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EDITIONS
Monday, 31 December, 2001, 03:13 GMT
Honours for British staff in NY
Steel workers in the rubble of the World Trade Center
British Consulate staff tried to find next-of-kin
Dealing with inquiries from anxious relatives of Britons one of the agonising tasks of British consular staff in New York in the days following the 11 September attacks.

Now their "exceptional work" has been recognised in the New Year's honours.


Some of the staff are receiving awards for the exceptional work they did post-September 11

Downing Street

A number of CBEs and OBEs were awarded to members of the British Consulate-General, while Consul-General Tom Harris received a knighthood.

In the aftermath of attacks on the Twin Towers, in which dozens of Britons perished, the British consulate was a first port of call for desperate families trying to learn if their loved ones had been caught up in the tragedy.

A co-ordinating team of 30 consular staff, 20 British police officers and 10 counsellors was deployed in New York.

Sir Tom Harris
Consul-General Tom Harris received a knighthood

Their duties included the harrowing and near-impossible task of ascertaining who was and who was not in the buildings when they fell and then notifying the next-of-kin.

Just five days after the attacks, the consul-general, now Sir Thomas, told BBC News: "The staff are having to deal with some very distressed people and that is not easy.

"But there's a determination by everybody to do whatever they can to help, whether it's Britons in need here in New York, or stranded because they can't get out, or British people around the world who are desperately anxious for news."

A Downing Street spokesman said on Monday that Sir Thomas would have been awarded his knighthood in any event and that "some of the staff are receiving awards for the exceptional work they did post-September 11".

Those honoured are:

  • Thomas George Harris, HM Consul-General (knighthood)
  • Duncan John Rushworth Taylor, Deputy Head of Mission (CBE)
  • Howard Ronald Drake, Director of Investment (OBE)
  • Patrick Eldred Owens, HM Consul (OBE)
  • Ian Robert Gibbons, Consul (MBE)
  • Ian Baines, Vice-Consul (MBE)
  • Kara Frasse, personal assistant (MBE)
  • Megan McDowell, Pro-Consul (MBE).

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