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Royal Recognition for Sussex Reservist and Funeral Director

Lt Col Field’s 20-Year Service in the Army Reserves Celebrated

A Sussex Army officer, who balances his family-run business with his commitment to serving his country, has received royal recognition for his outstanding service in the Army Reserve.

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Field, Deputy Chairman of CPJ Field & Co Funeral Directors, was one of only four recipients of the King’s Volunteer Reserve Medal in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours.

CPJ Field & Co, the oldest funeral directors in the UK, operates funeral homes across East and West Sussex. Founded in 1690, it is a tenth-generation family-run business.

Lieutenant Colonel Field, with over 20 years of service in the Reserves, acknowledges the challenges of balancing a civilian career with military duties. “Life as a reservist may not be for everyone. At times it can be a struggle to fit in all your personal and military commitments, but for those that do go down that path the rewards – a sense of purpose, community, and personal growth – are worth it,” he said.

Reflecting on his career, Lt Col Field expressed his pride in being honoured. “I was incredibly surprised but immeasurably proud and grateful to be honoured. When I reflect on my career, I recognise that I have worked with some truly exceptional people, in particular during my role as Commanding Officer of The Royal Yeomanry.”

As the current Commanding Officer of The Royal Yeomanry Regiment, Lt Col Field is responsible for the command, leadership, and management of approximately 500 reserve soldiers who provide reinforcement to the full-time force when needed. Under his leadership, the regiment has deployed soldiers on operations in Iraq, Mali, and Poland to support NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.

The Royal Yeomanry, a reconnaissance regiment, gathers intelligence on the enemy and the local environment. It has squadrons based in Nottingham, Croydon, Dudley, Telford, London, and Cardiff, and is the senior Armoured Regiment in the Army Reserves.

Lt Col Field’s military career began in 2000 when he joined the University Officer Training Corps while studying Politics at Leicester University. “I was planning to join the Regular Army as a member of the Queen’s Royal Lancers. I was mobilised to serve with them as a Troop Leader. It was a wonderful experience but, in the end, I decided to remain as a reservist and joined the Royal Yeomanry,” he said.

He shared memorable moments from his career, including leading soldiers on operations in Iraq in 2004 and leading the Royal Yeomanry contingent in the procession marking the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. “It was a proud moment and one I will always remember,” he remarked.

Reflecting on his long service, Lt Col Field said, “I’ve been in the Army since I was 18 years of age – the whole of my adult life. I’ve experienced some amazing things and I have seen how we can help to achieve good amid something truly awful like COVID.”

“During my service, wherever I have been deployed or worked, I have made strong friendships and connections along the way. I have never left a job without making new friends or contacts. I don’t regret a single moment.”

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