Armed Forces

Armed Forces

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STANWORTH MEMORIAl

A plaque in memory of a Royal Marine who lost his life in a diving accident was unveiled in Gibraltar at the end of August.

Corporal Johnny Stanworth, from the Royal Marines, lost his life in 1971 at the age of 22 while diving on Europa Reef. An extensive search by RN Clearance Divers, several RN vessels as well as Spanish Naval vessels and helicopters took place, but sadly was unsuccessful.

More than 30 family, friends, veterans and guests gathered at Europa Point for the special memorial ceremony, which was held exactly 50 years ago to the day he died. The project to dedicate the memorial to Johnny has been two years in the making, thanks to the determination of former diving buddies Tony Ward and Pete Wilkins.

Tony has spent the last two years getting permission from Gibraltar Government officials, family members and military bosses, and working through COVID-19 challenges, to get the green light for the memorial.

Tony, 74 from Northampton, said: “In 1968 I was on the same swimmer/canoeist course as Johnny and I had a lot of respect for him. He would have gone far in the Royal Marines. Johnny was awarded the Kings Badge at the age of 18 in his Royal Marines Commando training.

“Back in 2019 his friend Pete Wilkins mentioned that there is no grave or memorial for Johnny on the Rock.

“We agreed that it was about time something was done to rectify that, and, perhaps a memorial plaque in Gibraltar might be appropriate.” 


YOUTH OUTREACH

A group of teenagers got an insight into what life is like as a soldier thanks to an outreach programme at the Ministry of Defence.

During the two-day event, 12 teenage boys and girls got to grips with weapons, bomb disposal robots and visited various military locations around the Rock.

Organised by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and the Gibraltar Youth Service, the Youth Outreach Programme is designed to encourage youngsters to join the local regiment.

On the first day, the youngsters were given a presentation about life as a solider, before being shown weapons, bomb disposal equipment and then enjoying a visit to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.

On the second day, they visited the Buffadero Training Camp, where military personnel showed them how an Observation Post works and the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer – an indoor electronic firing range.

An MOD spokesperson said, “The kids really enjoyed themselves and were very excited throughout. They enjoyed the more hands on activities like the observation post and command tasks. However, their favourite part was the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer as they saw it as a computer game.”

Warrant Officer Michael Sanchez, Royal Gibraltar Regiment, added, “The main aim is to show them what we have to offer and what a cracking career the Regiment is, because it is, and then they need to decide for themselves.

“I have literally done 19 years and the way I see it, even during the bad times I have found good times. I’ve found times when I’ve been going through a bad patch on exercise, but I’ve still found the fun side.”.


CADET CHALLENGE

As opposed to setting individual challenges for the cadets to complete, the Squadron’s Officer Commanding, Flt Lt Ivan Caward, decided to use various locations across Gibraltar to provide a unique way of completing the 80 miles.

The challenge commenced with a walk around the Rock, supported by the Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP). This was followed by a tunnel tour through the Great North Road and a FOD Plod (collection of rubbish and debris) the length of the runway, with the latter providing a great help to RAF Gibraltar’s Air Safety Team, who are always keen to find ways to make the Airfield even safer.

On completion of the event, cadets from the Squadron had the following to say:

“It’s the first time I have walked around the Rock; you notice details that you have never seen before. I didn’t realise how steep Dudley Ward Tunnel as I have only driven through in a car! It was also good to get out and walk in a group of friends.” – Corporal Catlin Fitzgerald.

The tunnel tour was amazing, and I would have never guessed that there was so much hidden within the Rock. The history was really brought to life by our guide and Squadron Warrant Officer, Paul Llanelo.” – Cadet Jasmin Jarman

“It was a pity that the fog covered the runway and we missed out on the unique views of the Rock on the day, but we had a great time anyway. Before we started the FOD Plod, the Air Safety Manager and Airfield Ground Support Unit Manager gave us a talk about what FOD is and why it is so important to ensure that the Airfield is kept clear. It was frightening to see what damage a small piece of metal can do, but thankfully I’m happy to report that we didn’t find anything other than feathers and fish bones.” –  Corporal Merrick Kent

For more information on the Air Training Corps or if you are interested in joining, please contact Flt Lt Ivan Caward oc.2os@rafac.mod.gov.uk or +35054005832.

