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Queen’s Commendation for Bravery award for Hythe army Captain Lucy Russell who saved drowning swimmers off Lepe beach



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SAVING two swimmers from drowning off Lepe beach earned an army captain a special commendation from the Queen.

Captain Lucy Russell (42), from Hythe, sprang into action while off duty and enjoying a trip to the New Forest seaside with her wife and two children last summer.

The pair had been caught in a current and were being swept away before Capt. Russell intervened.

Captain Russell sprang into action while off duty enjoying a trip to the New Forest seaside
Captain Russell sprang into action while off duty enjoying a trip to the New Forest seaside

The former lifeguard has now been awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery (QCB) in the latest awards list in recognition of the brave and swift rescue.

Recalling the incident, Capt. Russell said: “I was standing in the sea and my wife was taking a photo, and at that point I could hear something and wasn’t too sure what it was.

“When I turned around, I could see two little black dots in the distance and that’s when I realised there were a couple of people in trouble.

“At that point I said to my wife, ‘I guess I’m going swimming’, kicked off my flip-flops and then went out to the people in trouble.”

Reacting to the award, Capt. Russell said it was a “complete surprise” as she had since forgotten about the incident.

“It’s nice to be recognised but I was a little bit embarrassed, too,” she continued.

“Before I joined the army, I was a lifeguard, so I am a confident swimmer, and I had no worries about actually going into the sea.

Army Captain Lucy Russell saved two swimmers from drowning off Lepe beach
Army Captain Lucy Russell saved two swimmers from drowning off Lepe beach

“It was a strong current, but I wasn’t really fazed by it.

“You don’t really think about that when you’re swimming. You know what you’ve got to do, and you just do it.”

The award citation told how she gave instructions to the male swimmer so he could stay safe until rescued. She then focussed on attending to the weaker female swimmer who was distressed, and dragged her back to the shore.

It said: “Her quick thinking and brave actions saved the lives of two swimmers who were in difficulty in the sea having been caught in the strong currents and stranded some distance from the coast.

Capt Russell, of the Royal Logistic Corps, is 2IC (second in command of) 73 Training Squadron, Logistic Specialist Training Wing (LSTW) at Marchwood.

More than 21 years of military service has included three operational deployments.

Before commissioning in 2019, Capt. Russell was RSM at 29 Regiment RLC. She spent a large part of her army career training other troops, namely at Army Training Regiment (ATR) Pirbright and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS).



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