Soldiers Receive Firmin Sword Of Peace For Work In Caribbean

Soldiers from 66 Engineer Group received the sword in recognition of their work on Operation Ruman.

A group of soldiers have been awarded the Firmin Sword of Peace.

Members of 66 Engineer Group paraded to receive the award in recognition of their work during Operation Ruman.

The Firmin Sword of Peace is awarded for activities above and beyond a unit’s normal role that improve relations with the community, either within the UK or overseas.

In 2017, hurricanes struck British Overseas Territories causing catastrophic devastation and the loss of life.

Buildings were damaged, vital resources cut off and mass evacuations had to take place.

Op Ruman saw more than 2,000 British military personnel mobilise quickly to provide disaster relief to the Caribbean islands over a five-week period in 2017.

Aircraft including A400M, Voyager, C-17 Globemaster and Hercules were deployed within hours to provide support, making Op Ruman one of the quickest air movement responses since Operation Herrick in Afghanistan.

Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster presented the sword.

Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Walker, the Commanding Officer, spoke about how it feels to be awarded it: "It's an absolutely beautiful sword.

"Its the first time the 66 works group has received this award and its an absolute privilege and honour to receive it as Commanding Officer on behalf of 66 works group."

Corporal Thomas Greig was part of the team in the Caribbean and the work consisted of 16 hours a day: "It was a challenge, it wasn't really what we expecting when we got out there, none of us had ever really done anything like it."

Captain Philip Chalkey said he had never been tasked with something to this level and on such short notice: "It means a great deal, it's a small group that we have and to receive an award, an accolade, at the level of the Firmin Sword is a real achievement.

"We very rarely get tasked with this sort of level and quick reaction work... it's a real proud moment."

Just days before receiving the award the 66 work group had been sent to help with the response to flooding in the Lincolnshire town of Wainfleet.