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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Iraq war colonel awarded OBE
Tim Collins
Colonel Tim Collins won praise for his speech to troops
An Army colonel who earned worldwide fame for a speech to his troops on the eve of the Iraq War has received an OBE at Buckingham Palace.

Belfast-born Colonel Tim Collins collected the honour on Wednesday from the Prince of Wales for actions described as "immense and selfless".

Colonel Collins, 43, was widely praised when he told his soldiers: "If you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory."

His is one of 350 honours for those involved in the conflict, including one George Cross.

Speaking after the ceremony, Colonel Collins said the speech was inspired by years of experience in the Army.

Tim Collins facts
Colonel Collins pictured after receiving his OBE
Born in Belfast in 1960
Had ambitions to be a "great soldier" from an early age
Studied at Queen's University, Belfast
Trained at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst
Married with four sons and a daughter

"Our soldiers require their leaders to explain to them why they are going into conflict, and that's simply what I was doing," he said.

"It's an interesting reflection on modern times: because the speech was written down by a journalist in shorthand, only one version exists.

"There's no recording or film of it, so it can't be corrupted or changed, and that's what has given it longevity."

The speech earned him lavish praise at the time from Prince Charles and was admired by US President George W Bush.

It was said that the president even had a copy of the speech tacked up on the wall of the Oval Office.

The honour comes after a difficult period for Colonel Collins, who commanded the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment.

Last September, he was found not guilty of war crimes allegations during the war, following a Ministry of Defence investigation.

He was awarded substantial undisclosed libel damages in the High Court in Belfast on Friday, against two newspapers that made allegations about his conduct during the Iraq war.




SEE ALSO:
Colonel wins libel damages
02 Apr 04  |  Northern Ireland
Iraq War colonel quits Army
11 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland
Profile: Colonel Tim Collins
23 May 03  |  Northern Ireland


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