Green Howards Sunday 50 & 25 Year Badge Recipients

50 Year Badges


Tom Morkill is the son of a former Green Howard officer. He enlisted for National Service, doing basic training at the Richmond depot. He then went for officer training, returning with Neil McIntosh. Posted to Hong Kong, his fellow platoon commanders were 2nd Lieutenants Peter Inge and Ian Homersham. He saw little military action in Hong Kong, apart from his platoon quelling a spirited riot on Chinese New Year. A keen sportsman, he played cricket for the Battalion and won the Combined Services golf tournament. On leaving the Army he joined the brewing industry as a management trainee. Later, as a director of Bass Charrington, his company sponsored the Tercentenary programmes. For over 25 years Tom Morkill has been an active member of the Regimental Board and Investment Committee. In 2015 he was appointed MBE for services to education, having been a school governor for 15 years. Tom will retire at the end of the year. We thank him for his lasting dedication and unstinting support.


Michael Staunton joined the Regular Army in 1963 and retired in 2004. He was commissioned into The York and Lancaster Regiment in 1966. On its disbandment he joined the Green Howards as a platoon commander in Colchester, also serving in Belize, Cyprus and as Chief Instructor of Army Mountain Training Scotland. He later joined 21 SAS. Having qualified as a doctor, he was commissioned into The Blues and Royals and the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in Germany, Hong Kong, Nepal, Canada, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Scotland, Bosnia, and MOD. His final appointment was in Washington DC on the staff of the US Army Surgeon General. He continues to practice medicine.


Geoff Milner enlisted in 1966, completing his basic and band training at Strensall. He then served and completed Band engagements in Colchester, British Honduras, Canada, Belgium, France, Minden, Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall, Chester, Berlin, Cyprus, Kenya, Osnabruck, Bovington - where he was one of the first instructors to join the Army Junior School of Music - Londonderry, and Catterick where he was demobilised after 26 years, having achieved the position of Band Sergeant Major. In civilian life Geoff was the Senior Central Administration Officer at Barnsley College. He is the Treasurer of Barnsley Branch GHA and is a member of the Friends.


Ralph or Ted Gibbs, originally from Birmingham, enlisted in 1964 and was sent to Aldershot to join the Parachute Regiment. After two trips up and down the infamous Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, he declined a third visit. Having been offered his choice of another regiment he chose the Green Howards as he had become friends with the late Roy Kite-Powell. At Strensall he found the training easy compared with the Paras. Having joined the battalion, he was the only ‘Brummie. During the next 9 years he served in Tripoli, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, Canada, Germany, Northern Ireland and Norway. This included retracing the route of the Telemark heroes, crossing the Hardangavidda plateau in Norway. After three years with C Company he moved to Recce Platoon where, as he recalls, “I carried the GPMG for seven years as I could never get rid of it. A long time ago; enjoyed every minute”. Colonel John Westlake, a former Recce Platoon commander, has described Ted Gibbs as “highly competent, calm, under-stated, easy-going, phlegmatic, RELIABLE, a great, dry, sense of humour, much liked and respected by everyone.” Leaving the Army as Corporal, Ted Gibbs returned to Birmingham where he worked in car factories, as a taxi driver and on the railways. Ted is a member of the GHA and the Friends.


Stephen ‘Chalky’ Whitehead enlisted in 1967 and was posted to Colchester. One of his first exercises was the Ten Tors competition on Dartmoor. His team completed the course in the allotted time. He then moved to British Honduras with B Company. On return to Colchester he became a keen cross country runner and rugby player. He served in Minden, Norway and twice in Northern Ireland. During the 1971 Ardoyne tour, whilst on school escort duty, better known as ‘Lollypop patrol’, Chalky Whitehead was shot in the left leg, with the bullet then entering his right leg. He left the Army after 6 years’ service.


Barry Drake enlisted in 1959 as a 16 year old Boy Soldier. He is the brother of the late Billy Drake, the well-remembered Drum Major. Barry joined the Border Regiment which, after amalgamation, became the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment. After 4 years he transferred to the Green Howards, being posted to Libya. He also served in Colchester, Canada and Germany. He left the Regular Army in 1970 and went into catering. He also joined the D Company 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Volunteers in Scarborough, serving for 15 years, reaching the position of Company Sergeant Major. He was a member of the company shooting team, as well as being a keen sportsman. An active member of the Scarborough Branch of the GHA, he became the Treasurer but has had to stop due to ill health.


Bryan Cockburn enlisted in 1954 as a National Serviceman and was discharged two years later as Corporal. After basic training at the old Depot in Richmond he was posted to Cyprus for 18 months, returning to Chester for his last six months. He has described his two years National Service as being the “best years of his life”. Coming from a family of butchers he completed his apprenticeship as a butcher, opening his first shop in Bedale at the age of 23. As a Master Butcher he owned five shops. After becoming a Member of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, he was later the National President.

He was granted the Freedom of the City of London in 1990. Being a Freeman gave him the right to herd sheep over London Bridge. He exercised this right in 2004. His drive began with 5 police officers in attendance but ended with 50 giving protection from the crowds who thought he was going to slaughter the animals. Bryan Cockburn describes himself as a “proud and true Yorkshireman” who supports his community in Bedale. He receives his Gold Badge at the age of 80.


Bernie Edwards was born in Dagsha (India). At the age of 15 he enlisted as a ‘band boy’ in 1955, following the family tradition set by his father Captain D.C. Edwards. After initial training he went to the Army School of Music at Kneller Hall for advanced training, gaining an excellent report. In 1956 he was posted to 1st Battalion in Hong Kong. Whilst stationed there he played, with other bandsmen, he played in a civilian orchestra, establishing an excellent relationship with local people. Later, he moved with the Battalion to Iserlohn (Germany) from where the Band travelled extensively throughout Europe, including Norway, to complete engagements. In 1963 he was posted to the Depot at Strensall to train Junior Bandsmen, and left the Army later that year.

Bernie Edwards was a member of Sheffield Branch until ill health prevented him from driving. He is now Secretary of Leeds Branch and was presented with his badge by Chairman Ken Spenceley.


25 Year Badges

Vince Carling - Eston & District Branch

Mark Berry - Eston & District Branch

Michael Westhead - Barnsley & District Branch

Eric Goose - Barnsley & District Branch

Darren Morrill - Hartlepool Branch

Paul Halliday - Independent

Peter Freeman - York Branch

Benny Mariott - Independent


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