September 16th 2014


A Leicester Army Reservist had a once in a lifetime chance to mix with the world’s top leaders when he was picked to act as an escort to the German Minister of Defence at the NATO Summit in Wales.

Lieutenant (Lt) John Cvancara, (CRCT) aged 54, of Aylestone, joined military personnel from all three Armed Forces supporting the event, as well as civilian staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

A member of 212 Field Hospital, where he parades at the Army Reserve Centre in Beeston, Nottingham, he joined civilian and military colleagues assigned to look after the German Defence Minister Ursula Von-Der-Leyen.

He said: “My job, along with the Minister’s aide, was to get them where they needed to go, sort out any dramas with transport etc and get them to their drivers and meetings at the right time.

“She was very chatty and as she trained as a doctor and I am a nurse, we had lots in common, which made things much easier.

“And, I even got a chance to say “Hi” to Obama and David Cameron. The only negative thing that happened all week was when Angela Merkel and Obama were going to another meeting, I stepped back to allow them through and I nearly knocked over the Romanian President!

“But, other than that, my overall impression was that the Summit was fantastic for Wales and Newport and Cardiff, and while I know there were some people who were against it, it really did bring a great financial boost to the area.

 “After all it brought 15,000 people into the local community and all of them had to stay in hotels which I know were full up.

“It really put Wales on the map and gave a footprint to Wales; all the people I saw as the delegates were driving in their motorcades were waving, smiling and taking pictures – even the protestors were peaceful in Newport,” he added.

Lt Cvancara is a former Regular soldier who served from 1976 to 1993 with 25 Field Regiment Royal Artillery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and 29 Commando Regiment.

Upon leaving the Regular Army and while waiting to join a university course, he became a nursing auxiliary and also did some agency nursing and then later trained as a paediatric nurse specialist and adult nurse.

After leaving the Regular Army as a Sergeant, Lt Cvancara joined 212 Field Hospital in 1995 as a Private soldier, qualified as a children’s nurse and re-qualified as an adult nurse in 2004.

During his career he has deployed on operations to Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland and taken part in training exercises across the world including in Kenya, Canada, USA, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy and Israel.

In civvy street, Lt Cvancara is now a paediatric nurse specialist, and has worked as a nurse at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and at Treliske Hospital in Truro.

During his deployment to Afghanistan with 212 Field Hospital from October 2010 to June 2011 he was 2IC (Second In Command) of the military field hospital at Camp Bastion. He is also Secretary of the Army Reserve Basketball team.