Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)
Date of Auction: 25th September 2008
Sold for £85,000
Estimate: £30,000 - £40,000
The exceptional and unique ‘Iraq’ G.M. and ‘Bosnia’ Q.G.M. group of six awarded to Regimental Sergeant Major N. K. Pettit, Explosives Ordnance Disposal Regiment, Royal Engineers, who gained his George Medal for extracting four RAF Regiment personnel from a minefield at night after a ‘minestrike’ on the first day of the allied ground offensive in Iraq. On the way to this incident he came under enemy fire and on arrival painstakingly cleared a path through the minefield, making his way alone to the stricken Land Rover before leading each of the four men to safety one-by-one, carrying the most seriously wounded man over his shoulder - the next day he returned and cleared a total of 26 anti-tank mines. He had previously been awarded a Q.G.M. and Joint Commander’s Commendation for gallantry in Bosnia and at the time of leaving the army in 2004 was one of the most decorated soldiers in the Service - His autobiography, Modern Day Hero was published in 2007
George Medal, E.II.R., 2nd issue (24504786 WO1 N K Pettit, QGM, RE); Queen’s Gallantry Medal, E.II.R. (24504786 Cpl Nicholas K. Pettit, RE); U.N. Bosnia; N.A.T.O. Medal 1994, clasp, Former Yugoslavia; Iraq Medal 2003, with clasp (24504786 WO1 N K Pettit, QGM, RE); Jubilee 2002; together with original Royal Mint cases of issue for G.M. and Q.G.M. and named card boxes of issue for Iraq and Jubilee Medals, extremely fine (6) £30000-40000
The George Medal was awarded for an action in Iraq on 21 March 2003, the first day of the allied ground offensive and was the only award of a George Medal made during the period of open hostilities, although four awards of the George Medal have been made during the subsequent ‘peace keeping’ phase of the operations. Two days after this incident, on 23 March 2003, as extensively reported by the worlds press, two members of Regimental Sergeant Major Pettit’s own unit, 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) were captured and killed after their convoy was ambushed on the outskirts of the town of Al Zubayr. The two captured soldiers, Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth and Sapper Luke Allsopp were dragged from their Land Rover and taken to a local Baath Party HQ and then onto to an Iraqi intelligence base where they were shot and killed, their bodies being discovered just under a month later in shallow graves not far from the town.
G.M. London Gazette 23 April 2004. The official recommendation states: ‘WO1 Pettit has been employed as the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the joint EOD Group on Operation Telic in Iraq. The Group is responsible for providing EOD support to 1 (UK) Armoured Division in order to enhance freedom of manoeuvre and force protection. He has frequently operated in particularly hazardous environments in the combat zone, where his strong leadership and command skills came to the fore. In addition, he was responsible for extracting four RAF personnel from a minefield at night and in contact.
At approximately 2300 hours on 21 March 2003, RSM Pettit reported to the Command Vehicle of 5131 (BD) Squadron and was briefed about a minestrike on a road near Safwan Hill, which was the initial objective for the Joint Helicopter Force’s (JHF) advance into Iraq. It was not clear whether there were any casualties or whether the airmen had managed to extract themselves from the minefield. Whilst deploying to the minestrike, he came under fire, but the enemy were successfully driven off. On arrival at the minestrike, he was informed that there were actually four personnel still in a Land Rover in the minefield, one of whom was seriously injured, whilst the others were suffering from shock. In addition, the road had been blocked, causing a major traffic jam that was significantly slowing down the deployment. The vehicle itself was blown over at a 45 degree angle to the ground and was severely damaged. He set up an Incident Control Point (ICP) in order to ensure that no other personnel deployed accidentally into the minefield and from where the operation would be controlled. As it was dark, he set up two Land Rovers at an angle with their headlights pointing at the damaged vehicle and he ensured that all soldiers took up protective positions behind their vehicles.
Once all safety precautions had been taken, he proceeded to clear a lane into the minefield using the “look, feel and prod” method, with a Maglite torch and constantly updated the other soldiers on his progress, at all times encouraging them to stay calm and not move or panic. At night, mine clearance is an extremely hazardous and stressful task. He marked his route with mine marking tape and whenever he came across any anti-tank mines or time pencil delayed action fuses, he marked them for subsequent disposal. On reaching the vehicle, he helped the driver out and then led him to safety along the cleared route. He then had to re-enter the minefield and deal with the casualty, who by this time was slipping in and out of consciousness. He placed the injured airmen on his shoulder and carried him out to a waiting nurse who then dealt with his injuries. The remaining two airmen were still in shock and refused to walk out unaided, so he had to re-enter the minefield a further two times and lead them successfully to safety. They were then taken to the Regimental Aid Post for treatment and the road was successfully re-opened for traffic. The next day it was confirmed that he had cleared a total of 26 VS 1.6 Italian mines and time pencil mines that were subsequently destroyed.
