Buckingham Palace has just announced that Angelina Jolie is to be made an honorary Dame (the female equivalent of a Knight). But did you know that these famous American faces have also been honoured by Her Majesty? Click through!
Seventy years ago today Allied Forces embarked on one of the most significant battles of World War Two. The Normandy Landings was the largest seaborne invasion in history. After aerial and sea bombardment British, US and Canadian troops landed on the beaches to mark the start of the invasion.
Today British and US troops are working side by side again on operations in Afghanistan. At the Regional Corps Battle School, where soldiers from the Afghan National Army carry out infantry training, Major Ed O’Brien, Scots Dragoon Guards, works closely with US forces helping to develop the Afghan Army.
He also has a personal link to the D-Day landings as his Grandfather, Rodercik ‘Roddy’ Norris, an officer in 13/18 Royal Hussars landed on Queen beach with his tank troop 40 minutes after the first landing craft.
After fighting on D-Day, he commanded his DD Sherman Tank Troop through the entire Normandy campaign, including the battle of Mont Pincon. Mont Pincon is a battle honour of the 13/18 Royal Hussars and was a key point in the campaign, For this he was awarded the French military medal for gallantry, the Croix De Guerre with Silver Star, for his actions on that day.
Major O’Brien said:
A few years ago I went back to Normandy with him, about two years before he died actually. It was fascinating going round and seeing, you know we were literally driving through villages, and he went ‘I remember this… we came up here… there was a German Panzer at the end of the street’. It was just incredible.
Roderick fought through the Normandy campaign and throughout the remainder of the war. In 1945 he was the second ever British Armoured Squadron Leader in the Berlin Armoured Brigade. He left the Army shortly after the war.
Roderick inspired his grandson to join the Army. Following in his Grandfather’s footsteps Major O’Brien joined the Scots Dragoon Guards and commanded a troop of CR2 tanks in the invasion of Iraq in 2003: “As a child I always greatly admired my grandfather, and looked up to him. He was definitely one of the influential figures of my childhood. What he taught me was that the Army was all about sense of duty, it was about looking after your soldiers, and finally about fun and camaraderie. All those things really appealed to me.”
[Images: Top - recreation of a photo of Roderick from World War Two in Afghanistan with Major O’Brien standing by an American MRAP vehicle used on operations in Afghanistan. Bottom - Original photo from World War Two. Crown copyright]
(via British Army on Facebook)
Love is GREAT: UK to promote equality at Pride events across US
The British Embassy Washington and several British consulates general across the US will participate in ‘Love is GREAT’ themed events in support of the UK’s commitment to LGBT rights.
For the second year, the British Embassy in Washington will participate in the Capital Pride Parade on 7 June, a celebration of the local and national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and those that support it. After the parade the embassy will host a post-parade celebration at The Brixton from 7pm. All are welcome to join!
Several British consulates general in the US, including New York, Houston and Atlanta will also be participating in ‘Love is GREAT’ themed Pride Parades this year. The British Consulate General New York and UK Mission to the UN plan to lead a float through the famed NYC Pride, and will also host a Pride-themed pub night. The consulate and staff in Houston will join the city’s annual Pride parade for the first time, which is led by Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major US city. In Atlanta Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford will drive a British vehicle through the city’s parade.
The UK government supports that human rights are universal and should be equal for all and works toward promoting and protecting LGBT rights in the UK and internationally.
British reservists have been conducting joint parachute training alongside their US counterparts on Exercise Airdrop Warrior.
Approximately 100 soldiers, both British and American, started the exercise by jumping into action from 3 Hercules transport planes. Once safely on the ground, the troops transitioned straight into a tactical scenario to practise their battlefield skills and drills.
Exercise Airdrop Warrior is a key training opportunity for the reservist units to hone their skills as part of the army’s very-high readiness formation, the Air Assault Task Force (AATF).
The Invictus Games, inspired by Prince Harry’s visit to the 2013 American Warrior Games, will bring teams from 13 nations to London from Sept. 10 – 14. The event is designed to use the power of sports to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider public understanding of the incredible grit, determination, perseverance and contagious positive attitudes of the world’s Warriors.
At the British Embassy, the British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Peter Westmacott, hosted 20 of America’s wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans who will shortly participate in the Invictus Games, to be hosted in the UK later this year. The reception, attended by athletes and those who are an integral part of supporting the athletes on their road to these international games, was an expression of the camaraderie both nations share on and off the battle field.