Armed Forces

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HMS Protector had a recent stop off at HMNB Gibraltar. The ship, known affectionately as the Royal Navy’s “Swiss Army knife”, arrived for a programmed logistics visit.

The vessel is deployed for 330 days a year, and recently underwent a major refit in preparation for her first visit to Antartica since 2019. 


COMMENDATION FOR KIAN

The Commander British Forces, Commodore Steve Dainton, had a special commendation to hand over.

8 year-old Kian Roche managed to raise over £1000 for the Great Tommy Sleepover initiative. The event challenges families to sleep outside for one night to raise funds for The Royal British Legion Industries. However, the initiative is not just to raise money but also to increase awareness of homeless ex- servicemen and women as it is estimated there are 6,000 veterans currently homeless in and around the UK.


Certificates Presentation

Earlier this year Commodore Steve Dainton, Commander British Forces Gibraltar (CBF), presented certificates to some of the students who have successfully attained further educational qualifications through the Joint Education and Training Services (JETS). Congratulations to all.

Armed Forces

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Canine Companions

The Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) Dog Section recently hosted the MOD’s Veterinary Services Training and Advisory Team (VSTAT) and achieved high standards in both veterinary care and infrastructure standards.

VSTAT forms part of the Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR) and ensures all organisations within Defence meet the highest of standards for animal health, welfare and performance in accordance with legislation and policy. The GDP’s Dog Section was commended for its hard work and effective police dog advocacy.

The relaxation of COVID control measures has allowed the Royal Gibraltar Regiment to increase the tempo of its operations and visibility both home and abroad. Here is a selection of photos of activities recently undertaken by the RG.


CBF Commendation

Petty Officer Supply Chain (POSC) Ronda Crampton-Reid recently received a Commander British Forces (CBF) Commendation for her work assisting Headquarters British Forces on Op Stonewise over the past six months.

On presenting the award Commodore Steve Dainton, Commander British Forces Gibraltar said, “This has been an outstanding performance by POSC Crampton-Reid, from an individual who has gone beyond the role expected of her and for which she was deployed out here. Her efforts have resulted in a significant improvement in the warehouse and in the accounting of materiel.”

POSC Crampton-Reid will shortly return back to the UK to make final preparations for her wedding in the coming weeks. Congratulations from everyone at Insight on both counts.

Armed Forces

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Key Training for new Joiner

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A new joiner to Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron, Able Seaman Carpenter, recently conducted pacing drills in the Squadron’s Pacific Rigid Inflatable Boat with HMS Pursuer, while under the supervision of the Chief Bosun’s Mate.

These pacing drills are critical as they provide key training for the coxswains to gain the necessary skills in close proximity manoeuvres, sustaining the Squadron at sea by transferring provisions, persons and stores without the need to return alongside.

This enables the Squadron to provide security to British Gibraltar Territorial Waters over a prolonged period whilst diligently maintaining UK sovereignty.


Base Marks pride Month

The Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) raised the LGBT rainbow flag at GDP Headquarters in the Naval Base to mark Pride month. The flag will remain flying during the month of June.

The GDP Chief of Police, Rob Allen, said: “The raising of the flag marks our commitment to diversity, which is crucial within MOD Gibraltar. The flying of the flag also marks a milestone for the GDP with its appointment of the Champions. A diverse workforce provides better representation of the community we serve, ensuring the Force provides the best customer service possible”.


WARRANT PRESENTATION

Warrant Officer 2 Sam Snee of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment was recently presented his Warrant by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel  Simon Dyson on behalf of His Excellency Vice  Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL.