WO1 Pettit’s actions were witnessed by Wing Commander Driver from JHF who confirmed that the risk to his life has been significant and that his bravery and calming influence under real stress was of the highest order. At no stage could WO1 Pettit have been sure that his actions would not lead to the detonation of the mines and his own death. Despite this, he continued to work with a relentless determination, speed and resolve under the most arduous of conditions that was an example to all. He showed sustained courage and coolness of the very highest order and is most strongly recommended for formal recognition of his actions.’
Regimental Sergeant Major Pettit gives his own detailed account of the action for which he was awarded the George Medal in his autobiography, Modern Day Hero: ‘A call came in that there’d been a mine strike on the Kuwait border where we’d come across. It was pitch black by now and there were four or five RAF teams plus me in the HQ part of the harbour area that we were using. So the Squadron Leader decided to send me and the Sergeant who’d been with me on the airfield that day.
When a message comes in from a mine strike you normally get lots of information from it, but not in this case. Seeing as there is no Immediate Response Team (IRT) you can ask questions of. You have to ask the questions in order to determine what’s happened and how were these people in the minefield and so on. By the time you arrived there you’d normally worked out your plan. But no one really new whether they’d been in there an hour, two hours, if they were still in there or whether they’d managed to get them out. So we were sent in, to my mind, a very willy-nilly kind of way. We got out of the base and back on to the main road. Nina was driving and the next thing I knew there were rounds going off everywhere. I thought, “Here we go, we’re under attack and we’ve not even got there.”
Right in front of us was an RAF Regiment patrol who were fire fighting and charging the Iraqis who were firing on us and I said to Nina, “just drive, drive, drive...” We had no lights on and you could just about make out the road if you went about five miles an hour...
When we got down there, there was vehicle after vehicle after vehicle but then all of a sudden it stopped and I looked over to this minefield and could see that about 50 metres into it there were four blokes sitting in a Land Rover that looked as though it was at a 45 degree angle. It had been driven through a minefield, driven through three rows of mines, hit the third row and bounced forward just short of the fourth row of mines. I was looking at the convoy, this was an Engineer Convoy and I thought, “Why hasn’t anyone gone in there to get them out?” On my initial brief with the RAF I asked the Squadron Leader of the RAF Regiment, “Can your guys self extract?” and he’d said “Of course they can, course they can.” So I was asking myself why there were four guys from the RAF Regiment sitting in a minefield having hit a mine. I looked further on and there was a firefight going off in the background. And I was thinking, “Oh, please...” Then the next thing I knew someone was coming up shouting, “You’re holding up the advance of 7 Armoured Brigade and I thought, “Well, why doesn’t someone get them out.”
I’d spoken to the RAF Sergeant and we set up an ICP (Incident Control Point) and that’s when Nina came into the forefront really. I was speaking to the Sergeant and I asked if he was happy but all I had to do was look into his eyes. I said, “You alright Mick?” And he said, “No, not really.” So I never even got to ask the question - you can see in someone’s eyes whether they’re up for the job or whether they’re not. My rank was higher than his so I could have ordered him to go in there and stop messing around. But I’d been in that situation myself before when I was a Corporal and there were people lower than me and the fear was that if one of them touched a mine and blew themselves up then it would be playing on my mind for the rest of my life. The human factor comes into all of this, the way you are and all your training. Even as far back as the way you were brought up by your family. The way that you wish you’d be treated. And if you’re that scared, you don’t think someone’s going to force you to do it. So I looked at him and I‘d spoken to this guy and just knew he wasn’t up for it and so I said, “Okay, fine, ‘ll go in.”
