Hartlepool Navy hero who battled Isis, pirates and drug smugglers awarded MBE

WO1 Ratcliffe, who has been awarded an MBE.
WO1 Ratcliffe, who has been awarded an MBE.
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A Royal Navy Warrant Officer has been recognised in the New Year Honours for his varied work on a ship in the Gulf.


Warrant Officer 1st Class Bob Ratcliffe, from Hartlepool, is among 109 service personnel to be granted titles by the Queen in the annual New Year Honours list.

The 43-year-old has been awarded an MBE for his hard work as the Executive Warrant Officer on board HMS Defender on the ship’s recent deployment to the
Gulf.

The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer spent nine months at sea working with American and French carrier strike groups as part of operations against Daesh - also known as Isis, IS and Isil - in Iraq and Syria.

HMS Defender also patrolled the waters of the Middle East, keeping them free from piracy and on one occasion seizing more than a tonne of drugs being trafficked across the Indian
Ocean.

WO1 Ratcliffe said: “I am over the moon to have been given this honour and it came as a total surprise.

“Being the EWO of HMS Defender was probably the best job I have had in my entire Royal Navy career.

“It was a highly rewarding deployment on operations which really made a difference.

“One of the highlights for me was our successful drugs bust in the Indian Ocean, it was a great feeling for everyone on board to have put in so much work and have it finally pay off.

“It was great to be the person there at the time who was helping to keep everyone going, having been in their place before earlier in my career.

“I’m nervous about the big day ahead when I get to go and pick up my MBE, but I’m really looking forward to it and it will be a very proud day for me to do that with my family.”

The job of the Executive Warrant Officer is one of the most varied roles on any ship.

They co-ordinate the ship’s manpower and training, while advising the chain of command on morale and personnel issues.

In addition to the service personnel recognised in the honours, a total of 44 civilians have also been included in the list.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Our Armed Forces are the best in the world, and the men and women receiving honours have gone above and beyond the call of duty in order to keep this country safe.

"Their diligence and dedication in the line of service has been unwavering and ensured that Britain remains ready as we face intensifying threats at home and abroad.”