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The Military Liaison Officer

Major Deirdre Barr OStJ BEM TD DL VR RN(A)

Deidre Barrs In 1979 Deirdre was commissioned as volunteer nurse in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps and served with the Territorial Army for 28 years taking part in major exercises and she was also Deputy Matron of the Field Hospital before retiring to focus on her senior NHS job.

From the age of 12 years Deirdre has been involved in volunteering, starting as a St John Ambulance Cadet and returning in 2010 following retirement from the Army. Deirdre is currently the Regional Clinical Manager for St John Ambulance for London, overseeing all its Health Care Professionals, providing clinical expertise to the planning of events and major occasions including the Queens Platinum Jubilee, Operation London Bridge and more recently the Coronation of King Charles 111, and has been awarded the Order of St John.

In 2020 during the Covid pandemic Deirdre assumed the role of Director of Operations for the Nightingale Hospital London with the mission to build a 4000-bed critical care facility to support the NHS. She was awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of this work in the New Year’s Honours in 2020.

Livery Companies have long supported the Armed Forces, and most Companies continue to support one or more regular, reserve or cadet units. Some Companies have an obvious connection based upon professional and shared interests, whilst others may be based on historical context. Such affiliations provide an opportunity for Companies to demonstrate their support for and commitment to members of His Majesty’s Armed Forces, and to recognise those individuals who contribute significantly within their respective units.

The Worshipful Company of Nurses has established relationships with military nurses, a number of whom are Freemen of the Company. The role of Military Liaison Officer provides the interface between the Company and the military. Our initial relationship is with Army Reserve Nurses, and it is hoped that over time this will expand to other military services. The role will also be to arrange for the Master to visit a military unit to see how nurses are trained and contribute to the unit, and this will feature in coming years as an annual event.

A Military Cup has been kindly donated by Col Jane Carey-Harris TD DL VR, to be awarded annually to a nurse who has made a significant contribution to their unit. The criteria have been agreed between the military and the Company, and the cup will be awarded at our Company Dinner in November, where the recipient will be invited to dine with us. It is hoped that through our engagement, the military will become more informed about the role of Livery Companies, their function and purpose, and to encourage engagement.