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Elizabeth Cross awarded to RASC soldier

LCpl Roy Newsome RASC has been awarded the Elizabeth Cross for his service with 63 Independent Parachute Brigade Company RASC in Cyprus in Aug 1956.

The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll was presented to LCl Newsome’s sister Mrs June Thompson by Mr Nigel Atkinson Esq, the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, at a special ceremony in Aldershot.

The event was hosted by the Deputy Commander of 11 Infantry Brigade & Headquarters South East, Colonel Simon Browne OBE, at the Aldershot Garrison Officers Mess.

As a show of respect, The Band of the Royal Artillery Brass Quintet played the Regimental march of the Royal Army Service Corps and a Piper from 1st Bn Irish Guards played Last Post and Reveille.

Back in 1956, 21-year-old Cpl Newsome was given four days’ notice to deploy with 63 Company to Cyprus on what was for many their first overseas tour.

The Company was involved in the Internal Security duties with the Parachute Brigade, which included transporting the Parachute Battalions into position and operating in the infantry role.

In Oct, the Company was on Internal Security Operation ‘Foxhunter’ against the Eoka terrorists in the Troodos Mountains. Then on 4 Nov, it sailed to Egypt. On 5 Nov, parachute landings were made on Port Said, which included ten men from 63 Coy.

But the circumstances surrounding the death of LCpl Newsome on 12 Sep 1956 in Nicosia are a mystery.

The MOD recently stated that he probably died from friendly fire gun shot wounds.

His name is engraved on the Armed Forces Memorial Wall at the National Memorial Arboretum and he is buried in Wayne’s Keep Cemetery, Nicosia.

The Elizabeth Cross, introduced in 2009, is awarded in national recognition of the loss and sacrifice suffered by the families of those service personnel killed on operations in the line of duty. Along with the cross, the family will also receive a memorial scroll signed by the Queen.

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