The first time I went in I was scared. I went in to try to save a life but I didn’t realise how scared I was going to be. When I looked into the minefield there were bits of metal in there, barbed wire and some of the mines were exposed. There were time pencils sticking up over the top that looked like anti-personnel mine fuses that had trip wires on them. It was pitch black and there was a firefight in the background. I was holding up the 7 Armour Brigade and all this was playing on my mind and I was saying to myself, “I’m gonna get halfway across there and I just know how scared I’m gonna be.” It’s not a feeling that I’d like to repeat in any way, shape or form.
One of the guys was now unconscious; the other three were so scared they couldn’t move. Someone had to do it, someone had to go in and get them out pretty damned quick. So I briefed up Nina, “Right, get back there. Stop the convoy. I’m gonna go in there now and you need to whip down that convoy. You need to get me a medic to see the boy when he comes out and for me if I injure myself. You need to get everyone on the far side of their vehicles in case I do hit a mine. I don’t want anyone to catch me on the side of their face as I’m coming back at 100mph.”
All this was going through my mind. I was thinking, “Get on the radio, Nick. Tell them we’re now at the site; tell them that we’ll have the casualties out within plenty of time - 15-20 minutes. Tell them that one is unconscious, the other three are okay but in shock.” I was getting more and more tense. That’s not usually the way I am. I’m usually a pretty happy-go-lucky character.
It took about five minutes to set everything up. It was pitch black but I had my prodder and my Maglite torch, which I’d had to borrow from the RAF Sergeant. Not that I’m slagging the Army off because they’ve now got them. So I got the old Maglite torch and there I was on my belt buckles yet again prodding through a minefield. And so it was look, feel, prod and there I was with a torch and I’m thinking this is sure to attract a load of in-coming rounds or I’m going to get to the casualties hopefully without firing a mine. And then I was shouting to them, “Do you know what - I’m 40 years of age and an RSM and you’ve got me crawling through a minefield to rescue you.” And a voice at the back shouted, “You think you’ve got problems? I’m a 44 year-old Corporal sitting in a Land Rover that’s hit a mine.” The rest of that conversation only got worse as I got closer to the vehicle, but the conversation took everybody’s minds off the severity of the situation and what could happen if it did go wrong. Although none of this took away any of the concentration, I was trying to put everyone at ease as much as anyone could in that type of situation.
When I reached the Land Rover I had a look around and made an area where I could stand up. This guy was going in and out of consciousness and I just thought to myself that the easiest way would be to put him over my shoulder. I used the fireman’s lift to carry him out and I asked the rest if they were okay and they were saying, “I’m not sure.” The way they were speaking I could tell they were in shock and didn’t want them to move too much for fear of tipping the Land Rover onto another mine. They weren’t happy in and around mines or standing in a minefield - and I can say I don’t blame them. So I told them I’d carry this guy out and then come back for them. By the time I got back Nina had organised a medic on the far side of one of the vehicles. I put this guy down and the medic gave him a quick once-over and he was whipped away to the Regimental Aid Post.
I just kept going back in for the rest of them and put their hands on my shoulders and led them out, having laid a white tape down so I knew that there was a safe route. I told them not to take their hands from my shoulders because if they did I’d have to swing round and grab hold of them and they could then step off the white tape and onto a mine and kill all of us. I just talked them through it and that’s about as much as there was to it. I just kept talking and assuring them that they’d be safe and I was quite happy to come and get them - although I was lying through my teeth.’
Iraq was not the first time that Pettit had entered a minefield to make an extraction. Almost exactly ten years earlier whilst serving in Bosnia as a Section Commander with 42 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers, he had had to do much the same thing, for which action he was awarded a Queen’s Gallantry Medal.
Q.G.M. London Gazette 12 June 1993. The official recommendation states: ‘Place: Gorni Vakuf, November 1992-April 1993: Corporal Pettit was deployed as a section commander for six months with 42 Field Squadron on Operation Grapple from November 1992 to April 1993. He spent most of this period on detached duty with a company group of 1 Cheshires who are working in support of humanitarian operations. As such he was often the senior Royal Engineer in his location and was frequently called upon to give advice and carry out tasks well beyond what would normally be expected of him.
For one period Corporal Pettit supported a Company group who lived in a disused factory which was without mains supplied water or electricity. Corporal Pettit commanded a maintenance team, which provided the Company with the essential facilities needed to live there in reasonable comfort. He displayed a great deal of initiative and made an enormous effort to support the company by extending the plumbing systems and devising a number of expedient solutions, often using local resources procured in a sensitive and sometimes dangerous environment. He was also fully involved in a wide range of combat engineer tasks outside the camp and assisted in the dismantling of defences after a cease-fire had been arranged between local forces. This work was carried out in dangerous circumstances and he often had to operate under the threat of small arms fire.
