Short personal account on receiving the Elizabeth Cross in memory of Cpl Stephen Prior

The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll is granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice.

On 25 March 2010, recipients of The Elizabeth Cross for nine service personnel killed in various conflicts since the Second World War joined together with family members at the Quebec TA Centre, Brighton for the a formal presentation evening. The event, which was also attended by HM Lord Lieutenants for East and West Sussex and serving and Territorial members of the Armed Forces included one award in recognition of the sacrifice of our own, Cpl Stephen 'Steve' Prior of A Coy, 2 PARA who was Killed In Action during the conflict at Goose Green, Falkland Islands, on 28 May 1982.

In attendance as the senior Official guest for the Parachute Regiment was Maj-Gen (retd) Dair Farrar-Hockley MC, who was Stephen's Company Commander with 2 PARA (and now a family friend).

The Commander of No 2 (South East) Brigade, (also Deputy Constable of Dover Castle), Brig Iain James OBE organised and formally presented the evening, supported by his PA, Ms Jan Hutchings and Capt Clive Phillimore of the Royal Logistic Corps who had presided over the arrangements for families.  Before each presentation he read out the individual tributes and Service histories of the fallen, calling forward each recipient in turn to receive their Cross from the appropriate Lord Lieutenant.

I accepted the Cross from Mr Peter Field, HM Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, on behalf of the family present which included his sister Joan and brothers AIan, Ian and Mark, together with Ian's son Pte Daniel Stephen Prior (now himself a serving member of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA)). Although his second sister Sandra was unable to attend the presentation, she viewed the Cross and Memorial Scroll later at her home with her daughter Donna after a family visit.

It was a very moving experience. The presentation had been arranged in the most dignified and sensitive way, perfectly balancing the formal and social segments of the evening in a way that only our Military could achieve. We were treated with respect, consideration and warmth by those on duty who welcomed and looked after us all. A small Gurkha band had played soft music throughout the evening helping to relax the soul. We enjoyed refreshments and some marvellous conversation, including some particularly interesting exchanges regarding the careers and actions of those we were remembering. It had been an enlightening and historic evening for all of us.

It was a great honour to share the evening with other families. We are so proud of our brother Steve. With the others, we stood proudly together!

We were greatly honoured to have received HM The Queen's Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll for Steve.

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