A reservist who gave up his civilian life for six months to serve in the desert conditions of Afghanistan has been awarded an Operational Service Medal (OSM).

Trooper Oli Smiddy, a journalist with the Financial Times, completed his tour of duty on Operation Herrick 12.

The Norwood resident said: “ “I am thrilled to have received my OSM today. Being a Territorial soldier has given me tremendous experiences. It is mentally and physically challenging but lots of fun. You meet people from all walks of life and I really enjoy being part of the team. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

He served with a combined 4th Regiment and 4/73 Battery Fire Support Team, attached to B Company Scots Guards. Initially working out of Lashkar Gah with the Ops Company and Recce Platoon, he then moved with his Fire Support Team and Company to establish a pair of new patrol bases. Trooper Smiddy was his team’s Coyote driver, signaller and Level 2 Observer.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Squier, Commanding Officer, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, who was the Presenting Officer said, “I am delighted to present these Operational Service Medals to our Volunteer Reservists to mark what they have done and honour them for their efforts. The Territorial Army are on the frontline and make a sacrifice above and beyond those of their regular counterparts in the service of their country. You should reflect with great pride what you achieved during your tour.”