Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Soldier honoured by Prince Charles only five days after his wedding

THE mother of a soldier has told how he received a service medal from Prince Charles just days after getting

THE mother of a soldier has told how he received a service medal from Prince Charles just days after getting married.

Captain Tom Brunwin, 31, an Apache helicopter pilot with 3 Regiment Army Corps, had proposed to his girlfriend the day before being sent to Afghanistan alongside Prince Harry.

He then left the wedding arrangements to his fiancée Jo Bagshaw while he was on the front line.

The couple were finally married on the Saturday before last but instead of flying off on their honeymoon to Zambia straightaway they waited five days so Capt Brunwin could receive his medal.

His parents, Malcolm, a Henley solicitor, and Liz, an office manager, from Kingwood, were proud to attend both ceremonies.

The wedding took place at Bildetson parish church, near Wattisham in Suffolk, near the couple’s home.

The Rev Graham Foulis Brown, rector of All Saints’ Church in Peppard, helped conduct the service and he made a joke about how long it had taken Capt Brunwin to propose.

Mrs Brunwin explained: “Tom does like to think things through. They had been together for eight years and we kept wondering whether it was going to happen.

“They went on holiday together to South Africa after Tom’s first tour of Afghanistan in 2011 but it didn’t happen.

“When they sent out the ‘save the date’ cards to friends and family, they had the words ‘at last’ printed on them.”

The medal ceremony took place at Wattisham Flying Station.

The Prince of Wales, who is colonel in chief of the Army Air Corps, presented medals to 40 airborne soldiers who manned the Apache attack helicopters in Afghanistan and served alongside his son.

Speaking at the presentation, Cpt Brunwin described it as the “icing on the cake” following his wedding day.

He also joked that he had deliberately planned when to pop the question. “For me it was easy as I got to escape the wedding admin,” he said.

“It was great to be back just in time for the wedding and we had a wonderful day. I was very lucky the planning worked out so that I could pick up my medal from Prince Charles.”

Mrs Brunwin added: “Tom had a conversation with Prince Charles who said, ‘I hear the congratulations are in order’.”

Capt Brunwin grew up in Caversham and went to Caversham Primary School and Reading School before studying business at Bristol University, where he met his future wife, who is a marketing manager at Estée Lauder in London.

After graduating, he worked for a computer company for 18 months before going to Sandhurst military academy where he trained to be an Apache pilot and passed out on his 26th birthday in December 2007. He has completed two five-month tours of Afghanistan, returning from the latest one in January.

Mrs Brunwin, who works for Henley marketing company Jenova, said: “Tom says that Prince Harry is a talented chap who he really likes and is good at his job.”

She said her son had wanted to be an army pilot since he was 11. “That was his dream and he just went for it,” she said. “He is really happy doing what he does. He has done two tours of Afghanistan. After his first in 2011, he changed squadrons so he could go out again.

“I get emails from him but there is a limit to what they are allowed to say. You can almost have a conversation rather than writing, which would take a lot longer. It is all general stuff, such as anything he might need over there.

“He has been on duty for the last two Christmas Days and I have been lucky enough to be able to speak to him both times.”

Mrs Brunwin says she is proud of her son’s achievements, adding: “It is a great profession to get into and there is a great camaraderie among them all.”

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