On one occasion he was called upon to breach a minefield in order to evacuate a casualty. A local person had reported that a mentally handicapped youth had strayed into what was believed to be a minefield and stepped on a mine. The casualty was thought to be alive and there was no time to call for assistance so Corporal Pettit went to the scene and, single-handed, breached some fifty metres to where the casualty lay. He found one mine, which he marked and went around. Sadly, despite this extremely brave, selfless act, the casualty died before medical assistance could reach him. As a Royal Engineer, Corporal Pettit had been trained in minefield clearance, but the circumstances were such that he had to complete this task without the equipment and support he would normally receive. Corporal Pettit swiftly assessed the situation and acted selflessly and without regard to his own safety. The benefit to the United Nations Forces from the goodwill generated by this incident was particularly useful in this difficult area.
Throughout his time on Operation Grapple, Corporal Pettit has devoted all his energies to helping and improving the lifestyle of those he has been asked to support. He has done this with a willingness and a sense of humour that has been an inspiration to all those around him. He has been given responsibility and has performed far in excess of that expected of one of his rank and service. His work on Operation Grapple merits official recognition.’
In his autobiography Pettit expands on the minefield incident in the following terms: ‘On one occasion we were driving along when we got this call that a young lad had gone into a minefield and could we go and help. Now, bear in mind that there was a Captain and a Warrant Officer Class 2 Sergeant Major. I was a Corporal. There was a Major who was a Medic, a doctor. The Sergeant Major was close protection for us all. So we went there and all of a sudden we got to a checkpoint where everyone wanted to kill us. We got through that one and got to another one where the same thing happened, there were rounds going off. We finally got to the village and the minefield was in a wood between two villages and in the middle of two front lines. We couldn’t really ensure that we got a ceasefire.
Having looked through a telescope I knew that the child victim was dead because half his face and an arm were missing. He’d been there a couple of hours; there was no way he could have lived. But if he wasn’t out and buried within 24 hours then that village was going to attack the next village. So the Sergeant Major and the Major and I sort of got together and agreed that I was not allowed in the minefield. The only reason you were allowed to go into a minefield was to retrieve a U.N. Peacekeeper. That was the bottom line. But how could I turn my back on two villages knowing full well that if I left him in there they were going to start fighting? So it was a sort of no-win situation. We couldn’t report it up the chain, we couldn’t report anything. So it was decided that I would just go into the minefield and get the body out.
When I was about halfway in two UN Marshals turned up and informed the world what was going on. These guys used to turn up in white suits and they had arrived to watch. So by now every Tom, Dick and Harry knew I was in a minefield. I got to the body, cleared around him in case he was laid on a mine, called in two Muslim soldiers and we lifted him onto a stretcher and carried him out to his waiting family. There were people crying and coming up. I felt really sick. Although I’d seen dead bodies I’d never had to pick one up and I can remember thinking to myself “it’s like a chicken, it looks like a chicken with all the meat taken off and the wishbone sticking out – and the smell…” I looked up in the surrounding trees and saw bits of body. It didn’t hold well in my stomach and the smell wasn’t too good. Even now I can close my eyes and still picture it…’
He picks up the story again two months later: ‘I was at home on leave and the Adjutant phoned up and said “Right, make sure you’re there tomorrow morning because the Commanding Officer wants o speak to you. He will phone you tomorrow morning. It’s about something you witnessed in Bosnia.” And I was thinking, “Oh my God, I’ve witnessed loads of things, What have I done? No way does a Commanding Officer, a Lieutenant Colonel, phone you at home. I must have done something wrong.”
Anyway, he phoned me up the next day and said, “Corporal Pettit, I’d like to congratulate you. You’ve been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.” So I was really chuffed and the next day it came out in the national papers. I was really happy. I could never understand why I got it, but when it comes to all the medals I’ve got, I was no different from any other soldier. I was just put in the wrong position, I suppose at the right time.’
