Queen’s award for top marine on Sudan job

HONOUR Maj Grant Abbott
HONOUR Maj Grant Abbott
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A ROYAL Marine who worked tirelessly on a mission in Sudan and saved the life of a colonel has been awarded a commendation by the Queen.

Major Grant Abbott, from Lee-on-the-Solent, was the operations officer in the headquarters of the United Nations mission in South Sudan.

The 38-year-old has been praised for his efforts in a place that suffers from heat, disease, soaring crime rates, and a vicious insurgency.

He has now been awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS).

Maj Abbott said: ‘I am honoured to be presented with the QCVS, especially on the year that marks the 350th birthday of the Royal Marine Corps.

‘During my time I have seen the Afghanistan campaign from start to finish and also been involved in the corps’ actions across the rest of the world.

‘I am proud to be part of such an elite fighting force.’

Maj Abbott also helped save the life of a retired Lieutenant Colonel who collapsed towards the end of an official reception.

The Royal Marine gave cardiac massage, and stayed with the patient until the ambulance arrived.

His citation said: ‘It is very likely that had Maj Abbott not acted with such speed and professionalism the individual would not have survived.’

Maj Abbott’s dedication to his work was such that he spent three days in a Cambodian hospital after collapsing from exhaustion and stress.

But as soon as he was released he was back behind his desk.

Maj Abbott said: ‘It was a hard tour for me. As the operations officer you accept it will be busy, but for me it felt like it never stopped.

‘It was a very diverse job. For example, when I arrived there had been a helicopter shot down, a plane crash, and a massacre to deal with, so I knew it wasn’t going to be simple.

‘Going outside to speak to the rebels was not a comfortable experience. The risk of being killed or kidnapped was high and there was a lot of mistrust on both sides.’

The Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service recognises meritorious service during or in support of operations.

The holder is entitled to wear the emblem of silver oak leaves which is worn on the ribbon of the appropriate campaign medal.