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Nairnshire diver 'amazed' after receiving MBE for 'pivotal role' in bomb disposal

By Federica Stefani

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Family picture: Rory with his mother Dawn and his sister Tara.
Family picture: Rory with his mother Dawn and his sister Tara.

A BOMB disposal diver is “absolutely elated” after being awarded an MBE for his service.

Rory Cartwright-Taylor (37), whose family hails from Loch Flemington, was recognised for his “pivotal role” as part of the Diving and Threat Exploitation Group, which deploys worldwide to support Royal Navy operations – from dealing with mines and underwater explosives to carrying out challenging engineering tasks on submarines.

The honour is not something Mr Cartwright-Taylor – a former pupil at Cawdor Primary and Nairn Academy – had seen coming.

Now based at Faslane, he said: “It was amazing news.

Rory with Leading Diver "Spike" Hughes.
Rory with Leading Diver "Spike" Hughes.

“For someone of my ranking – a Leading Seaman Diver – it’s not something that you usually get put forward for to be absolutely honest.”

Mr Cartwright-Taylor developed a passion for diving at an early age.

“I have been diving since the age of 10 years old, just socially, and diving with my mum and dad,” he said.

“I went to work in Oban for five years. There I used to teach for the Professional Association for Diving Instructors (PADI) – since I was 18.

“When in Oban, I came across divers from the navy and it looked like they were having a great time, and I was like: ‘Oh wow, I’d fancy a bit of that.”

Rory Cartwright-Taylor.
Rory Cartwright-Taylor.

He then entered the Armed Forces, starting in Inverness then moving around the UK for training periods in Plymouth, Portsmouth and elsewhere.

“It was my grandparents who really pushed me towards joining the navy,” he said.

“My grandfather was in the Watch, so he was in the forces as well.

“Both of them are dead now unfortunately, and probably this is the one thing I probably regret – that they are not here for this achievement. They were so proud of me being in the navy.”

After 16 years in the forces, many spent dealing with disposing of the dangerous remnants of World War II in the UK and around the world, Mr Cartwright-Taylor said there are still moments of fear in his job.

Rory Cartwright-Taylor on duty.
Rory Cartwright-Taylor on duty.

“Sometimes it’s still absolutely terrifying,” he said. “I have a family that I love and cherish and I want to go back home to at the end of the day.”

He now lives in Clydebank, just outside Glasgow, with his partner Lorna and her two sons Ryan (24) and Scott (19).

“I think they know that I am a very safe person – I want to come home to them at the end of the day,” he said.

“You go through a lot of training before even approaching anything of that sort, and you keep on being taught throughout your career.”

Of his recent honour – which comes after his team received the Churchill Medal last year – he believe it is due to being available whenever needed.

“I sacrificed a lot of time,” he said. “When there was the opportunity or it was required, at the end of the day we go out to do a certain job.”

Currently training to become a petty officer diver he said: “It’s a fantastic achievement, and overwhelming honour, but nothing changes.

“I’ll continue to do the work that I do to the best of my ability.”

Mr Cartwright-Taylor is currently waiting to be invited to receive the investiture in person.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “As a Leading Diver, Cartwright-Taylor has played a pivotal role in the Diving and Threat Exploitation Group’s successful completion of complex and physically demanding diving tasks that have safeguarded defence strategic objectives worldwide.

“Undertaking challenging diving tasks in support of defence’s number one strategic output, he has offered unwavering loyalty and commitment.

“Upholding the highest of standards of professionalism throughout, he has set a fine example of operational excellence and directly contributed to Royal Navy output.”

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