Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland soldier decorated by Camilla during visit to base

By Ben Mitchell

The Duchess of Cornwall has presented a Northern Ireland soldier with a medal as she met families of soldiers currently deployed in Iraq.

Camilla visited Normandy Barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire, where she placed a posy on the 4 Rifles Memorial Wall, which includes the names of those killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Warrant Officer Richard Brown (46) from Lisburn was presented with his Meritorious Service Medal by the Duchess.

This is a silver medal awarded for distinguished service or gallantry.

He said: "It's great for morale to have a visit from the royal colonel, she likes to be part of the regimental family and the battalion in particular."

Earlier, the Duchess was welcomed with a fanfare by buglers before attending a reception in the Sergeants' Mess with families, soldiers, battalion veterans and injured servicemen.

She also presented five long-service medals and a meritorious service medal to serving Riflemen before signing a visitors' book.

The 4th Battalion the Rifles (4 Rifles), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Carl Boswell, currently has 250 Riflemen based at Al Asad Air Base, 100 miles west of Baghdad, providing training support to the Iraqi army.

The Duchess wished everyone a happy Christmas and said: "What a pleasure it has been to come to these new barracks, everyone seems to be very settled here.

"The partners of those serving abroad are doing a great job of supporting each other."

Joanna Metcalf attended with her daughters Ruby (11) and Florence (4). Her husband, Sergeant Major Stephen Metcalf, is on deployment in Iraq.

The 36-year-old from Church Crookham, Hampshire, said: "It was really nice to meet the Duchess, it's nice to know that people do support us and it's nice for the children to meet someone important as it gives them an idea of the importance of their father's role."

Belfast Telegraph


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