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Old Oswestrian Col. Patrick Reehal MBE speaks at Speech Day

This year Speech Day coincided with Armed Forces Day and to celebrate Old Oswestrian Col. Patrick ‘Patch’ S Reehal MBE (1986-94) was invited to speak to the pupils, parents and staff and inspect the school’s CCF contingent.

Patch, at the time Major Reehal, earned his MBE in 2010 having been the force behind 10 dangerous missions in Helmand Province. One of the 200-vehicle convoys led by the Royal Logistic Corps soldier saw the patrol survive five roadside bombs and an enemy ambush. The citation for the honour called Maj. Reehal "a gifted leader of men". It continued: "His soldiers were inspired by his personal example, charisma and decisive action. There was nothing that they would not do for him. There is nobody across the Close Support Logistic Regiment more deserving of lasting, formal recognition than Maj. Reehal for his efforts during six months of demanding operational duty."

Patch instructed nine Combat Logistic Patrols (CLPs) as commander of 10 Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, each of which was said to be highly dangerous and vulnerable to enemy attack. The majority of the missions involved more than 80 vehicles which needed to make the journey to deliver vital supplies and vehicles to various bases across war-torn Helmand. Each operation required around 15 days' preparation. The first lasted four days instead of 18 hours and saw the convoy face five Improvised Explosive Device (IED) strikes.

They also detected a further 16 IEDs en route and were ambushed. The mission, dubbed Operation Loam 20, made national headlines at the time.

Patch was joined for the day by his wife, son and parents and took time to show his family his former bedroom in School House boarding house. He also inspected the school’s CCF contingent and presented the Presidents Cup to cade Peter Taylor on behalf of Brian Kilty from the Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion Association with whom the school’s contingent have close links.

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The proceedings closed with a contingent photograph and Maj. Othen presenting Col. Reehal with the Oswestry School cadet colours.

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