Queen recognises dedication of Wigan army officer with prestigious medal

A Wigan army officer who has spent nearly 30 years serving Queen and country has been given the royal seal of approval.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 10:06 am

Lee Arnold, from Ashton, was named as the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal in the Queen’s birthday honour’s list, recognising his long and dedicated service.

He has now been given the medal in Malaysia, where he is currently based with the British Army.

Recalling when she heard the news, Lee’s mum Julie Arnold said: “He phoned one day and said he couldn’t believe it. His boss at that time in Kuala Lumpur had put him forward for it. He couldn’t believe it, he was elated. We are all very proud of him.”

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Lee Arnold and wife Roseann with the medal

Lee knew he wanted to join the Royal Air Force when he left Cansfield High School in 1992 and signed up when he was 17. But just five years later he was made redundant.

Mrs Arnold said: “He was heartbroken, but he transferred across to the army and he has never looked back. His career went from strength to strength and he has worked hard.”

During his career, Lee has spent a lot of time overseas, including in Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.

He worked his way through the ranks and is now a warrant officer class two (WO2) and works as an assistant defence advisor with the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

Lee, 45, has been based there for four years and will be moving to Turkey in November to begin a new post.

While he would usually have been presented with the Meritorious Service Medal by the Queen or Prince Charles at Sandhurst, that was not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, he was given the award in Penang, Malaysia, by Air Vice-Marshal Geoffrey Harland from the Royal Australian Air Force on behalf of the British Army, watched by his wife of 16 years, Roseann.

His proud mum said: “It was all he ever wanted to do. He knuckled down and he’s got to where he has through sheer hard work. It’s unbelievable how he has come through to where he is today.”

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