Catterick Garrison soldier awarded MBE

A Catterick Garrison-based soldier has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2022 for his vital rehabilitation role.

Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Roger Coates, 54, is part of the Battle Back team at Catterick Garrison’s Personnel Recovery Centre (North) and delivers training to troops who are injured, sick, or wounded.

The Coldstream Guardsman said: “This award would not have come if it wasn’t for the team I work with.

“They support me constantly and are willing to take a chance every now when I dream up something that initially seems a little bit crazy.”

WO2 Coates, a native of Dartmoor, is responsible for delivering adaptive sports and adventurous training to personnel navigating their personal recovery pathway.

A father to two children, Matthew and Lucy, the former Tavistock College pupil dabbles in everything from seated volleyball to Ironman triathlons, with a special emphasis now on remote wellbeing awareness since the onset of Covid-19.

He has led expeditions of wounded soldiers undergoing rehabilitation across places as far afield as the French Alps, with his passion for the role burning bright.

WO2 Coates said: “The short story is that I teach wounded troops to run, jump, swim, climb, wheel a chair, or push a bike with no pressure, no stigma, and in a safe, comfortable, and adaptive environment.

A veteran of operational tours to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, and Iraq, WO2 Coates initially joined the Army in 1984 before transferring to Reserve service in 2009.

Never one to rest on his laurels, the career soldier, whose father and brother also served in the forces, is now interested in gaining experience in beekeeping and yoga.

WO2 Coates concluded: “To be noticed by others for doing this is very humbling. It’s the best job I’ve ever had and they’ll have to drag me away from it when I finally retire.”