Sailor john lands medal from Queen

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A Falkirk sailor has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his work in Afghanistan.

John Laird (43), a Royal Navy Warrant Officer, received a Meritorious Service Medal for his valuable contribution to the armed service.

John, who works as a Naval Environmental Health Officer at HM Naval Base Clyde, picked up his medal in front of proud wife Angela and sons Euan (14) and Cameron (12), both pupils at Falkirk High School.

He was nominated for the prestigious award from colleagues in recognition of his contribution to reducing disease and non-battle injuries while deployed.

It is only given to those with at least 20 years of valuable service under their belts and who also have long service and good conduct medals.

John, a former Denny High pupil, joined the Royal Navy in 1987 as a medical technician before going on to study environmental health.

He has served in Sierra Leone and more recently in Afghanistan where he worked with NATO in medical intelligence.

He told The Falkirk Herald: “That was an especially memorable posting.

“One of my additional duties was the coordination of the medical evacuation of casualties to Camp Bastion and Kandahar.

‘‘I felt really valued and respected in this job, working as part of a multi-
national team of British, Canadian, American and Dutch medical services personnel.”


The medal of a local war hero who fought in the Charge of the Light Brigade has failed to sell at auction.

James Watson of Falkirk served with the 13th Light Dragoons in 1851 when he was around 19 years old.

He enlisted in December 1850, but was killed in the famous Crimean War battle with Russian forces on October 25, 1854.

It was thought the medal would fetch between £12,000 to £15,000 at Baldwin’s auction house in London, especially as it was worn by the soldier during the Charge and sold for £5200 in 2002.

However, along with a host of other military medals, no buyer was found.

Auction manager Matt Curtis said: “This is a really specialist piece, but there could be several reasons why it didn’t sell.

“It was up for auction by a private seller and it’s likely we will sell it at a later


The infamous infantry charge was led by Lord Cardigan during the Battle of Balaklava when a high number of British soldiers were killed and injured due to a miscommunication.

The Light Brigade was supposed to pursue a retreating Russian artillery battery but, armed only with sabres, they were instead sent into an assault on the ‘Valley of Death’ where enemy soldiers were armed with guns.

The charge has since been called “suicidal” after 247 men of the 637 were killed or wounded.