A Grantham man who retired from the RAF just a few weeks ago has been honoured with an OBE.
Wing Commander Robert Sutton, who served in the RAF for 26 years, said it was a “fantastic surprise” when they “gave me the completely unexpected news early last week”.
Wg Cdr Sutton, 55, who has lived in Grantham since the age of 10, has been recognised for his service in Bosnia and Herzegovina from September 2012 to March 2013 where he served with the European Union Force in Sarajevo.
He was responsible for all the logistics and infrastructure for the Forces in the country and his award citation says: “...he embarked on a difficult and challenging programme that has turned aspirations into events and words into deeds, resulting in major savings in manpower, an enhancement of logistics support and a noteworthy improvement in the responsiveness of the formation.”
Wg Cdr Sutton, who visited 40 countries during his RAF career, served in Bosnia twice before in the 1990s when the Former Yugoslavia was embroiled in civil war.
He said: “When I was there in the ’90s the only way to drive into Sarajevo was down ‘Sniper Alley’. You drove down there as fast as your vehicle would go and then took any cover you could find.”
“This time the country is much more at peace and is virtually unrecognisable by comparison. As a member of the UK Forces out there, it is always close to mind that you are driving past, and visiting, places where British troops lost their lives and it was very humbling to go round making sure the commemorative plaques were still there and being looked after.”
Wg Cdr Sutton, who is married with two children, said he was shocked to hear of the OBE. He said: “I was absolutely flabbergasted and it will be a great honour to receive it. It is the sort of thing that I thought only happened to other people so for it to happen to me is very humbling.”