Four Scots soldiers honoured with awards

Michael Gillespie was awarded a QCVS for improving frontline medical support. Picture: PA
Michael Gillespie was awarded a QCVS for improving frontline medical support. Picture: PA
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Four soldiers from a Scottish regiment who helped train their Afghan counterparts on a recent tour have been honoured for their work.

Awards to the servicemen include the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS), the Distinguished Service Order and a Mention in Despatches.

Some 117 people from across the Armed Forces are included in the latest Operational Honours list, published today.

The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 Scots) completed Operation Herrick 17 in Afghanistan in March and four servicemen are honoured on the list.

Edinburgh soldier Lance Corporal Michael Gillespie was awarded a QCVS for improving frontline medical support by working with an Afghan National Army doctor.

The 22-year-old spent six weeks with the doctor giving training and advice and his award citation reads: “It is due to Gillespie’s patience and exceptional advising that the doctor is now empowered and respected, taken ownership of injured Afghan National Army soldiers as well as becoming an integral part of operational training.”

Initiative

Major Robert Connolly was also awarded a QCVS for helping with the transition of the Afghan Army.

His citation states: “His performance provides a superb example of initiative, expertise and skilled diplomacy. His contribution to the development of the ISAF campaign in Afghanistan has been real, measurable and hugely impressive.”

Corporal Dennis Skinner, received the oldest form of recognition of gallantry within the Armed Forces with a Mention in Despatches.

Cpl Skinner was a Section Commander during Operation Herrick and on one mission with the Afghan Task Force 444 to search compounds in Aikozai, a soldier was badly injured after stepping on an explosive device.

The Army said Cpl Skinner put his own safety second to the injured soldier by running 20 metres to administer first aid and co-ordinate the casualty’s evacuation.

His award citation states: “Skinner’s relentless, drive, inspiring courage and leadership mark him out as extraordinary during Operation Herrick 17; he is strongly recommended for national recognition.”

Under fire

The fourth 1 Scot honoured is Brigadier Robert Bruce, who was Commander of Task Force Helmand during the Afghanistan tour.

The Army said he was at the forefront of the action and regularly spent time with his Afghan counterpart when they were under fire.

His citation credits him with developing “the confidence and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces in Central Helmand where they are now self-motivated enough to execute their own operations in a bid to protect the people.”

It continues: “This has been a stand-out performance of leadership on operations. His was the performance which defined the tour for his brigade; true leadership, delivered from the front with resolute determination that must demand formal and pubic recognition.”