36 Engineer Regiment Awarded For Humanitarian Relief Efforts

The regiment has received the Firmin Sword of Peace for a second time, having previously won the award in 1996 for their work in Bosnia.

36 Engineer Regiment has been presented with the Firmin Sword of Peace for their contribution to humanitarian relief efforts.

The sword is awarded for activities above and beyond a unit's normal role that are judged to have improved relations within a community either in the UK or overseas.

The regiment received the sword in recognition of their work in South Sudan, Kenya, the Falkland Islands, Nepal and South East England, from July 2018 to January 2019.

But it was the regiment's work in South Sudan that was singled out after they helped protect victims of sexual assault.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jones, Commanding Officer 36 Engineer Regiment, who was presented with the sword by Lieutenant General Ivan Jones, spoke to Forces News about the regiment's work in the country.

He said in November 2018 the regiment helped make a road safer "after it came to light in the international media that approximately 125 women and children had been sexually assaulted".

He said the individuals were walking 30 kilometres each way to collect food from the World Food Programme when they were attacked.

36 Engineer Regiment was presented with the Firmin Sword of Peace at the regiment's barracks in Maidstone, Kent.

"We completely rebuilt that road," he said.

"Stripped back the vegetation and allowed the trucks from the World Food Programme to go to the recipients of the food rather than the other way around”.

Alongside the work on the road, the regiment also assisted in the construction of a brand new hospital and helped rebuild an old one.

Warrant Officer 2nd Class Andy Hurren, 20 Squadron Sergeant Major 36 Engineer Regiment, told Forces News it is "nice to do nice things".

“The award is ultimately given for people trying to make other people’s lives better and if that’s something you can say 'when I was in Army I did that', then everybody should be proud.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, roughly 270 members of the regiment were on parade, rather than the usual 650, in order to maintain social distancing.

It is the second time the regiment has received the award, having previously won it for their actions in Bosnia in 1996.