WO2 Snee joined the Army in 1997 aged 18, initially joining the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards. In 1999 he deployed on his first tour to Crossmaglen in South Armagh, Northern Ireland followed by ceremonial duties in Windsor. Completing his Junior Non-Commissioned Officer course, he led of a team of 4 soldiers on his subsequent deployment to Londonderry in 2001. 

Fast-forward to 2018 and he was posted as a permanent staff instructor to a Reserve unit which further broadened his skills set and professional experience. This was then followed by
a second deployment to UK Strategic Command as part of the COVID Crisis Planning and Management Team. Having just returned from his latest deployment he has resumed
the duties of the Regimental Signals Warrant Officer. Congratulations Sam!

MARITIME FORCE PROTECTION EXERCISE

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Following the recent release of the Integrated Review 2021, British Forces Gibraltar took the opportunity to host a Maritime Force Protection Exercise in order to demonstrate its ability to operate as a strategic operational hub in the Mediterranean.

Multiple units and agencies which included the Gibraltar Squadron (RNGS), Royal Gibraltar Regiment (RGR), Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) and Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) as well as the newly arrived HMS Trent, came together to take part in the training.

The Queens Harbour Master Lt Cdr Alastair Ley commented, “this exercise will be the first of many that aims to develop further the current doctrine and procedures as well as expanding and strengthening the very good working relationship between both the military and civilian security assets on the Rock”. 


HMS Dasher Returns

The Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron (RNGS) has returned to full strength after HMS Pursuer completed her annual support period, where she received essential maintenance in support of her enduring commitment to Gibraltar.

She re-joins her sister ship, HMS Dasher and the RN Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats in providing the important role of force protection and security within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, and above all, upholding UK sovereignty.

GDP ROAD SAFETY AWARENESS COMPETITION WINNERS

The Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) visited the HELM Point Community Centre, Four Corners last year to carry out several Road Safety Awareness sessions with members of the Youth Club.

Part of these sessions allowed the opportunity to enter a drawing competition for those involved.

After careful consideration by the GDP officers who presented the initiative, Police Sergeant Dylan Borastero and Police Constable Diandra Desoisa selected four lucky winners:

• Lavinia Noteyoung • Macy Sutton • Oscar Waldrom • Emily Harris-Joce

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the four winners have only recently been able to visit the GDP Headquarters.

Spending some time in a policing environment, Emily, Lavinia, Macy and Oscar were shown around the facilities at the GDP Headquarters and saw for themselves the control room where the day to day operations are carried out. They also joined in with officers carrying out a patrol in one of the GDP vehicles and met the Specialist Firearms Officers. Undoubtedly the highlight of the day was the opportunity to mingle with the GDP police dogs, Mira and Arry, who together with their handlers, carried out a display especially for the winners. Overall it was an extremely fun day for everyone involved!

The GDP would like to thank all of those who took part in the drawing competition and looks forward to seeing other future police officers attending the GDP Headquarters on many other opportunities.

GDP New Recruits

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Six new officers at the GDP recently completed 18 weeks of training, delivered by the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP).

The intense course provided RGP and GDP recruits with a strong legal foundation, knowledge into specialist areas such as drugs and substance abuse, safeguarding children, mental health and personal safety techniques.

After their training, the newest members of the GDP took part in a COVID-19 compliant Passing Out ceremony alongside their RGP colleagues.

The GDP officers passing out were: 

• PC22 Kaine Pratts • PC41 Duane Manktelow

• PC47 Colin Finlayson • PC85 Julian Chipolina

• PC95 Jenna Kenny  • PC135 Jordan Dean

• PC95 Jenna Kenny  • PC135 Jordan Dean


Naafi new Look

British Forces Gibraltar has seen the opening of two refurbished NAAFI facilities, one at Devil’s Tower Camp (DTC) and the other at HELM Point in 4 Corners.

The development of Boyd’s Bar and the NAAFI shop is a very welcome improvement to the facilities available to the residents of DTC.

