Episode 051 – WO2 Paul Baines

WO2 Paul Baines, MC joined the British Army on the 6th of April, 1996 at the Exeter Recruiting Office.  He completed his Basic Training at the Guards Depot in Pirbright, Surrey, then completed Infantry training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick.  He passed in October, 1996 as a Guardsman and joined the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards in Oxford Barracks, Munster in Germany.

Throughout his Army career he has participated in high profile state ceremonial events such as the Trooping of the Colour, visits of foreign dignitaries and more frequently Queen’s Guards at Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace, Windsor Castle and Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress at the Tower of London.  As a Colour Sergeant, he was the Senior Sergeant of the Colour party on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee when the 1st Battalion trooped their new Colour in 2012.

He has completed a number of overseas exercises in places such as Belize, Poland, Canada, Germany and the United States of America to name a few.  He has also a wealth of experience in operational theatres such as The Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.

WO2 Baines’ career has been exceptionally varied and diverse;  he began as a Guardsman in a Rifle company, but soon demonstrated that he had the skill set to specialize in other areas.  He seized the opportunity early and became a ski instructor and then spent his first two winters in Germany posted to Bavaria.  On returning to England, he joined the Reconnaissance Platoon and completed two tours in Northern Ireland; one as a patrol team member working with an intelligence group and the second in the Close Observation Platoon working in support of Special Forces.  It wasn’t long before he was promoted again and spent two years as an instructor at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick as a Section Commander.  When he finished at the ITC, he joined the Battalion on a tour in Iraq.  He had already qualified as a Sniper earlier in his career, so after completing the Platoon Sergeants’ Battle Course, he was then promoted and given the Command of the Sniper Platoon in charge of some of the best and most highly trained soldiers in the Regiment.  Being the man he is; when a volunteer was needed to take away a Platoon of Coldstreamers to Afghanistan attached to the right flank of the Scots Guards, he obliged.  He then completed a six-month tour in command of a Rifle Platoon of 30 soldiers living and operating in the harshest conditions.  Whilst on this tour of Afghanistan, he was given a Joint Commander’s Commendation for his actions carried out in a Taliban ambush.  Within 18 months, he found himself with the remainder of the Battalion going again to Afghanistan.  By now Baines was a Senior Sergeant and still in Command of the Sniper Platoon and deployed to one of the most hostile areas of Helmand.  This operational tour would prove to be exceptionally brutal with many members of the Battalion returning seriously injured and a number of fatalities.  WO2 Baines was awarded the Military Cross for actions carried out under enemy fire.  Shortly after returning from Afghanistan, Baines was promoted and posted to Sierra Leone for 14 Months as an Infantry Instructor at the International Military Training and Advisory Team.  He worked with the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, the British Embassy and other non-governmental run agencies proving that he could communicate well with a whole spectrum of people and their cultures.  He returned to Windsor and joined the Battalion where he was placed in to a Company Quartermaster Sergeant’s role where he administered a company of 150 soldiers.  WO2 Baines assumed the position of Regimental Recruiting Warrant Officer and records show that in 2014-15, the Coldstream Guards recruiting tame had hit 98% of its recruiting target; this was testament to his hard work and dedication.

WO2 Baines was medically discharged from the British Army in 2015 with an exemplary assessment written by his Commanding Officer.  Paul collaborated with members of his Regiment, before and after his release to produce a book; the Commemorative Album entitled 10 Years In Afghanistan; Guardsmen’s Stories which is available for purchase at the Regimental on line shop.  All proceeds of this book go to injured and struggling veterans of the Coldstream Guards.

Paul resides in Torquay with his wife and is pursuing an apprenticeship as a plumber.


Sergeant Paul Baines in Afghanistan where he and his comrades were awarded the Military Cross.


Paul Baines serves as a Lance Sergeant while deployed in Iraq.


Paul Baines training in the UK as a Lance Sergeant; an appointment given to a Corporal so they could fill a post usually held by a Sergeant.

Sgt Paul Baines

Paul patrols through some early corn growth in Afghanistan.


In 2010, Colour Sgt Paul Baines was awarded the Military Cross with Sergeant Adam Swift, Corporal Sarah Bushbye, Lance Corporal Daniel Fletcher and Lance Corporal Marc Reader.  The medals were presented by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace.


WO2 Baines during the Trooping of the Colour in 2012.


 WO2 Paul Baines meets with HRH Prince Harry on Poppy Day, 2014.


WO2 Baines collaborated with members of his Regiment to produce the Commemorative Album entitled 10 Years In Afghanistan; Guardsmen’s Stories which is available for purchase at the Regimental on line shop.

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