NHS paramedic shows Queen's Dragoons Guard Trooper equipment used in ambulance CREDIT MOD 170420.jpg

New Year Honours Recognise Military's Work During Coronavirus Pandemic

NHS paramedic shows Queen's Dragoons Guard Trooper equipment used in ambulance CREDIT MOD 170420.jpg

Military personnel are among the 1,239 people recognised in the New Year Honours List 2021.

They have been honoured for their hard work and commitment while on operations at home in the UK and abroad.

The recognition follows the Prime Minister's tribute last week to military personnel deployed in the UK and abroad over Christmas.

Knighthoods have been awarded to notable senior members of the Armed Forces.

Lieutenant General Tyrone Richard Urch, Commander Home Command and the Standing Joint Commander (UK), who has overseen the construction of the Nightingale hospitals will be knighted.

Last month, he was given an Outstanding Achievement Award for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lieutenant General James Hockenhull and Vice Admiral Ben Key are also knighted for their long and distinguished careers in the British Army and Royal Navy respectively.


One of the highest ranked women in the British Army, Brigadier Elizabeth Jane Faithfull-Davies, Commander 102 Logistics Brigade, has been awarded a CBE for delivering COVID-19 testing to frontline workers, including those in care homes, police stations and prisons.

"It is an extraordinary honour to be recognised in this way and I am enormously grateful for the incredible team I have had the privilege to work with this year," she said.

"It is humbling to be able to contribute in a small way in the fight against this pandemic. 

"The discipline and ingenuity shown by our soldiers who have worked in support of the nation’s testing programme make them equally worthy of recognition."

Also awarded a CBE is Colonel Alison Louise McCourt who is Chief Nursing Officer at the British Army and Brigadier Phillip David Prosser, Commander 101 Logistic Brigade, Royal Logistic Corps, who was heavily involved in the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Staff Sergeant Emma Clarke, Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, has been recognised with a Royal Red Cross for exceptional leadership, including creating more capacity for critical care units during the height of the pandemic.

"It was important to ensure my staff were given full support through such a challenging period," said SSG Clarke.

"My team were calm and professional in the most unprecedented circumstances, and it's a privilege to have our work recognised in this way."


In the Royal Navy, an MBE has been awarded to Lieutenant Commander Sean Heaton, Commanding Officer of the Southern Diving Group, who oversaw the safe disposal of a 500lb Luftwaffe bomb found at London's King George V Docks in 2018.

His citation says: "He relentlessly delivered very high-tempo operations, above and beyond that expected of his rank and his peers, with an admirable dedication to his people. 

"His devotion, commitment and professional ability has been extraordinary, and he most strongly deserves official recognition."

Lt Cdr Heaton said: "This decoration is as much a recognition of the brave, dedicated and immensely professional men and women that were under my command during my time in Southern Diving Group."

Lieutenant General Tyrone Richard Urch becomes a Sir (Picture: Association for Project Management).
Lieutenant General Tyrone Richard Urch is to be knighted (Picture: Association for Project Management).

Chief Petty Officer Naval Nurse Andrew Cooper becomes an Associate of the Royal Red Cross after being praised for his efforts COVID testing hundreds of sailors on aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, as well as for his work in an NHS hospital's emergency department.

The 36-year-old said: "I couldn't believe it at first. It will be exciting when I can let people know, having to hold off since finding out has been tough.

"I cannot wait to tell them."

With the aircraft carrier due to deploy for Fleet Operational Sea Training, he had to come up with a system to test all 800 sailors – a feat he then repeated in September ahead of F-35 Lightning jets trials on the ship.

Away from HMS Queen Elizabeth, he showed his expertise and leadership in the emergency department of Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, leading NHS and military colleagues in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

CPO Cooper said: "It is quite unique that I was able to use my skills both on a carrier like Queen Elizabeth and on the frontline of the NHS. But I couldn't have done it by myself.

“None of it would have happened if it wasn't for the whole team."


In the RAF, OBEs have been awarded to three personnel.

One of them is Group Captain Rachel Elizabeth Mawdsley, RAF Henlow Station Commander, who created a temporary rest facility at the station to support Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough Council efforts to assist mortuary facilities.

Group Captain Rachel Mawdsley said: "I am incredibly proud to have been the Station Commander of the whole force team at RAF Henlow as we responded to a request for Military Assistance to the Civil Authorities.