Soldiers, sailors and airmen will benefit from the enhanced offer, which is now more akin to a sleek and modern high street commercial bar/restaurant with an adjacent smart retail outlet.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic it has been a tough time for those who have resided and isolated in DTC, with very limited opportunity to socialise or take leave out of area with their loved ones. 

Police Constable Nick Ward and Police Dog Oskar became the latest members to join the Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) Dog Unit, having completed an eight-week course to achieve the required standard.

Nick and Oskar join the established dog unit which comprises several general purpose police dogs such as Oskar, as well as a number of specialist search dogs. Oskar is a two- year old Belgian Malinois, a breed chosen for stamina and agility and their ability to maintain focus.


Lord Airey’s Battery

The Household Cavalry D Squadron were able to give a little back to Gibraltar after completing their training on the Rock. The squadron provided a work party of Lance Corporals to assist with a Gibraltar Heritage Trust project lead by Mr Pete Jackson on refurbishing Lord Airey’s Gun Battery.

A party of six – LCpl Homewood, LCpl Thomson, LCpl Taylor, LCpl Lowther, LCpl Holden and LCpl Mathieson – marched up to the top of the Rock to set to work. Tasks included weeding, path clearance, internal wall preparation for redecoration and several other hands-on chores.

Promotions at RGR

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Warrant Officer 2 (WO2) Jeffries-Morpromoted from Colour Sergeant to Warrant Officer Class 2. WO2 Jeffries-Mor joined the Army in 1997 as an Infantry soldier and was promoted to LCpl in 2004 having completed his JNCO cadre. In 2011 he completed his ammunition NCO course resulting in his promotion to Cpl and took up his new role as unit ammunition NCO. In 2013 he was attached to JPDU Gibraltar where he took over the role of pool manager.

Colour Sergeant Gonzalez (Volunteer Reserve) promoted from Sergeant to Colour Sergeant and has been serving with the RG since March 2005. During this time he has successfully undertaken a host of different appointments within the Rifle platoon, from Private Soldier to Section 2IC, Section Commander, Platoon Sgt and finally Platoon Commander. CSgt Gonzalez has also been attached to the Recruit Training Team as Recruit training instructor for 2 years. His most recent role is Company Quarter Master Sergeant (CQMS).

Corporal Rogers promoted from Lance Corporal to Corporal and has been serving with the RG since early 2013. During this time, he has taken on a host of different roles from Unit Admin Support and EOD to his current role working within the QM’s department. Cpl Rogers is also one of several physical training instructors responsible for delivering unit fitness training.

Cpl Bentley promoted from Lance Corporal to Corporal. He joined the RG in April 2005 where he was initially employed as an LMG gunner within the Rifle Company. During his time within the Regiment he has taken on a host of different roles, ranging from Company store-man within the CQMS department through to his current role as a unit armourer..

LCpl Rodgers (Volunteer Reserve) promoted from Private to Lance Corporal. LCpl Rodgers joined the Regiment as a Regular soldier in March 2008 and was promoted to Lance Corporal in 2013 after successfully passing his Fire Team Commanders course. During his time as a Lance Corporal he took on several different appointments from Regimental Signaller to serving with the Provost staff. 

LCpl S Borge (Volunteer Reserve) promoted from Private to Lance Corporal. LCpl Borge joined the Regiment in March 2005, in 2008 he promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal and in 2009 took on the role of section commander. During this time, he also qualified as a Skill at Arms instructor.

LCpl Mcguffie promoted from Private to Lance Corporal and has served in the Regiment since 2015. He has predominantly worked within I Company as a rifleman and has deployed on numerous overseas exercises.

LCpl Abbasciano promoted from Private to Lance Corporal. LCpl Abbasciano joined the Regiment in December 2014 where he was initially employed as a rifleman within I Company.LCpl Abbasciano was selected to attend the Fire Team Commanders course and, upon successful completion of the course, deployed as a section 2IC to Bahrain as part of the Force Protection platoon.

After a brief hiatus, HMS Dasher has returned to operational duty after a successful annual support period, overcoming the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 and maintaining strict restrictions throughout.
A key part of the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron, both HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer, with the support of the Royal Navy rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), continue to provide force protection and security within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) and uphold UK sovereignty.