Five years later, Pettit once again found himself back in Bosnia, working amongst many of the local people whom he had met and helped on his first tour there. It is clear from his autobiography that the plight of the people in and around Gorni Vakuf touched him deeply and being the man of action that he clearly was he set about doing what he could to help – even putting his life on the line when compelled to do so. The citation to his Joint Commanders Commendation bears testament to this:
Joint Commanders Commendation London Gazette May 1999. The official recommendation states: ‘Place: Gorni Vakuf, March 1998-September 1998: Staff Sergeant Pettit has been employed on construction tasks for the British Forces in Central Bosnia. In his spare time he has worked tirelessly and selflessly to improve relations between the divided communities at Gorni Vakuf where ethnic tensions run high. He has immersed himself in the town’s people where he has become a trusted and respected figure known for his impartiality and fair play. From this unique position he has cajoled and enticed the local populous towards joint projects and multi-ethnic initiatives. In and around Gorni Vakuf he has organised various projects including the refurbishment of the town’s Medical Clinic, the multi-ethnic youth club and has improved both schools facilities. Of particular note was his part in the construction of the cross-community adventure playground, which involved raising money from the local community. He persuaded local building suppliers to donate the resources, motivated local people to assist in the construction and produced a brand new facility where children from both communities can mix. By his actions, he has also made great steps to maintain the standing and regard for British soldiers in Gorni Vakuf.
On 10 June 1998, Staff Sergeant Pettit was supervising a construction task at the logistic base Lipa. On the way back to Gorni Vakuf, near the village of Mandino Selo, he noticed an incident in a field close to the road. He instructed his driver to stop. Two men were assaulting a group of local people who had been working the land. These two men were wielding a pitchfork and a crowbar; a number of the civilians appeared injured. Staff Sergeant Pettit called on them to stop in Serbo-Croat but he was ignored. He shouted again, made ready his weapon and ordered the two men to lay down theirs, whereupon they turned their aggression towards him. He fired a warning shot above their heads. One man threw away his weapon and laid on the ground whilst the other man attacked Staff Sergeant Pettit who wrestled with the aggressor, disarmed him and forced him to the ground. At the same time the remainder of the troop passed by in their vehicles and saw the incident. The troops rushed to the scene to assist. They detained the two civilian aggressors whilst the International Police Force was summoned to the scene. The two men were later arrested. During this incident Staff Sergeant Pettit acted at considerable personal risk, demonstrating exceptional courage and devotion to duty and a genuine concern for fellow human beings.
Staff Sergeant Pettit has worked tirelessly and selflessly during his deployment to improve relations amongst the divided community in Gorni Vakuf. He has devoted his time and effort to cajole the local civilians towards the same aim. Unquestionably, the citizens of Gorni Vakuf have benefited from his dynamic character, energy and devotion beyond that expected of someone of his rank. At the incident in Mandino Selo, Staff Sergeant Pettit acted bravely, with exceptional courage and lack of thought for himself to prevent injury to others. Without doubt, Staff Sergeant Pettit has achieved exceptional results in central Bosnia-Herzogovina. He richly deserves formal recognition by an appropriate award.’
His autobiography once again gives a good account of the incident that formed the backbone of the recommendation for his Commendation: ‘I can remember it quite clearly. We were driving along and I was looking at the map. I looked over to my right where my driver sat and could see about 30 people were fighting in a field. I didn’t know whether the other vehicles had seen this. I can’t even remember whether I asked them days later if they’d seen it, but as I looked over to the right I could see lots of people fighting, children on the floor being trampled on. You could see that there were metal bars although I couldn’t see if there were any guns. My initial action was to quickly tell the driver to get off the road fast and just drive at the riot as fast as he could. They must have been about 200 metres off the road on a grass field. As soon as we left the hard-standing my heart was racing. I was thinking about the first thing you’re taught on any road in Bosnia which is never leave the hard-standing because it could be mined. And I was thinking to myself, “Is this mined?” But this quickly left me because, although I was thinking this, within seconds we were within 50 feet away and I shouted out “stop…stop…stop.”
My driver was new that day…He was a very small fragile lad… In those days, although we sometimes carried four full magazines we never loaded them onto our rifles. I can remember jumping out of the vehicle trying to get my weapon from the rack, which was at my right shoulder. As I tried to get the weapon off as per usual, the fitting came in contact with the magazine release so as I pulled the weapon off the magazine fell. I was fitting the magazine back on and shouting at Andy [the driver], “Right, if any of them go near me you’re going to have to shoot them. It’s as simple as that.”
