OEs to the fore at ‘cracking’ wedding

OEs to the fore at ‘cracking’ wedding

Old Elizabethans were well represented at Captain Charles Russell’s country wedding to Rebecca Johnston.

“It was a cracking day. I was very lucky to have two of my closest friends from Underne and QE days, Devesh Parekh and Andrew Bershadski, to celebrate with us,” said Charlie, who, like Devesh and Andrew, attended QE from 1997 to 2004. “Richard Morrison, who often plays the organ at the Founder’s Day Service, also played the organ for us,” he added.

Charlie is currently on the permanent staff at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Surrey, where he is due to remain until June 2015.

The happy couple’s Guard of Honour was made up of friends and colleagues from his battalion, The First Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1RGR).

They were married at St Mary the Virgin Church in Becky’s home village of Elmley Castle in Worcestershire.  The reception was held in the gardens, with the wedding breakfast followed by dancing in the Tithe Barn at Stanway House, just across the border in Gloucestershire.

Last year, Charlie welcomed the School’s Combined Cadet Force when they called in at the Officers’ Mess on a visit to Sandhurst.

In July 2010, Charlie was quoted in a Ministry of Defence announcement, which pointed to the rapid improvements brought about by joint patrols between 1RGR and Afghan National Army (ANA) troops in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The patrols had “seen the pernicious influence of insurgents in the village of Piand Kalay diminish and a new level of normality return for the local people”, the announcement stated.

Charlie, who was then a Second Lieutenant, explained at the time: “Four weeks ago when I used to patrol through the village on a daily basis I’d be lucky if I spoke to three or four people. It was an empty village, the locals were intimidated, they were scared to come to talk to us because they’d be seen interacting with ISAF [the International Security Assistance Force] and ANA.

“Now, when we walk through the village from checkpoint to checkpoint and push out into the Green Zone, they welcome us – they want to speak to us. They are a little intimidated but the overall impression is that they are happy with us in the village and they want to see more progress.”

Charlie was injured in Afghanistan in 2010. In summer 2011, he attended a reception for wounded servicemen and women hosted by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in the grounds of Highgrove, their Gloucestershire home. The Prince of Wales is Colonel in Chief of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.