Queen honours navy lawyer for Afghan role

Commander Joe Turner
Commander Joe Turner
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THE Queen has honoured a Royal Navy lawyer who spent six months in Afghanistan advising senior military commanders and troops fighting on the front line.

Commander Joe Turner, was based at the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command on the outskirts of Kabul, where he advised the armed forces on international law, including the law of armed conflict relating to combat operations in Afghanistan.

A market in Kabul

A market in Kabul

The 44-year-old’s service in the warzone has been recognised with the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.

Cdr Turner, who lives in Fishbourne with his three children and wife Lorna, said: ‘I’m very pleased to have the award but would pay tribute, above all, to those who were much more in harm’s way – especially those killed or injured whilst I was out there.

‘I worked in a large multi-national HQ which was a very far cry – geographically and in terms of the threat – from those on the front line, but my aim throughout was simply to enable them to do as much as possible within the law in pressing the fight to the enemy.’

Cdr Turner paid tribute to his wife for her ‘fantastic good humour, support and for looking after the kids so well single-handedly while I was away’.

The lawyer, who has been in the navy for 25 years, served in the Gulf as a legal advisor during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is based in the navy command headquarters in Portsmouth, where he is the fleet legal adviser.

His job sees him consult senior commanders, ships, submarines, aircraft squadrons and Royal Marine units on a wide range of legal issues such as the law on what they can do on operations, discipline within the ranks, employment law, administrative matters and investigations into wrongdoing.

There are currently 30 lawyers serving and training in the navy.

All are selected from within naval ranks, with almost all starting out as logistics officers on ships and submarines.

After a period in general service at sea, they spend around three years training and studying alongside civilian would-be lawyers to qualify as barristers before rejoining the navy.