Troops gather at Merville Barracks to receive medals following medical operation in South Sudan
PUBLISHED: 14:05 22 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:16 22 September 2017
Airborne medics who contributed to a United Nations (UN) mission in South Sudan have been presented with medals in recognition of their work.
The troops gathered at Merville Barracks, in Colchester, earlier today where 48 of them from 16 Medical Regiment received the honour.
Presenting the medals during the parade was Lieutenant General Lewis Lillywhite, Master General of the Army Medical Services, who also took time to hear about each medic’s story.
Sergeant Kim Yeomans, who spent four months on Operation Trenton, said: “It’s good to be back and have some recognition for what we’ve done out there.
“Conditions were pretty horrible. It was really nice to get back home and feel like you were back in civilisation.”
To get a medal, troops had to have spent at least 90 days on the operation which saw 16 Air Assault Brigade establish and run a temporary British field hospital to support UN workers.
Major Chris Kemp said: “Deployment to Sudan is a long deployment and it’s far away from anywhere. The country is almost as third world as you can get.”
He added: “It think the troops have done a tremendous job.
“It’s a tough environment and something completely different and I think they are probably feeling their worth today having come back because it’s been a long-running task and there are a lot of delays with going out to South Sudan, but we managed to bear the brunt of that so the people who take over our position don’t have that uncertainty.”
The task was one of the UK’s largest operational deployments, and one which Lieutenant General Lillywhite called “trailblazing” in his address to the troops.
The field hospital is run by more than 75 medical staff, including specialists in areas of infectious diseases, intensive care and surgery.
Its facilities include an emergency department, theatre, laboratory, an x-ray and head CT scanner, plus an isolation ward for those with highly-infectious conditions.
Lieutenant General Lillywhite said: “I also work for Chatham House in global health so I hear from independent channels about how the British are doing.
“There is no doubt that the deployment has raised the status of the British medical services and the British Army as a consequence of how they were deployed and held themselves on the operation.”