Medal for part time Burrington TA soldier
AN office administrator and Territorial Army soldier from Burrington has received the Afghanistan Operational Service Medal. Private Joanne Page, aged 23, achieved one of her great ambitions when she was sent to Afghanistan earlier this year to work as a
AN office administrator and Territorial Army soldier from Burrington has received the Afghanistan Operational Service Medal.
Private Joanne Page, aged 23, achieved one of her great ambitions when she was sent to Afghanistan earlier this year to work as a clerk attached to the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment.
Soldiers from the Royal Wessex Yeomanry's Barnstaple-based Squadron were presented with a number of awards during ceremonies at Ugbrooke Park in Chudleigh.
"The one reason I joined the TA in October 2006 was that I wanted to experience operational service - to serve Queen and country, if you like," explained Joanne, who works for Troy (UK) Ltd.
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"At one time, I thought about joining the regulars. But, because I enjoyed my civilian job so much, service as a reservist proved to be the perfect alternative.
"I am fortunate my employers have been very supportive. When my post-tour leave is completed, I will be going back to my old job."
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Joanne, a former pupil of Chulmleigh School, experienced very mixed emotions during her time in Afghanistan - 2 Para provided the main battle group in action against the Taliban and some of her friends were among the casualties.
But there were also lighter moments: "I had my birthday out there and the canteen baked me a surprise cake, which was really nice," she said.
"I also appreciated so much the cards and regular messages from friends and colleagues in the TA - my second 'family' back home."
Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, Honorary Colonel of D (Royal Devon Yeomanry) Squadron, presented Joanne with her medal.
He said: "Many in this country do not appreciate how much we rely on people like you to give up their time in order to help maintain standards of defence and peace throughout the world - often in places where exceptional risk is involved."
Staff Sergeant Darren Fallowfield, who lives in Braunton, also received a long service and good conduct medal after completing 22 years in the regular Army.
Apart from a period of service in Iraq, the 41-year-old has worked as a permanent staff instructor at D Squadron's Barnstaple base for the past six years. He recently enrolled in the TA and has now become a troop leader with the squadron.