LCpl Soithongsuk promoted from Private to Lance Corporal. Having successfully been awarded Best in Fieldcraft and Best Shot during his training at ITC, LCpl Soithongsuk arrived at the RG in early 2019. Initially he was deployed as a rifleman within I Company which saw him deploy on several exercises both locally and overseas. During this time, he quickly impressed his commanders and in late 2019 was selected to attend the Fire Team Commanders course. Upon the successful completion of the course he moved into his current role as a section 2IC within I Company.

LCpl Bannatyne promoted from Private to Lance Corporal. LCpl Bannatyne joined the RG mid-2014 where he was employed as a rifleman within I Company and this saw him deploy on several local and overseas exercises. LCpl Bannatyne also deployed as part of a Force Protection platoon in Bahrain, providing security protection to UK naval assets.

LCpl Meakin promoted from Private to Lance Corporal. LCpl Meakin has been serving with the RG since mid-2018 and has been deployed on a host of overseas exercises. LCpl Meakin has also been deployed on operations in Bahrain as part of a Force Protection platoon. Upon his return from Bahrain LCpl Meakin completed the Assault Pioneers course providing a rare asset to the Company. Impressing his commanders in his role, LCpl Meakin was selected to attend his Fire Team Commanders course. Following completion of the course he has been employed in his current role as a section 2IC in I Company.

LCpl Mercieca promoted from Private to Lance Corporal. LCpl Mercieca joined the RG mid 2018 where he was initially placed as a rifleman within I Company and deployed on numerous overseas exercises to the UK and Morocco. In 2018 he deployed to Bahrain as part of a Force Protection platoon. Having excelled in these roles, LCpl Mercieca was selected to attend his Fire Team Commanders course and was awarded top student on the course. LCpl Mercieca is now employed as a section 2IC within I Company.

LCpl Webster-Valero promoted from Private to Lance Corporal. Having been awarded Best Recruit during his training at ITC, LCpl Webster arrived at the RG in early 2019. Upon arrival he was placed as a rifleman within I Company and deployed on several exercises both locally and in the UK.

Vaccine Third Batch Arrival

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Another batch of COVID-19 vaccines (the third) has just arrived in Gibraltar, courtesy of the logistical expertise of the Ministry of Defence.

When the first consignment arrived, it was all-hands-on-deck with rapid and exemplary co-ordination between all members of crucial frontline staff, both here in Gibraltar and in the UK.

Speaking at the time of the first inbound shipment, the Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP said, “The arrival of this vaccine is a demonstration of our work with the FCDO and MoD as part of the British family of nations, a stunning example of the power of science and a chance for each of us to get inoculated against deadly COVID-19.”

When the latest shipment was about to land, the CM took to Twitter to show his delight.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been given to 21 frontline workers from the Princess Royal Medical Centre on Devil’s Tower Camp.

This followed on from the first delivery of the vaccine into Gibraltar by the Royal Air Force and British Forces Gibraltar personnel and was a combined programme supported by the Gibraltar Health Authority and HQBF Medical staff.


GDDP Training Completed

The latest Gibraltar Defence Police recruits recently completed 18 weeks of training alongside their Royal Gibraltar Police colleagues.

The intense course, delivered by the RGP, provided recruits with a strong legal foundation, knowledge into specialist areas such as drugs and substance abuse, safeguarding children, mental health and personal safety techniques.

A virtual COVID-compliant passing out parade was held for all the recruits including the GDP’s newest officers PC33 Gary Robinson, PC79 Robbie Blakemore, PC146 Stefan Cabezutto and PC48 Ernest de Torres.

PC Gary Robinson received the ‘Best Academic Recruit’ award.

Congratulations to all.


Commodore Creighton Honoured

Rear Admiral Sir Kenelm Creighton KBE CVO will be awarded the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour posthumously as recognition of the part he played during the Second World War.

