Stories of Valour, Courage and Bravery.
Former British soldier Darren Coventry talks to men and women who’ve received the UK’s highest military honours. Hear the real stories behind acts of bravery from the medal recipients and those who were there.
More Tea: Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II
15:02In a More Tea special Darren Coventry and Jess Bracey speak to medal expert Mark Smith about the medals on show at the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen on Monday 19th September. We also talk about whether the Queen's pallbearers are likely to receive a medal and look ahead to the Coronation of King Charles III.
More Tea: Eric Smith, George Medal
18:45In 1962 Sergeant Eric Smith, a search and rescue winchman in the RAF, was called out alongside his crew to the French fishing trawler The Jeanne Gougy which had run aground on the Cornish coast. They spent hours above the sea in a Westland Whirlwind Mark 10 helicopter battling the conditions as Eric was winched down to the vessel to help those in trouble. His heroic actions that day led him to being awarded the George Medal.60 years on his son Ronnie tells Darren Coventry and Jess Bracey the story of that rescue and why it’s still remembered in RAF history.
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Steve Heaney MC: Jungle Siege in Sierra Leone
45:4217th May 2000, Lungi Lol, Sierra LeoneSergeant Steve Heaney was deployed to Sierra Leone as part of a task force sent to evacuate foreign citizens caught up in the country’s civil war.The Revolutionary United Front, a murderous rebel group known for their brutality, were advancing towards the capital Freetown and Steve, along with the rest of his Pathfinder platoon were tasked to stop them.The 26 soldiers were sent to the jungle village of Lungi Lol for a 48-hour mission which developed into a 16-day siege.It was the first time the British army had fought in the jungle for 40 years. With no reinforcements to support them, the Pathfinders were forced to fight alone.Steve tells Darren how he and the pathfinders defended the village, while his Task Force Commander, General Lord Richards explains why Steve became the first Non-Commissioned Officer in the Pathfinders to receive the Military Cross. Contributors:Steve Heaney MCGeneral The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO DLPresented by Darren CoventryWritten and produced by Darren Coventry and Josella WaldronEdited by Andy Prada Sound Design by Terry WilsonOriginal Music by Will FarmerExecutive Producer Alex GriffithsWatch our videos: youtube.com/c/BFBSCreativeGet in touch: [email protected]
More Tea: Keith Mills DSC
13:10As we mark the 40th anniversary of the 1982 Falklands Conflict, we revisit our Tea & Medals episode with Keith Mills DSC. At just 22 years old Keith Mills, then a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines, was sent to the island of South Georgia to sort out an issue with some Argentinian scrap metal workers. The diplomatic incident turned into an assault where Keith lead his detachment of 22 commandos into battle. This was the starting point of the Falklands Conflict which saw a taskforce of 30,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen deploy to the South Atlantic. In this episode with Jess Bracey and Darren Coventry, we find out about the unexpected heroes welcome Keith received after he left South Georgia.
Richard Westley OBE MC: The Battle to Save Gorazde
48:3428th May 1995 Gorazde, BosniaMajor Richard Westley and his company of Royal Welch Fusiliers were working as United Nations protection force troops, attempting to keep the peace in the hostilities that followed the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.Richard’s company of Fusiliers were protecting civilians in Gorazde, one of several Bosnian Muslim enclaves when advancing Bosnian Serb forces decided to attack the town.Richard tells Darren how B Company managed to stop the Serbs from taking the town and prevent the kind of massacre that was later seen in Srebrenica.The Fusiliers received numerous gallantry awards for their actions, including Richard himself who was awarded the Military Cross.Contributors:Colonel Richard Westley, OBE MCLieutenant-General Jonathon Riley CB DSOColonel Tim Collins OBEPresented by Darren CoventryWritten and produced by Darren Coventry and Josella WaldronEdited by Andy Prada Sound Design by Terry WilsonOriginal Music by Will FarmerExecutive Producer Alex GriffithsMore from BFBS Creative: youtube.com/c/BFBSCreative
More Tea: Malta and the George Cross
6:58In 1942 the island of Malta was awarded the George Cross by King George 6th to recognise the population’s bravery and defiance during the Second World War. They refused to surrender despite continuous bombardment by German and Italian forces throughout The Siege of Malta. As well as The George Cross, a number of civilians were also awarded the George Medal.Until recently, WO2 John Thompson was Britain’s most decorated Royal Marine Commando. He was mentioned in despatches in recognition of his gallant and distinguished service in Iraq and later received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross following a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan.In this episode with Jess Bracey and Darren Coventry, we find out about the recipients with Mario Farrugia, Chairman of the Malta Heritage Trust.
Malta and the George Cross: WW2 Island Fortress
37:1715th April 1942, Valetta, Malta.Between 1940 and 1943 the combined air forces of Italy and Germany launched twenty-six thousand aerial sorties against Malta. The island was part of the British Empire at the time, but Germany and Italy wanted to take this perfectly placed strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean for themselves.A sustained attack in 1942 became known as The Siege of Malta. Despite the continued bombardment the people of the island refused to surrender. In recognition of their heroism, King George 6th awarded the George Cross to the country in April 1942. Eighty years on, it’s still important to Malta as Darren Coventry discovered when he talked to the people there who are keeping those wartime memories alive.Contributors:Mario Farrugia, Kim Dalli and Joseph DebonoPresented by Darren CoventryWritten and produced by Darren Coventry and Josella WaldronEdited by Andy Prada Sound Design by Terry WilsonOriginal Music by Will FarmerExecutive Producer Alex GriffithsFind out more: https://www.forces.net/heritage/history/courageous-women-who-stepped-defence-malta
More Tea: Tommo's Mention in Despatches
31:53Until recently, WO2 John Thompson was Britain’s most decorated Royal Marine Commando. He was mentioned in dispatches in recognition of his gallant and distinguished service in Iraq and later received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross following a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan. In this bonus episode with Jess Bracey and Darren Coventry, Tommo explains what happened in Iraq.Listened to the podcast? Now watch our videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiWYBIWzU_F5makrkqwGQ1wFollow us: https://twitter.com/BFBSCreative
John Thompson CGC: Royal Marine Gun Battle
46:1010th January 2007, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.By the time Corporal John Thompson made his way to Afghanistan in 2006 for Operation Herrick 5, he had already been mentioned in despatches in recognition of his gallant and distinguished service in Iraq. But that wasn’t the end of his bravery. Three years later in Afghanistan a Taliban ambush saw his company of Royal Marines fight for their lives in a gun battle lasting four hours.John tells Darren about what it was like to fight the Taliban deep inside enemy territory and how his actions lead to him receiving the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. When John completed his military service, he was officially Britain’s most highly decorated Royal Marine.Contributors:John Thompson CGC, Ads LisonPresented by Darren CoventryWritten and produced by Darren Coventry and Josella WaldronEdited by Andy Prada Sound Design by Terry WilsonOriginal Music by Will FarmerExecutive Producer Alex Griffiths
Meet the Host: Former British Army WO2 Darren Coventry
32:36Tea & Medals is back for Series 2! But before we get stuck into more stories of gallantry and bravery, we find out more about our host Darren Coventry, whose military career spanned more than 1700 days on operation, including several tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.Podcast producer Josella Waldron asks Darren about his connections to the stories, with a look back at Series 1 and a look ahead to Series 2.