EOD Marshall, Stephen Michael

John Robertson

Staff member
Stephen Michael
  • UNIT
Fleet Diving Unit A,Royal Navy
  • RANK
Distinguished Service Cross
Persian Gulf 1991 (Op.Granby)
London Gazette 52588, 28th June 1991, Page 2


Distinguished Service Cross : Marshall flew from the United Kingdom to the Arabian Gulf on 29 December 1990, having received eight hours' notice to gather Fleet Diving Unit A (FDU A), of which he is the Officer in Charge, pack the required stores and depart for the airhead. Setting up his Unit at Jebel AH he organised his men's training for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) work and supervised the checking of all RN and RFA ships' underwater fittings as they arrived in theatre.

On 24 January 1991, FDU A embarked in RFA Sir Galahad and Marshall took part in the planning for, and trained his Unit for, possible amphibious operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf. During Operation Desert Slash he led FDU A with selflessness and great personal courage, resolutely guiding his men in countermining operations against buoyant and floating mines and supervising protracted dives on ground mines to bring them to the surface for exploitation. He showed conspicuous leadership by putting himself at the forefront of the action on many occasions and, in particular, deploying twice from helicopters to place charges on h've buoyant mines. Not content to allow anyone to stand into danger before himself, he tirelessly flew on numerous helicopter sorties as the supervisor of his EOD team to search for mines, frequently within ten miles of the enemy coast.

Moving ashore to Mina Ash Shuaybah on 5 March, he supervised the setting up of a base camp. Having coordinated plans with American and Australian Units, Marshall led FDU A in searching the harbours and environs of this port, Mina Ash Shuwaykh (Kuwait City) and Faylakah Island, rendering safe unstable live ordnance, beached mines, booby traps and Improvised Explosive Devices, clearing buildings and oil tankers of ordnance and taking on the gruesome task of recovering the bodies of dead Iraqi soldiers and Kuwaitis. Often these jobs required him and his Unit to first reach the scene through areas of anti-personnel mines and barbed wire. Throughout this extremely dangerous operation he showed a calm professionalism and dynamic leadership rarely seen in one of his years, and insisted on taking a fully active part in every aspect of the work.

The conditions under which FDU A operated were atrocious. With no infrastructure ashore the men subsisted in cargo containers on a jetty with no light, sanitation or potable water, in an atmosphere heavy with acrid smoke and toxic fumes from the oilfield fires burning inland, and diving in water with zero visibility due to the thick oil pollution. All the time they were at risk from random gunfire from uncontrolled factions of the local population. That his Unit's morale remained at a consistently buoyant level and that EOD operations were conducted in an eminently professional manner in the face of such adversity is entirely thanks to Marshall's outstanding leadership and remarkable man-management. .


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