Military Cross, EIIR, dated 2008, Operational Service Medal, bar Afghanistan, 2012 Diamond Jubilee Medal, NATO Medal for Afghanistan, bar ISAF, Pte Aaron Stuart Holmes, Mercian Regiment, Worcester and Sherwood Forester’s Regiment.
A stunning Military Cross for Operation Herrick 2007, when his regiment was doing a 7 month tour of duty in Helmand province form June to September 2007 with 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment.
A shortened citation reads;
“Holmes personally neutralised a large number of the enemy and protected a fallen comrade by placing himself in the Killing Zone between the casualty and the enemy. He gave covering fire and refused to leave until another fire team recovered the casualty. Holmes’ courageous performance was significantly above that expected of a private soldier.”
Military Cross announced in the London Gazette, 7th March 2008, dated on reverse: 2008 and officially engraved on reverse: “25218279 PTE A S HOLMES MERCIAN”
OSM Afghanistan officially laser engraved: “2521879 PTE A S HOLMES WFR”
Medals are court mounted, apart from the ISAF medal which is loose as not officially allowed to be worn.
Some great photos were taken during the campaign by Andrew Parsons, and are available to view on various website:
With various photographs including colour photo receiving the MC from the Queen, his original Booklet and CD “The Investitures, Path of Honour.”, also large Citation presented by the Citizens of the West Midlands on Trafalgar Day, 21st October 2008.
Pte Holmes was invested with the Military Cross personally by the Queen,
Aaron Stuart Holmes was only 19 years old at the time, he had begun his Army Service at the age of 18 on 25th January 2006 having joined the local Worcester and Sherwood Foresters Regiment part of the Mercian Regiment when he was living in Netherton having grown up in Weybridge. He went on to served 8 years until 30th June 2014.
In an interview he says “I joined the Army for some excitement and was not disappointed in Afghanistan.”
One day whilst his unit was patrolling along the Helmand River, in the Green Zone of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, they were suddenly subject to an ambush by Taliban fighters, He along side Guardsman Hickey and Corpl Buzzard were pinned down by enemy fire in a ditch.
He begins his interview saying: “We walked into an Ambush, it started in the morning when we were taking a compound.”
“It was an enemy ambush, everyone ran for cover.” “There was me, Guardsman Daryl Hickey and Corporal Buzzard. We got stuck in a ditch together but the rest of the section made it into the compound still taking incoming enemy fire.”
Holmes was the designated Machine Gunner of his Fireteam and was armed with a belt fed Light Machine Gun, during the engagement he personally neutralised a large number of enemy, suddenly during the engagement one of his men was wounded.
Holmes adds: “Then Hickey got shot, he was behind me.”
This was when Holmes placed himself in the “Killing Zone” between the fire from the enemy and his wounded comrade, showing disregard for his safety, he fired back and personally neutralised a large number of the enemy, his fire allowed Corporal Buzzard to flank around the back of the compound when his Light Machine Gun finally gave out.
Holmes adds: “Buzzard managed to get round the back of the compound. Then my Light Machine Gun gave up so I crawled forwards to get a rifle which another soldier had dropped.”
“Then I ran out of ammo, so I called back to Hickey who was dead by then.”
Holmes had refused to leave, requesting another Fire team to come and help recover the casualty. After Hickey died, he still refused to leave a man behind and took matters into his own hands, he picked him up and carried him by himself whilst still firing back at the Taliban.
Holmes: “I grabbed him and fired at the Taliban, I got him into the stream and got him out.”
Following getting his comrade to safety, the fight was not over, he immediately went back into action adding: “We went back in to take the rest of it and we did.”