Stephen ‘Baz’ Alan Bardsley, a Manchurian, joined The Parachute Regiment in 1979. After training and gaining the coveted Red Beret he was posted to Northern Ireland in January 1980 serving at Ballykinler.
In 1982 with the Battalion he embarked to the South Atlantic, serving in B Company under the command of Major John Crossland MC and 2 Para OC Colonel H Jones VC.
In the early hours of 28 May, the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment launched an attack to take enemy positions in the area of the Darwin and Goose Green settlements on the Island of East Falkland. Lance Corporal Bardsley was a Section Commander during the night advance on Goose Green. He led his men in a series of close quarter attacks on enemy positions.
As the dawn came his men were pinned down by enemy fire. Unruffled, he organised an orderly withdrawal. In withdrawing one of his men was wounded; disregarding his own safety, Lance Corporal Bardsley returned to rescue him. Thereafter, he continued to lead his men with distinction in further actions through the day. Lance Corporal Bardsley showed impressive leadership and courage, and was awarded the MM for his actions.
Following the Falklands war he rose through the ranks and with the rank of Colour Sergeant in 1990 he was selected for an exchange with the US Army. He was posted to Fort Bragg, attached to the 82nd US Airborne Division, and soon gained the respect of his US counterparts.
Colour Sergeant Bardsley was acting as a Platoon Sergeant with the 2/505th Recon Platoon, when orders came through for deployment of the Platoon to the Gulf. Without hesitation he hopped on the transport plane and was deployed with his Recon unit. For his combat operational service he was awarded the US Bronze Star and the British Army Medal.
Citation for the BEM: ‘You were posted to the United States Army's 82nd airborne division in April 1990 where you had been employed as a rifle platoon Sgt on deployment to the Persian Gulf you demonstrated your powers of innovation by designing and organising realistic and effective field firing facilities that proved to be critical in achieving required standards of operational readiness in the battalion. During the operation phase of the fighting it was your display of initiative, the ability to inspire your men and a readiness to share and apply your experience from the Falklands war that contributed so greatly to the success of your unit missions and so, Colour Sergeant Bardsley, I am commanded by Her Majesty the Queen to present to you the medal of the order of the British Empire for meritorious service.’ (From the London Gazette, 29 June 1991).
Citation for the United States Bronze Star: ‘For exceptionally meritorious achievements in support in actions against a hostile force in the Persian Gulf from 17 January 1991 to 20th of March 1991 while assigned to Company C, Second Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. As the First Sergeant and Infantry Platoon Sergeant, Colour Sergeant Bardsley's performance in combat operations was a key factor that enabled the 82nd Airborne Division in conjunction with coalition forces to implement United Nations Security Council resolutions, end Iraqi aggression and free the country of Kuwait. His devotion in duty, aggressiveness and ability to excel while under great pressure contributed significantly to the successful accomplishment of the mission. Colour Sergeant Bardsley demonstrated the high ideals and professionalism exemplified by the airborne tradition. His outstanding performance in support of the combat mission reflect distinct credit upon himself, the 82nd Airborne Division and the United States Army’. (From the London Gazette, 8 June 1993).
Returning from the Gulf he remained with the 82nd until April 1992 when he returned to the Regiment and took up the duties of CQMS Headquarters Company. After further postings, he left the Regiment in 2001.
Stephen Bardsley died on 3 June 2014.
Eulogy by Denzil Connick.
Edited by Rebecca BlackburnRead More