Back in 1998 the Rules of Engagement were quite simple. You were not allowed to fire at anyone unless they were attacking you or another soldier or a military installation. Or if you thought that your life was in danger. So straight away I was putting this immense pressure on this 17-year-old kid and as I went forward I was thinking to myself, “God, is he gonna be able to do this? At the same time he’s going to have to send a report in that we’ve stopped in the middle of a riot.” I was putting a lot of pressure on the young lad. And so I went running off, got my rifle, went in amongst these people and all hell was breaking loose. There were people fighting all around. I was shouting in the bit of pigeon Serbo-Croat that I’d learnt on a two-day course a couple of months before I went out there. I was trying to tell them to stop the fighting.
In the end I was getting nowhere so I took my weapon off my shoulder, gave a warning in Serbo-Croat that I was about to fire my weapon, and I fired above their heads. As I fired everyone split up, except for two guys who thought it was time to turn their aggression on me. So as I was firing I could see that one of them had a pitchfork and the other a metal bar. The guy with the pitchfork came towards me. I grabbed the pitchfork, pulling it towards me, which made him throw it on the floor. He instantly lay down on the floor. The other guy tried to hit me with the metal bar, picking it up over his shoulder and swinging it forward. As it swung forward I grabbed hold of the metal bar, pulled it down, threw him to the floor and, with him on the floor, I can remember having the barrel of my weapon pushed on his neck with all of my body weight. I could more or less pivot my whole body onto the back of the guy’s neck and I was thinking, “You could have killed me. If that bar had hit me I would have been dead.” I recall leaning more and more on my rifle thinking to myself, “You have got to be in severe pain and you deserve every bit of it.”
Immediately following this incident Staff Sergeant Pettit was subjected to hours of interviews at the hands of the Royal Military Police. His autobiography continues: ‘So I was whipped straight off. The first thing they said was, “We know you fired your weapon. We know that.” The RMP Corporal said, “That’s attempted murder.” So now I’m thinking to myself, well I did this but I wasn’t happy because, although I don’t mind fighting, I don’t like it. I was trying to protect my own life as well as other people... The point is that, even with all my training - I was a Staff Sergeant in the Royal Engineers - I did what I thought was right. I tried to stop people getting injured. They were the people that I’d been sent to protect as well. That’s why the Army put me in that situation. Not just to protect the soldiers... It wasn’t until maybe two or three weeks later that an RMP Corporal actually came to visit me and said, “No, there are going to be no charges against you.” For that to be hanging over your head for two weeks makes you think, “Am I in the Army for the right reasons or the wrong reasons?”
Nicholas Pettit was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, subsequently moving with his parents to Loughton, Essex. He joined the Royal Engineers in September 1979, aged 16, with which corps he served for over 25 years, attaining the Rank of Regimental Sergeant Major and latterly Warrant Officer, prior to his leaving the army in September 2004. He now lives with his wife Sonia and has four sons, the eldest of whom is currently serving with the Explosives Ordnance Regiment, Royal Engineers and will be deploying to Afghanistan later this year. Nicholas Pettit will be happy to speak with the successful purchaser of his medals.
The lot is sold with a comprehensive archive of original documentation and artefacts, comprising:
i) Joint Commander’s Commendation Certificate, inscribed ‘Certificate of Commendation awarded by The Joint Commander Operation Palatine to Staff Sergeant Nicholas Keith Pettit, QGM, Corps of Royal Engineers for distinguished service in the support of NATO Operations in the Balkan Theatre of Operations’, dated April 1999 and signed by Vice Admiral Sir Ian Garnett, KCB, Joint Commander.
ii) Copies of the original recommendations for his G.M. and Q.G.M.; together with original Joint Commander’s Commendation recommendation.
iii) Original Warrant appointing Pettit to the rank of Warrant Officer in the Royal Engineers, dated 3 July 1999 and signed by Geoffrey Hoon.
iv) A well presented album containing an assortment of paperwork and photographs in relation to the award of his GM, comprising, an original copy of the recommendation for his GM; two official photographs of him at Buckingham Palace having received his award and one of the Queen presenting him with the medal; together with a number of other photographs taken on the day of the investiture; Buckingham Palace investiture programme and investiture tickets; a fine selection of congratulatory letters from various senior military officers, comprising, Lieutenant General Sir Scott Grant, KCB, The Chief Royal Engineer; Lieutenant General Sir John Reith, KCB, CBE, Chief of Joint Operations; Colonel IS James, OBE, Commander Royal Engineers; Lieutenant Colonel AGL Troulan, 33 Engineer Regiment; Captain RB Frost, 33 Engineer Regiment; Colonel AM Mills, Army Personnel Centre; Lieutenant Colonel PA Pendlebury, Army Personnel Centre; Major General JM Shaw, CBE, General Officer Commanding Theatre Troops; Colonel PM Davies, MBE, Headquarters 12 (Air Support) Engineer Brigade; Major General PA Wall, CBE, and General Officer Commanding 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division; Brigadier DR Innes, Engineer-in-Chief (Army).