"We worked with, and were fully supported by, the Luton and Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forums to assist the community during the challenging early months of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The other two recipients are Group Captain Anne-Marie Houghton, Parade Commander of the RAF 100 parade in 2018, and Group Captain Christopher David Snaith, who left his post in Cyprus as RAF Akrotiri's Station Commander in the summer.

RAF Group Captain Rachel Elizabeth Mawdsley will b awarded an OBE. She assisted mortuary facilities by creating a temporary rest facility at RAF Henlow. (Picture: MOD).
RAF Gp Capt Rachel Elizabeth Mawdsley will be awarded an OBE. She assisted mortuary facilities by creating a temporary rest facility at RAF Henlow. (Picture: MOD).

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Our Armed Forces have been instrumental in the COVID-19 response, and I congratulate all who have received an award in the New Year Honours list today.

"In a year of additional challenge for all of us, our serving men and women have delivered testing, critical care, and essential support to public services, whilst protecting us abroad, too.  

"They are truly the best of us and it is great their hard work and perseverance is recognised today."

Other military recipients on the list:

Gillian Elizabeth Angel, Community Development Officer, RAF Scampton. For services to Royal Air Force Personnel and their Families. (Market Rasen, Lincolnshire).

Karen Elliot, Secretary, Scottish Area, Royal Naval Association and Social Secretary, City of Edinburgh Branch, Chair, Association of Wrens and Women of the Royal Naval Services Edinburgh and District Branch. For voluntary service to Royal Navy Veterans. (Livingston, West Lothian).

James Michael Zuppinger, Trustee, RMA – The Royal Marines Charity. For services to the Royal Marines during COVID-19. (Exmouth, Devon).

Gavin John Edgerley-Harris, Director, Gurkha Museum. For services to Gurkha and Military Heritage. (Winchester, Hampshire).

Major (Rtd) Robert John Cross, Chairman, North Midlands Branch, Gurkha Welfare Trust. For services to Gurkha Veterans. (Rugeley, Staffordshire).

Thomas Douglas Cuthbertson, Co-founder, Brothers in Arms. For services to Charitable Fundraising for the Armed Forces Charities. (Sunderland, Tyne and Wear).

Carla Jane Cuthbertson, Co-founder, Brothers in Arms. For services to Charitable Fundraising for Armed Forces Charities. (Sunderland, Tyne and Wear).

CPO Andrew Cooper will be awarded a Royal Red Cross for designing training to help NHS and military colleagues on the frontline in a hospital emergency department (Picture: MOD).
CPO Andrew Cooper will be awarded a Royal Red Cross for designing training to help NHS and military colleagues on the frontline in a hospital emergency department (Picture: MOD).

Among the celebrity names are Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, knighted for his outstanding achievements and contribution to motorsports. 

This year, he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record by winning his seventh World Drivers' Championship, in addition to becoming the most successful F1 driver of all time.

Of the 1,239 people who will receive an award, public sector workers make up 14.8% of the list and include firefighters, medical professionals, teachers, police officers, and local government workers – all recognised for making a huge individual impact, and in particular in the response to COVID-19.

The majority of awards are for the contributions people have made in their communities. Of those receiving an award, 65% are recognised for their community work.

The oldest person on the honours list is Anne Baker from Salisbury in Wiltshire who, at 106 years old, receives an MBE for fundraising for the NSPCC.

A damehood is also awarded to Angela Eagle MP for parliamentary and political service.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "In a year when so many have made sacrifices to protect our NHS and save people's lives, the outstanding efforts of those receiving honours today are a welcome reminder of the strength of human spirit, and of what can be achieved through courage and compassion.

"The 2021 New Year Honours offer us an opportunity to salute their dedication and recognise many who have gone above and beyond in their contribution to our country.

"As we begin a new year and continue to come together to fight this virus, may their service and stories be an inspiration to us all."

This New Year Honours List is the most ethnically diverse honours list yet, with 14.2% of recipients coming from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.

Some 603 women are recognised in the list, representing 49% of the total.

And 6.9% of the recipients consider themselves to have a disability (under the Equality Act 2010); while 4% identify as being LGBT+.

The Military Division of the New Year Honours 2021 can be viewed in full here.

Cover image: Ministry of Defence.

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