A CIVIL servant has been honoured after swapping his desk job in Portsmouth for one in the middle of a military base in Afghanistan.
Jerry Gawthorpe, 52, from Havant, is a management accountant at Portsmouth Naval Base.
But for the last six months he has been working as the only civilian at the Kandahar-based Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team.
Now he has been awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal in recognition of the hard work he carried out as a finance manager during his secondment in the warzone.
Mr Gawthorpe said: ‘It was a demanding role in tough conditions but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
‘The heat and dust often made life difficult and it took a while to adjust, being the only civilian in the headquarters, but they were a great team and I have the utmost respect for them.’
Mr Gawthorpe praised his wife Melanie and 13-year-old daughter Rebekah for supporting him from afar during his deployment.
He added: ‘The medal is a recognition of their support – I had a team around me for six months but my family were left to cope on their own.’
The Kandahar-based operation provides support and advice for 45 military personnel in areas such as financial forecasting, commercial and contracting policy, governance, audit and financial delegations.
The citation for Mr Gawthorpe’s award read: ‘Demonstrating his ability to think on his feet and work under pressure, on several occasions he came up with the means of providing short-notice financial support to high-profile taskings, allowing the team to react in an efficient and timely fashion.’
Mr Gawthorpe received the medal from Vice Admiral Andrew Mathews, the Royal Navy’s Chief of Materiel (Fleet), at a ceremony in the naval base.
The CoM(F) is responsible for the availability of navy ships and submarines.
He also oversees support to the fleet.
Mr Gawthorpe returned to the UK last month and will carry on with his job as a management accountant at the naval base in January.