AN army major from Henley has been made an MBE for services to the military.
Maj Paul Smyth has served with the army reserve since 2001 and has been on six tours to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, the first just weeks after his graduation.
He also worked as a media operations director during the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq in 2009.
Maj Smyth was surprised by the award.
“It was totally unexpected and really quite amazing,” he said. “I got a phone call from my commanding officer and was sworn to secrecy, which was hard because you want to tell your nearest but it’s not allowed. When I finally told my family they were really taken aback.”
Maj Smyth lives in Friday Street with his wife Rebecca, 41, and children Jessica, nine, and Annabel, eight.
He works in London for communications agency Hill Knowlton Strategies and owns River PR in Henley.
In 2011, Maj Smyth wrote Blogging From The Battlefield, documenting his experiences on a tour in Afghanistan.
He acts as marshal for the Remembrance Day parade in Henley each year.
Maj Smyth said: “I’ve been in the reserves for only 13 years, which is such a short time so to get the award is pretty staggering.
“It’s incredible that I will get to meet royalty. I don’t know who will be presenting the medal, it could be the Queen, Prince Charles or even Prince William so it’s very exciting.”