News

February 26th 2014

LEICESTER SOLDIERS RECEIVE AFGHANISTAN SERVICE MEDALS

Three Leicester soldiers were praised by Harborough MP Sir Edward Garnier when they received their operational service medals for a recent tour in Afghanistan.

The soldiers from B (Leicestershire and Derbyshire) Squadron The Royal Yeomanry received their medals in front of relatives and fellow Army Reserves at a medal ceremony held at their Army Reserve Centre in Tigers Road, South Wigston.

“It was a huge privilege to meet and talk with the Army Reserves and present them with their well deserved medals,” said Sir Edward Garnier QC MP.

Two of the soldiers, Lance Corporal Andy Pearce and Trooper Jason Edwards, deployed with the Badger Squadron of 2nd Royal Tank Regiment. The Squadron formed the Warthog Group; part of the logistical force supporting the Brigade HQ – the distinctive Warthog vehicles provided mobility and protection to the Brigade including the teams advising the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces). Lance Corporal Jan Illic was based in CampBastion.

Andy (31) said: “I was based in FOB Price for the first four months and then I moved into CampBastion for the final part of the tour.” When not in uniform he is a HGV driver for Cullina Logistics based in Lutterworth.

“You got into a routine from sunset to sunrise. If you weren’t driving or guarding you were catching up with sleep, cleaning your weapon or maintaining the vehicle; checking it had enough fuel and rations on board. I’m glad I did it. I wouldn’t want to be in the Army and not go and do what I’ve trained for.”

Sir Edward Garnier MP talks to a Reservist Trooper Jason Edwards (44) from Hinckley said: “Like Andy I was also a Warthog driver. The roads out there were good. But you would also be driving across desert and through ditches that were deep and wide. And it wasn’t just one ditch; you would drive out of one straight into another. It was challenging at times.”

This was also Jason’s first tour. “I’m a software engineer in my civvy job, so this was really taking me out of my comfort zone. But I just cracked on and it was good to have Andy in the same section.”

“Joining the Army was something I’d wanted to do since a kid. And working with the regular units on operations was and is a big draw for me.”

LCpl Jan Illic played a vital link in the supply chain to the front line. Based in CampBastion his role saw him working 12-hour shifts transporting loads of food, kit and supplies to the aircraft landing sight, ready for loading onto aircraft. He also did guarding duties.

In his civilian life he drives a HGV for Cullina Logistics.  “I got my HGV licence through the Squadron, which I have used to get a job in civvy street. It was Andy who told me his company was looking for drivers.”

He continued: “This was my first tour and it has given me a lot more confidence; I could probably do anything now and it wouldn’t phase me.”

Squadron Commander Major Paul Davey said: “I am immensely proud of all three soldiers who all worked extremely hard. They did some great work in Afghanistan and thoroughly deserve the acknowledgment they have had at this medal parade. 

B (Leicestershire and Derbyshire) Squadron is part of The Royal Yeomanry, the senior cavalry regiment in the Army Reserves.  Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the Squadron can contact Captain Nigel Benner on 0116 2759563 or visit a training night at the Army Reserve Centre on Tigers Road, SouthWigston,  LE18 4WS . Training nights are every Wednesday between 1930hrs and 2130hrs.