Derek’s poignant award
A HEARTBROKEN father whose soldier son was killed in a bomb blast in Northern Ireland has told of his “pride and sadness” at collecting an award in his son’s honour.
Walter Green’s son Derek was just 20 when he was killed by a booby trap bomb attached to an army minibus in the Lisburn Market Square, County Antrim, in June 1988.
Tragically, Derek, a Lance Corporal with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, had been offered a post in Germany and might not even have been in Northern Ireland at the time of the blast had he switched jobs.
Walter, 63, of Haresfinch, collected the Elizabeth Cross award from the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside in his son’s honour recently alongside his wife Olga, 63, and daughter Helen, 40.
He told the St Helens Reporter: “We all felt a mixture of pride and sadness on the day. Every birthday, Christmas and anniversary brings all the sadness and emotion back for us and this was no different.
“People say time is a healer but you never get over something like that - you just have to learn to live with it.
“But we were always very proud of Derek’s determination to fight for what he believed in.”
Derek, a former Allanson Street Primary and Rivington High pupil, first joined the Sea Cadets as a teenager before switching to the Army Cadets.
After several months serving with the Cadets, he collected an excellent report from his superiors, passed a medical and joined the regular army.
As one of the youngest soldiers to be posted in Northern Ireland, Lance Corporal Green appeared destined for great things.
But his life was brought to a tragic end on June 15, 1988.
His post in Northern Ireland proved his first and last as a serving soldier.
Derek’s name can now be found etched into the St Helens War Memorial on Victoria Square.
The Elizabeth Cross award, which commemorates how Lcpl Green “gave his life for Queen and country”, was presented to Derek’s family by the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead.
Following a poignant ceremony at the TAC Barracks in Liverpool, Dame Lorna Muirhead spent 20 minutes chatting with the Green family and consoling them for their devastating loss.
Walter described her as “a very down to earth woman”.
But Derek’s dad also told how he fondly remembers how his son was always at the centre of all the fun in the family too.
He added: “Derek was a very responsible young man but he was also a joker. I remember picking him up from Liverpool Airport on one occasion and on the way back he wound the car window down and shouted at a group of youngsters ‘I’m Mick Dundee from Australia’!”