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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March 2005, 01:30 GMT
Honours for Black Watch soldiers
Lt Col James Cowan with soldiers of the Black Watch
Lt Col James Cowan congratulates his men
Twelve soldiers from the Black Watch have been decorated for their outstanding service in Iraq.

The awards were for service during the regiment's posting in Basra and the mission to secure Falluja.

All awards were military apart from an OBE for the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel James Cowan.

He said he was confident the Wiltshire-based Black Watch would serve for years to come regardless of planned amalgamation of Scottish regiments.

Lt Col Cowan said: "Almost any one of them (the Black Watch soldiers) could have been here today."

BLACK WATCH HONOURS
Lieutenant Colonel James Cowan. OBE
Private Jonetani Matia Lawaci, 29, Suva, Fiji. Queen's Medal for Gallantry
Sergeant Major David "Harry" Hood, 35, Dunfermline, Fife. Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
Lance Corporal Steven Leslie, 23, Dundee. Queen's Commendation for Bravery
Lance Corporal Lisa Newburn, 22, from Derby. Mentioned in dispatches
Corporal Peter "Pedro" Laing, 31, Fife. Queen's Gallantry Medal
Private Damien Currie, 19, Fife. Queen's Medal for Gallantry
Major Robin Lindsay, 33, Fife. Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
Staff Sergeant Richard Ward, 33, Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire. Mentioned in dispatches
Lieutenant Richard Holmes, 26, Stanley, Perthshire. Mentioned in dispatches
Corporal Michael Ross, 26, Orkney. Mentioned in dispatches
Lieutenant Nick Colquhoun, 26, Isle of Skye. Mentioned in dispatches

The regiment served in Basra from June to November and then under the command of the US Marines at Camp Dogwood, northern Iraq, from November until December.

They later returned to their base, Battlesbury Barracks at Warminster.

Private Jonetani Matia Lawaci, 29, from Suva, Fiji, was given the Queen's Medal for Gallantry for diving into a river and rescuing three fellow soldiers.

Sergeant Major David "Harry" Hood, 35, from Dunfermline, Fife, received the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for "consistently excelling" in his leadership of the Black Watch's Delta Company throughout the tour.

The Queen's Commendation for Bravery was given to Lance Corporal Steven Leslie, 23, from Dundee, for rescuing Sergeant Kevin Stacey from a transporter after it was hit by a roadside bomb in Basra. Pte Marc Ferns died in this incident.

The only woman honoured, Lance Corporal Lisa Newburn, 22, from Derby, was mentioned in dispatches for providing life-saving first aid to colleagues after Bravo Company came under attack at Al Amarah and following another similar incident in North Babil.

Corporal Peter "Pedro" Laing, 31, from Fife, received a Queen's Gallantry Medal for tending to wounded fellow soldiers after a suicide bomb attack despite suffering significant injuries to his head and eye.

The whole experience was a testing one and all the ranks of the Black Watch drew together
Lieutenant Colonel James Cowan

Private Damien Currie, 19, from Fife, received the Queen's Medal for Gallantry after he was first on the scene to administer first aid to injured colleagues following a suicide bomb attack in North Babil.

Major Robin Lindsay, 33, from Fife, was given the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for outstanding leadership during a series of insurgent attacks in North Babil.

Staff Sergeant Richard Ward, 33, from Swansea, South Wales, was mentioned in dispatches for recovering two damaged Warrior transporters while under fire and at night.

Lieutenant Richard Holmes, 26, from Stanley, Perthshire, was mentioned in dispatches for bravery and leadership under fire during a 10-day period of heavy enemy engagement in Basra.

Corp Peter Lang, L/Cpl Steven Leslie and Pte Jonetani Matia Lawaci
The soldiers received their citations at the Black Watch barracks

Corporal Michael Ross, 26, from Orkney, was mentioned in dispatches for showing bravery following two improvised explosive attacks in North Babil.

Also mentioned in dispatches was Lieutenant Nick Colquhoun, 26, from the Isle of Skye, for showing leadership "well beyond that expected of someone of his rank and experience".

In a statement Lt Col Cowan said that when posted at Dogwood, a five-week period in which five soldiers were killed, the Black Watch was "at the limits of a single battalion's capabilities".

He added: "The whole experience was a testing one and all the ranks of the Black Watch drew together in adversity and came through the stronger for it.

"The deployment had a certain surreal quality. As a regiment that had never sought the limelight, the Black Watch emerged blinking into the glare of public scrutiny.

"We now look forward to prolonged but less public service to Crown and country."


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