A Cumbrian soldier who took on the role of his absent officer to deliver vital supplies to one of the deadliest regions in southern Afghanistan has been awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) in the latest Operational Honours and Awards.
Sgt Lee Topliss from Maryport serves with the Royal Logistic Corps. He was an acting sergeant during his six-month deployment. But when his troop commander went away on a course, Lee had to assume responsibility at least four ranks above his own, leading combat logistic patrols in areas such as Helmand’s notorious Nad e-ali district.
Tasked with heading up the Immediate Replenishment Group for more than half his deployment, Lee and his team of 15-20 personnel braved the daily threat of small arms’ attack and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Now promoted to sergeant, 35-year-old Lee – known as Toppy to his friends – recalls:
Lee’s citation reads:
After learning about his award, Lee said:
He attended Netherall School in Maryport before joining the Army in 1996. After basic training he was posted to 10 Regiment RLC in Colchester, and completed operational tours in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo.
Lee is married with four daughters and now works as a quad bike instructor teaching casualty extraction in the Special Training Division at the Defence School of Transport –Europe’s largest driving school – at Leconfield, near Beverley in Humberside.
His father Joseph Topliss lives in Frizington, near Whitehaven.