James (Jim) Sorbie

Awarded the M.B.E. in 2000 for his work in Kosovo

 

L to R: Jim Sorbie MBE, Christian Sorbie, Bettina Sorbie, Diane Lee (Jimís mother) outside Buckingham Palace.

 Jim is descended from John Sorbie, born 1740 and died 1788 in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire. John married Grizel Millar and they had 4 known children. Jim's ancestor was their son Thomas Sorbie born 1771 then his son Thomas born 1807 who married Isabella Brown. Following that there were four James's in a row spanning over 100 years and all living in the Lanarkshire area.

Jimís grandfather,  James Sorbie, emigrated to the USA and Canada in between the wars circa 1920 and his father, again James, was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1924. The family returned to the Scotland in 1939 for unknown reasons, finally settling in Coventry, England shortly after. Jim's father then joined the Navy in WW2 serving out the rest of the war.

Jim Sorbie Snr pictured in 1943 on a visit to the USA.

 Jim, following the military tradition, joined the British Army in February 1983 as a potential officer in the Parachute Regiment. After basic training, he attended the Royal Artillery Potential Officers course which he passed with flying colours. He failed however the Royal Commissions Board (Regular Officer Selection) but elected to stay in the Army as a soldier. After injuring his back in a parachute accident, he transferred to the Royal Military Police and soon after completed the Close Protection course. This meant that he spent much time as a bodyguard on deployment to Africa, Yugoslavia, the Middle East and many other places, often for 6 months or longer.

Jim keeps a close eye on British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Kosovo, 1999.

 Notable operations were in 1990/91 as the Close Protection Operative for the Commander 1st UK Armoured Division, Major General Rupert Smith, during the Gulf War to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqis. In 1995, Rupert Smith, now a Lieutenant-General and Commander of UN Forces in Bosnia, asked for Jim to be his nominated Bodyguard. During this conflict Jim saw very many faces of human interaction, among them ethnic cleansing, vicious cruelty by both sides and the destruction of a once mighty country. He was isolated in Sarajevo when the war restarted after a ceasefire and was with General Smith when visiting senior members of all sides, including Radovan Karadjic and Mlatko Radic, both now indicted war criminals.

 In 1999, Jim, as a Staff Sergeant, was the Platoon Commander of the Royal Military Police Parachute Platoon, part of 5 Airborne Brigade, which deployed to Kosovo as part of the NATO operation to resolve the conflict between the Serbians and the Kosovar Albanians. The Platoon was attached to the 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment (1 Para). He was again witness to some horrific acts and was responsible for the Close Protection of visiting VIPs to Kosovo, including Tony Blair and Madeleine Albright. Jim was also responsible for high level briefings and liaison between the Commanding Officer 1 Para and all other agencies.  For his service in Kosovo, Jim was awarded the 'Member of the British Empire' medal (MBE) in the 1999/2000 New Years Honours List. He went to Buckingham Palace in June 2000 and received the medal from the Queen.

Jim at the bottom of a canopy stack over Cyprus.

In 2003, Jim was commissioned into the Educational and Training Branch of the Adjutant Generalís Corps Ė AGC(ETS) Ė having been an instructor in many fields, including Close Protection, Weapon Training, Physical Training, Climbing and Mountain leadership among other subjects and wanted to pass knowledge to others. In 2007, he graduated from the Defence School of Languages after 2 years of studying Arabic and then served mainly in the Middle East, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and from 2010 to 2012 he lived in Kuwait with his family. 

Jim is an active sportsman and was Team Leader of The AGC Freefall Parachute Team from 2003 to 2005. He is also a keen musician and plays rock and blues guitar to a high standard, having formed many bands throughout his Army career. He will retire from the Army as Major in December 2012 after 30 years proud service and will be retiring to Canada. 

Jim in March 2010.

Jim is pictured at Hereford at the blind college doing a gig for Help for Heroes charity. It was very well attended a lots of money was raised for a very worthwhile cause. 

 

 

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