer for his daughter Grace, has been in the RMR for 34 years and has been a key member of the RMR Landing Craft Reserve Specialisation for the last 27 years. He has served all over the world, but perhaps most pivotally in Hong Kong with 42 Commando helping to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and in Iraq in 2003 as a landing craft crewman supporting 3 Commando Brigade as they took the Al-Faw Peninsula. Nigel has now volunteered to serve with the Marines in their operational Maritime Security role during the Olympics.
Addressing the soldiers, cadets and invited guests, Vice Lord Lieutenant of London, Wing Commander Mike Dudgeon, who presented the evening’s awards went on to say, “Tonight is an evening of celebration. It is my opportunity to present awards and medals to the Volunteers and Reservists, to mark what they have done and their service. It is also my chance to thank everyone on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen for their service. The Volunteer Reservists are doing a marvellous job and are a great asset to our country. “
April 12, 2012