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Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 15:16 GMT
Queen honours brave pilots
Harriers taking off
Harriers were used in Nato's Kosovo campaign
The Queen has honoured 11 officers for their roles in the recent Gulf and Kosovo conflicts.

The nine RAF pilots, a navigator and an Army officer, were rewarded for gallantry that involved them risking their lives and displaying outstanding leadership while on active service.

They served during last year's Nato campaign over Serbia and Operation Desert Fox against Iraq in 1998-99.

In the largest number of gallantry awards received in one day since World War II, the officers collected Distinguished Service Orders or Distinguished Flying Crosses at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Andrew Golledge and Timothy Anderson
Wing Commanders Andrew Golledge and Timothy Anderson will receive the DSO
The group included pilots of the Harrier GR7 and Tornado GR1 fighter-bomber strike forces, the TriStar air-to-air refuelling force, and Chinook helicopters.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns, said: "The RAF is greatly honoured by Her Majesty agreeing to recognise in this way the splendid achievements of RAF aircrew involved in the recent operations over Kosovo and Iraq."

Among those invested by the Queen was Wing Commander Timothy Anderson, who received the DSO after successfully commanding 14 Squadron during the Nato air campaign in Kosovo.

"I'm immensely proud - but this in an award for all the people serving under me," said the 43-year-old from Belfast.

'Strong defences'

As well as co-ordinating aircraft resources, communications and training throughout the campaign, Wing Commander Anderson flew seven sorties - the second-highest number - each lasting about seven-and-a-half hours.

Wing Commander Andrew Golledge, 41, who also received a DSO, commanded the British Harrier jump-jet force in Kosovo.

"None of us knew what we were flying into but we did know that the Serb defences were strong," he said.

"It wasn't a particularly nice experience but I'm glad to have been a part of it."

Distinguished Flying Cross
Just 600 DFCs have been awarded since WWII
The other officers to be honoured are: Tornado pilots Wing Commander Stephen Barnes, Wing Commander Stephen Hillier and navigator Squadron Leader Simon Rochelle; Harrier pilots Squadron Leader Christopher Huckstep and Squadron Leader Martin Ball; TriStar air-to-air refuelling pilot Squadron Leader Stuart Mitchell and Chinook helicopter pilot Squadron Leader Jonathan Burr. All have been awarded the DFC.

A further DFC recipient has asked to remain anonymous.

Originating in 1886, the Distinguished Service Order pre-dates the formation of the RAF in 1918.

It is awarded to military officers for leadership and gallantry on active operations and is a rarity in the RAF.

The Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for acts of gallantry in the air on operations, originated in 1918.

A total of 20,350 DFCs were awarded during WWII, but only about 600 have been presented since then.

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07 Apr 99 |  Kosovo
How to rescue a pilot
21 Apr 99 |  UK
Home of the Harrier
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