A SENIOR Army Officer from Little Paxton has been given the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his outstanding leadership in Iraq. Lieutenant Colonel Simon Browne, 41, who already has a MBE, was tasked with re-building, re-equipping and re-training par

A SENIOR Army Officer from Little Paxton has been given the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his outstanding leadership in Iraq.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Browne, 41, who already has a MBE, was tasked with re-building, re-equipping and re-training part of the Iraqi military, as well as rebuilding their barracks.

He was in command of the Second Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment and the officer in charge of 52 Iraqi Brigade Military Transition Team during a six month tour in Iraq.

Lt Col Browne said he was surprised by the honour, which was given not only for the training and rebuilding work in Iraq, but also his command over 25 major operations.

In six months, Lt Col Browne's troops recovered over a thousand rockets, artillery shells, mortars, surface-to-air missiles, machine guns and small arms from insurgents.

"I was genuinely surprised when I was told," said Lt Col Browne. "There are so many people who have done so many brave things while on tour.

"People joke and say an OBE stands for some 'Other Buggers Effort', and in some ways I'm convinced that is true!

"I am receiving this thanks to the effort of Royal Anglian Regiment, and the Iraqi Army.

"If they hadn't worked so hard to achieve what we did then I would be receiving this now.

"I am very proud to wear it, but I very much consider this an award for the Poachers (Royal Anglian). I've also e-mailed the Iraqi brigade to tell them, and they are all very happy."

Lt Col Browne, who was a former Kimbolton School pupil, also managed the rebuilding of army barracks for the Iraqis, which can now house almost 1,000 soldiers, as well as garages and workshops.

Lt Col Browne, who is married with two children, has been on two tours of Iraq working the Basra area of the country.

As reported in The Hunts Post in February of this year, Lt Col Browne's first stint in Iraq in 2006 focused on defeating the militia, but when he returned on May last year, the focus had changed to training and rebuilding.