The Queen today visited Defence Business Services (DBS) and the Headquarters of NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) at Imjin Barracks, Gloucester. During her visit to Innsworth House on the base, Her Majesty also opened a new briefing room at the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) and MOD Medal Office (MODMO).
The Queen was given a tour of MODMO which assesses, engraves and issues awards of all UK military and selected civilian medals to serving personnel, veterans and their next of kin. The Queen was introduced to staff who prepare and engrave medals and honours for despatch to recipients across the UK and worldwide.
Medals are issued in recognition of current Armed Forces service and for past service dating back to the start of the Second World War. Awards for The Queen’s New Year and Birthday Honours Lists and the twice yearly Operational Honours lists are also engraved at the facility before being sent to the Central Chancery for Investitures. During her tour, Her Majesty accepted an invitation to engrave a medal using one of the office’s laser engraving machines.
MODMO Chief Engraver Barry Thomson said:
It’s a great privilege to be introduced to Her Majesty and to show her what we do in the Medal Office workshop. She was very interested in how the engraving machine works.
MODMO also issues the Elizabeth Cross to the next of kin of Armed Forces personnel who died on operations or are killed by acts of terrorism. The Queen was introduced to relatives of Lance Corporal James Brynin who was killed on operations in the Nahr-e-Sarah area of Afghanistan on 15 October 2013.
The Queen also toured the JCCC, MOD’s permanently manned operational centre for casualty administration, the notifying of a casualty’s next of kin and requests for overseas compassionate travel for members of the British Armed Forces serving overseas, anywhere in the world. Here she met two serving personnel who were helped by JCCC.
Her Majesty met the team who assist bereaved families deal with the administrative challenges following a death, such as wills, and visited the Commemorations team that manages the delicate process of caring for, identifying and finally laying to rest the human remains of fallen heroes from previous campaigns from as far back as WW1. If at all possible, the team also traces the surviving family members of the deceased.
Tracey Bowers from the JCCC Commemorations Team said:
It is very humbling to show Her Majesty the good work we do for our service personnel and their families, and what we do to honour those who have given their life in service of our country.
Sue Raftree, also of the commemorations team, added:
It has been amazing, the culmination of a great deal of effort and preparation. Meeting Her Majesty was made even more poignant through her own personal connection to the work we do.
The Queen was then invited to officially open the MODMO and JCCC’s new briefing room at Innsworth House, where she unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion. The room will be used to brief service personnel on the actions they need to take before overseas deployments to help JCCC support their families in the event of an incident. It also hosts a display of British medals dating back to the Battle of Waterloo that will help raise awareness of DBS’s medals work with local schools and community groups.
Head of JCCC and MOD Medal Office Nikki Halford said:
We are very grateful that we’ve been given the honour of showing Her Majesty the work of the MOD Medal Office and the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre. We were delighted that she was able to open our new briefing room that will be used to help our Armed Forces as well as schools and other community groups.
Head of DBS Military Personnel Services Commodore Ian Bisson added:
This is truly an honour and the highest recognition for all the work we do not only for current serving members of the British Armed Forces and their families but also for those who have laid down their lives in service of our country.
The Queen continued on to visit the headquarters of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, or ARRC as it is known, which is also based at Imjin Barracks.
Her Majesty greeted ARRC personnel and their families before joining DBS and ARRC personnel for lunch at the ARRC officer’s mess.
The Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, Lt General Tim Evans CBE DSO, said:
It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to host Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Imjin Barracks today and we are very grateful to the Lord Lieutenant, Dame Janet Trotter, for giving us this opportunity. During her visit to the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps she met the senior national representatives of the twenty countries represented in the HQ and had lunch with the senior leadership. She also had the chance to meet some of our families, a number of local school children with their teachers and charity workers who have supported the local community. Today’s visit was a real highlight of the year and one we will remember with great affection.