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  • Published: 15 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099564522
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $26.99

Always By My Side

Losing the love of my life and the fight to honour his memory




A powerful and inspiring story of a war widow’s determination to fulfill the promise she’d made to her husband in the likelihood of his death

Christina was married to Olaf Schmid, a British Army bomb disposal expert killed in action on his last day of service in Afghanistan on 31st October 2009 aged just 30. Olaf ‘Oz’ Schmid was one of only a handful of such experts serving in the UK armed forces and he would later receive a posthumous Gorge Cross which celebrated his ‘selfless gallantry, his devotion to duty, and his indefatigable courage’. Since his death, Christina has captured the hearts and minds of the British public as she’s displayed phenomenal bravery and composure in the face of this most shocking reality.

Christina and Oz were completely devoted to each other and planned to embrace civilian life in Oz’s native Cornwall just as soon as Oz could take his next leave. The last time they spoke was a lengthy and agonizing phone call just two days before his death. By this point Oz hadn’t had a break in 5 ? months and was just about ready to drop. His health had deteriorated quite significantly and this once stoical and controlled man was begging for his wife to come and get him. Christina tried to remain as positive as possible – what on earth was going to happen to him in the two days before he was due to come home? Gradually positive thoughts gave way to negative until eventually the inevitable happened and Christina’s worst nightmare came true. The night Oz was due to come off duty Christina heard the knock at the door to inform her of her husband’s death.

Christina’s is a powerful story: it’s an old fashioned love story first and foremost yet it offers unprecedented access to behind the scenes of one of the most stressful and lonely jobs in the armed forces and will give strength to any reader who’s ever questioned their luck. Both she and Oz had talked candidly of the possibility of his death and he’d asked her to speak up on behalf of his fellow soldiers should the worst happen. It's this promise that has kept her going – within hours of receiving the news of his death Christina ensured it was announced on the news lest another military family hear of a soldier being killed and worry it might have been their loved one. At Oz’s repatriation Christina stood up tall and applauded the hearse carrying Oz’s coffin, declared her pride in him as a soldier, husband and father and reassured him of her love. At his funeral she pinned his medals proudly to her chest, stood up in front of the packed congregation and urged politicians to ‘fight with his spirit, dedication and integrity day in, day out, for peace’. And over one year on she remains committed to promoting solidarity and support amongst British soldiers. Christine’s plight transcends the messy world of politics - although many Britons might not agree with the political aims of conflict in Afghanistan, they can wholeheartedly appreciate the personal cost for the troops and their relatives.

  • Published: 15 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099564522
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $26.99

About the author

Christina Schmid

Christina is the widow of Staff Sergeant Olaf 'Oz' Schmid GC, of 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, who, aged thirty, was killed trying to disarm a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Afghanistan on 31 October 2009.

Since the death of her husband, Christina has spoken powerfully about a number of issues surrounding the Armed Forces and has presented her own BBC One Panorama investigation into the work of High Threat Bomb Disposal Officers.In May 2010 Christina received the Elizabeth Cross from the Princess Royal, and in June she attended Buckingham Palace and received the George Cross, awarded posthumously to her husband, in a private ceremony with Her Majesty, The Queen.

Christina is a Patron of Tickets For Troops and lives in Hampshire with her son Laird.

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