v) A second well presented album, this containing an assortment of paperwork in relation to the award of his QGM, including various newspaper cuttings; Buckingham Palace investiture ticket; copy of the original recommendation for the QGM; London Gazette page repeating the citation and a fine selection of congratulatory letters from various senior military officers, comprising, Lieutenant General Sir Jeremy Mackenzie, KCB, OBE, Commander, Allied Command Europe; Colonel JS Field; Colonel JDC Anderson, Headquarters, Royal Engineers, 4th Armoured Division; General Sir John Stibbon, KCB, OBE, Chief Royal Engineer; General Sir Peter Inge, GCB, ADC Gen, Chief of General Staff; Major General JAJP Barr, CBE, Engineer in Chief (Army); General Sir John Wilsey, KCB, CBE, Headquarters UK Land Forces; Brigadier IDT McGill, Commander Engineer; General Sir Charles Guthrie, KCB, LVO, OBE, Commander-in-Chief, British Army of The Rhine; Major JW Sage, Royal Engineers. Also contained within this album are several newspaper cuttings relating to his second operational tour of Bosnia in 1998 and two congratulatory letters on the award of his Joint Commander’s Commendation, from Brigadier DR Bill, Headquarters Land Army and Lieutenant Colonel JM Gunns, MBE, 101 (London) Engineer Regiment; also 14 photographs of recipient dressed in Second War uniform whilst taking part in the filming of Danger UXB.
vi) Three poignant letters from the parents of two of the RAF Regiment airmen rescued by RSM Pettit from the Iraqi minefield on 23 April 2004. Two of the letters being from both the father and mother of one of the soldiers and the third from The Reverend Robert and his wife Sandra Andrews, the parents of the wounded airmen carried out by RSM Pettit: ‘When we read that you had been awarded the George Medal, we were delighted, and this letter comes with our congratulations - and our thanks. It was our eldest son, Barnaby, who had been injured and whom you carried to safety in that mine incident... When we finally received the news, and realised just how close Barnaby and his mates came to being amongst the first casualties, we were shaken. Barnaby tried to come to see you, to say thank you, when he was discharged from the field hospital, but to no avail... Thank you seems so inadequate...’
vii) A CD containing some 408 superb photographic images taken by RSM Pettit whilst serving in Iraq, including large numbers covering the vast array of munitions encountered by Pettit and also photographs of the stricken Land Rover in the Iraqi minefield.
viii) Official video tape recording of the Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony for the presentation of his George Medal.
ix) Order of Service for the funerals of Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth and Sapper Luke Allsopp, the two 33 Engineer Regiment soldiers captured and killed in Iraq.
x) An album containing a vast selection of Pettit’s Confidential Reports, etc, dating from 1986 to the time of his retirement in 2004.
xi) Certificate of Service ‘Red Book’; including testimonial on leaving the army.
xii) A copy of Modern Day Hero, by Nicholas Pettit, GM, QGM, published 2007, 231pp, signed by the author.
xiii) 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) leaving menu for a dinner held in Warrant Officer Pettit’s honour on 4 June 2004 and including a photograph of him and a statement of his services
xiv) Brass desk name plate, inscribed with RE badge to left, bomb disposal insignia to right and ‘WO1 (SMI) NK Pettit, GM, QGM, RE’ between, mounted on oak plinth.
xv) A large cloth flag, red with two blue stripes and central motif of an entelope with ‘LIV’ beneath, as flown by 54 Squadron in Iraq.
xvi) Blue beret with U.N. brass and enamel badge, as worn by Pettit whilst serving in Bosnia 1992-93.
xvii) Desert uniform as worn by Pettit on invasion of Iraq, comprising, jacket, trousers, boots and helmet with anti-mine visor.
xviii) Royal Engineers cap badge; pair of identity discs and five pieces of cloth insignia.