THE family of a Bridlington soldier who was killed on duty in 1996 has been presented with the Elizabeth Cross by the Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Lance Corporal Steven Mark Thirlwell, from The Prince of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment, died as a result of a road traffic accident in the mountainous area of Central Bosnia on 4 November, 1996.
The armoured fighting vehicle driver, who was known as Mark to his family and friends and was 26 at the time, had deployed with the 1st Battalion The Green Howard’s to assist the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Lord Lieutenant Mrs Susan Cunliffe-Lister presented the medal to the soldier’s family at a private ceremony held at Burton Agnes Hall.
Mark’s widow, Mandy Lidster collected the medal together with their children, Victoria, 16, and Thomas, 15,
Mark’s Parents Catherine and Brian Thirlwell were also present and received a memorial scroll.
Mandy, 46, said: “I am so proud to receive this award in Mark’s memory. November is always a difficult month for us as a family because it’s the anniversary of his death, so it was nice to have something to look forward too for once, celebrating his life and what he did in the Army.
“Our son Thomas will wear the Elizabeth Cross with pride, I’m sure, along with Mark’s other service medals.”
Mark had previously served in Germany, Northern Ireland and the First Gulf War.
Mark’s Dad Brian, 64, said: “Mark loved the Army, ever since he was a young lad all he wanted to do was romp about being a soldier. He loved the adventures and excitement his career gave him, but was also a devoted family man with a great sense of humour.
“It’s been fifteen years but not a day goes by when we don’t think about him. He will never be forgotten.”
The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll were introduced in 2009 to give recognition to bereaved families of soldiers killed on operations, or as a result of terrorist actions since 1 January 1948 including the Korean War, the Falklands conflict and operations in Northern Ireland. Each individual cross carries the name of the soldier, sailor or craftsman who died serving his or her country.
Mrs Cunliffe-Lister said: “It was a great privilege to present the Thirlwell’s with the emblem and scroll on behalf of her Majesty the Queen.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who serve and served in our Armed Forces and to the families that support them. This award acts as an acknowledgment and admiration of their courage.”