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Honour for Suffolk sailor

PUBLISHED: 16:58 08 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

A SUFFOLK born sailor was one of up to 350 servicemen involved in the Iraqi conflict who were awarded honours at Buckingham Palace.

The recipients including Commandore Alan Massey were handed their awards yesterdayby the Prince of Wales of the Queen who is on a state visit to France.

A SUFFOLK born sailor was one of up to 350 servicemen involved in the Iraqi conflict who were awarded honours at Buckingham Palace.

The recipients including Commandore Alan Massey were handed their awards yesterdayby the Prince of Wales of the Queen who is on a state visit to France.

Commodore Massey who was born in Ipswich was captain of the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and received a CBE.

"It was an honour to command a ship and its crew who did everything that was asked of them,' he said.

Commodore Massey went to Northgate High School in Ipswich and has commanded five ships as well as the Royal Navy's aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, including HMS Illustrious in December 2001 at the mid point of its deployment in support of coalition operations in Afghanistan.

Iraq War commander Tim Collins, famous for his stirring eve-of-battle oration, fired a final salvo as he bowed out of the army.

In a bitter-sweet ceremony at the Palace, Colonel Collins collected an OBE from the Prince of Wales.

But his pride was mixed with an apparent sorrow as he marked his last day in uniform with combative words for those who wrongly accused him of war crimes.

"I am a private individual fighting battles alone much sooner than I expected," he said.

"It is for others to reflect on whether they behaved honourably towards me. I am saying no more than that.'

An army investigation last September cleared Col Collins, 43, of allegedly mistreating Iraqi prisoners of war.

At the Palace investiture, he declined to say whether the false charges led him to resign his commission.

But the Belfast-born commanding officer, who urged his troops to be "ferocious in battle yet magnanimous in victory", remained characteristically robust.

"I volunteered to retire," he said. "It seemed a natural break-point in my career."

He later won substantial undisclosed libel damages against two newspapers.

On the first anniversary of the fall of Basra, liberated by British troops, tank commander Brigadier Graham Binns received the Distinguished Service Order.

Major General Robin Brims also received the Distinguished Service Order.

"Our troops were magnificent,' he said.


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