He had been put in the seemingly impossible position of looking after the welfare of Gibraltarian evacuees who had found themselves having to flee French Morocco once France itself had fallen to Axis powers.

He managed to galvanise the effort to remove civilians from the area after the Vichy Admiral refused to prepare evacuation vessels. With this in mind, he set sail – but defied London and went to Gibraltar instead of the River Thames. The ships were then free to be made more adequate in Gibraltar.

Speaking of this historically significant event, the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said, “The Government is delighted to honour the memory of Rear Admiral Creighton. His vivid description of the incident with Gibraltarian evacuees in Casablanca can be read in his autobiography “Convoy Commodore”.
He stood up for and sympathised with the plight of the people of Gibraltar to the degree that he had to be threatened with arrest by the French and he had no hesitation in defying orders when he judged that following them would have put our people at risk.

It takes a brave man to stand up to authority in this way and there is no better time to mark his courageous actions for the benefit of our people. The original intention had been to place the plaque at the evacuation monument last year, on the 80tth anniversary of the year in which the events took place. Sadly, this was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters so I will present the commemorative plaque shortly. The Government is confident that the placing of the plaque and the posthumous award of a Medallion of Honour will provide Sir Kenelm Creighton with the recognition that his actions deserve.”

Gibraltar House has managed to contact some of his surviving family members in Australia, who will – naturally – be kept informed as matters progress.

Awards & Promotions

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Members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment paraded in the Buffadero Training complex to conduct a Commanding Officers PT session, involving a 4-mile tactical march in the Upper Rock carrying 15 kgs. The event concluded with the Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Simon Dyson presenting four CO’s Coins and promoting two individuals.

  • The recipients of the Coins were:
  • LCpl Arnold Rogers
  • Mr El-Carasi
  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Jeffries-Mor
  • Private Mercieca

Those in receipt of promotions were:

Sergeant Thomas Nicholls who was promoted to Colour Sergeant, in the new year he starts a new role in the School of Infantry, based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, as part of the training assurance team.

2nd Lieutenant Rhodri Thomas was promoted to Lieutenant and in the new year will be part of the Queen Division Courses Cell which is based in Sennybridge, Powys. He will assume the appointment of Platoon Commander and will be instructing potential junior NCOs from across the division.


The Royal Gibraltar Regiment motto, ‘Nulli Expungabilis Hosti’, translates as, ‘Conquered by no enemy,’ and rings true for all of Gibraltar in 2020. Against the backdrop of the pandemic we have been busy as a Regiment training and honing our skills, developing our soldiers and putting ourselves to the test physically and mentally.

Here’s to 2021 and better times for everyone on the Rock, home and away, so links can further be cemented with the community through events like HM Queen’s Birthday and the Ceremony of the Keys.


At the start of December, SAC Rhodri ‘Rhodders’ Sutton and SAC Yvonne ‘Netty’ Sidaway were deployed to RAF Gibraltar and were pivotal assets to the Movements Team during a busy surge period.

In the 8-day period, they handled 8 aircraft, including a US Navy C130 and assisted with the building of 4671Kgs of outbound resupply freight and 6168Kgs of inbound freight. Showcasing their wide-ranging skill set, they have also facilitated with large passenger moves amounting to 132 passengers. 

During SAC Sidaway’s time here she received the news that she had been offered promotion to Corporal.

The Station held a small, socially distanced presentation where the RAF Station Commander, Wing Cdr Nel Doherty, congratulated her and thanked them both for their sterling efforts and invaluable support during a hectic period.

Following the presentation, the Station Commander said, “It is always a pleasure to be able to inform someone of their promotion, and to hand over the precious new ‘tapes’ (rank insignia). To do this for Nettie today was an additional privilege as it seemed a fitting ‘thank you’ for the efforts of her and the rest of the team from 4624 (RAuxAF) Sqn in supporting a very busy period of operations from the Airfield over the past few weeks. We wish her all the best for her future career and hope to welcome her back to the Rock in the near future … but this time as a Corporal!” 

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