He said: “I was in utter shock when I was told I was to receive the MBE. When I saw on the news how many people had been tested at the mobile testing sites run by the military, I was really proud because I’d helped achieve that, but I never expected to receive an award. I’m not sure I deserve it. Nothing we do in the Army is done by one individual it’s always a team effort.”
The mobile testing units helped the UK Government achieve the goal of 100,000 coronavirus tests a day. When the Government met its testing target on 30 April the MMTUs was delivering over 20% of the UK’s COVID-19 testing.
Corporal Hemmings citation states: “Every one of the 1104 military personnel in the 92 MMTUs had been trained by his team. Without his leadership and relentless effort, well above that expected of his rank the Army would not have trained sufficient MMTUs to meet the promise to Department of Health and Social Care.”
Corporal Hemmings continued: “I was part of a great team who supported each other. It included Corporal Matthew Freeney, Corporal Shaun Wormall, and Corporal Jamie Frost. Together we wrote the plan that would be used to deliver the training across the whole of the Army. There was also my Officer Commanding, Major Thomas, he was always there at the end of the phone and our Sergeant Major; Warrant Officer Class Two Davidson, who arranged delivery of the personal protection equipment so we could start the training. It really was a team effort.”
He added: “We were given the training objectives we needed to achieve and had to come up with the lesson plans from scratch. We took the Army template that we would normally use to deliver lesson plans and battle exercises and applied it to this.
“Safety was always going to be the main priority. I had to ensure the training made it clear how to safely change personal protection equipment, so we didn’t spread the infection.
“In the first week, we trained around 48 people a day and then went on to train and validate more instructors so they could deliver training.”