Image: Katie Payne, Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Major Nick Payne, Wendy Payne
An Army Major who has responded to everything from a deadly nerve agent attack to stepping in to help communities hit by extreme weather in a career spanning more than 40 years has been honoured for his extensive military service.
Major Nicholas Payne, 62, from Dorset, has demonstrated outstanding support to numerous operations during his time in service – ranging from counter-terrorism to providing homeland security for the 2012 Olympics.
Major Payne, who is based in Wiltshire and serves with the British Army’s Headquarters South West in Tidworth, has received a Certificate of Meritorious Service for his 44 years of continuous military career.
Sarah Troughton, Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, the Queen's representative in the county, presented the honour to Major Payne at Devizes Town Hall, acknowledging the major’s incredible length of service to his country.
A Royal Military Police who started out in Plymouth, Mayor Payne, who enlisted into the Territorial Army in 1974, said he was honoured by the award, adding:
“I was surprised, and of course very proud at my accolade, and to have my family there at the presentation made it even more special.”
He joined the Army aged 18 years as a driver in the Royal Corps of Transport, stationed at 232 Squadron in Plymouth and he was commissioned as an officer four years later.
“My aspiration had always been to be an officer. I didn’t expect to still be serving after the age of 48, so every year since has been a huge bonus, and because of that I’ve loved it even more."
His military service with the Army Reserves has seen him deployed on operations and homeland resilience tasks such as the Gloucester and Somerset floods, support to the London Olympics and mobilised on Operation Temperer, the Government led assistance to police officers following a major terrorist attack.
He spent 12 of his 44 years with the Army Cadet Force, and for the last eight years, he has been involved as a Hospital Liaison Officer on Exercise Wyvern Tor, the South West’s outward bound challenge for young people – the Ten Tors challenge.
Reflecting on his career, he said:
“I’ve worked with so many nice people; my current job is so diverse, and has offered me so many interesting opportunities. I’ve met and been involved with the wider civilian community and ultimately we serve them.”
Major Payne, who studied at attended Plymouth College of Further Education, works with the UK Border Force in civilian life.
He is married to wife Wendy and their daughter Katie has followed her father into the military serving as an Officer Cadet with Bristol University Air Squadron.