Soldiering On Awards 2017: The Results

This years Soldiering On Awards  took place on the 24th of March, continuing its annual tradition of providing national recognition for the armed forces community. Located at the Park Plaza at Westminster Bridge Hotel, the spectacular event was hosted by TV presenter and former newsreader Angela Rippon, in the presence of the charity’s Patron Rt Hon Earl Howe PC. The evening focused on highlighting the outstanding achievements of those who have served their country and individuals and groups who work together with the Armed Forces Community. Spectra Group (UK) Ltd was honored to once again be able to support the evening.  

The event began with a Taittinger Champagne reception and included a three course banquet with wine, coffee and petit fours; an inspirational awards ceremony followed and great entertainment finished the evening. Spectra Group sponsored  the Sporting Excellence category, recognising the 6 finalists that had overcome their disability or injury to excel in the field of sport, as either an individual or as a team. CEO of Spectra Group UK, Simon Davies was on hand deliver the award to the winner.


Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, presenting the Team Award to Row2Recovery at the 2017 Soldiering On Awards.

Individual Winner: The Sporting Excellence Award was won by the extraordinary Owen Pick, a soldier who lost his leg in a Taliban bomb blast whilst serving in Afghanistan who has since become competitive snowboarder. Within 18 months of being discharged from the army, Owen hurtled up the World rankings, beating experienced able-bodied competitors. Owen is currently  rated 7th in the World and is on target for a podium place in the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea.


Team Winner:  

BLESMA Row to Recovery Team – In 2016 the team set a world record as the first all amputee crew to row across an ocean. The feat took 46 days, six hours and 49 minutes to complete and team finished eighth out of 26 taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Tyler Christopher – Tyler lost both legs above the knee in 2009. He played roller hockey before injury and found Ice sledge Hockey afterwards. Tyler began playing for a local team and was soon scouted by Team GB and is currently ranked 3rd in Britain.

Scotty Darroch – Scotty has dealt with a lot since first attending combat stress in 2013. He has since gone on to excel in sports through Help for Heroes, and the use of their recovery centres. Scotty competed in the 2015 warrior games and 2016 Invictus games in Orlando competing in six events.

Mark Smith – The routine and discipline Mark was used to in Army was harnessed to bodybuilding after he lost his leg in a live fire incident. Over the course of a year, Mark developed an incredible physique that could hold its own in the bodybuilding world. Mark has helped pave the way for other disabled competitors by contacting sports promoters and lobbying to have disabled categories added to the programmes.

Mark Threadgold –  After losing his sight, ending a 15-year career in the Army. Mark used sport to regain his confidence and has since taken part in the Great South Run and set his first world record as fastest blind circumnavigator of the Isle of Wight in a rigid inflatable boat. Mark incredibly set another world record for deepest scuba dive and closed-circuit rebreather dive by a blind person, and also cycled more than 150 miles from Brighton to Paris in three days.

Winners were selected by a distinguished Independent Judges Panel, co-chaired by General the Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL and Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive of the Directory of Social Change.

The Soldiering On Through Life Trust encourages support for the UK’s Armed Forces Community by nationally recognising the achievements of groups or individuals supporting this Community through the annual Soldiering On Awards.

What is COTM (Communications on the Move)?

Communications On The Move (COTM) is a term used to describe mobile communications capability, particularly in military applications, with regard to Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications.

A vital component for military command and control (C2) is the ability to communicate, share information and provide support for mobile groups of personnel anytime and anywhere.


In recent years, engagements have changed. Operations are increasingly asymmetric and non-linear. In order to maximise effectiveness, C2 needs systems that allow rapid response to changes as they occur. Whether the forward units are SOF, conventional or Joint Forces, if they are operating BLOS there needs to be a tactical communications solution to maintain C2. Standard in-service tactical radios, operating in the VHF and UHF frequency ranges, are limited to Line of Sight (LOS) so a solution for BLOS tactical communications is required.


Traditionally this has been enabled through the use of ground or airborne repeater stations but these are either expensive to deploy or require defending. Satellite technology is well suited to BLOS as it provides a flexible, reliable and high-capacity service that can cover a large area but, until recently, the antennae were either too large or needed to be pointed at the satellite, which meant pausing.

The basic principle of COTM is that equipment is fitted with an antenna that can establish communication without the need to stop or pause. COTM, Satcom-on-the-Move (SOTM) or satellite communications on the move are seemingly used interchangeably in the satellite industry, however SOTM encompasses all satellite options, including high-bandwidth maritime, land and vehicle options with large, power-hungry antenna.

As demand for better on-the-ground communication continues to increase, users of the latest modern military mobility equipment have begun focusing their attention on implementing the technology in satellite communications (SATCOM) to deliver data to and from hostile environments. To then implement the latest SATCOM technology and to make it militarily and commercially viable has become the challenge for SOTM equipment manufacturers.

When Spectra Group refers to COTM it is very specifically referring to low SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) systems that can be used at speed in any scenario, whether by dismounted personnel or on land, amphibious or airborne vehicles.

To provide a solution to military and commercial organisations with the necessity of communication on the move, Spectra developed Slingshot®.

SlingShot converts existing UHF and VHF tactical radios into devices capable of SATCOM. The SlingShot system is predominantly a pair of attachments that can be deployed quickly alongside existing equipment, providing a low cost (as new equipment does not need to be purchased, nor do operators require extensive retraining) solution that provides battle winning results.