Meet Harley Whitehead – British Volunteer Certified EOD Technician in Ukraine

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Image shown in header above shows an arm chevron of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army. Public Domain.

This article was updated on 12 January 2024. Reason for update: Added a YouTube video link about Harley from Professor Gerdes Explains channel.

If you prefer to skip the introduction and go straight to Harley’s YouTube channel, please scroll down to the link further down on this page.

About Harley Whitehead

Harley, from Blackburn in Lancashire, is a certified British EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Technician who saves lives by supporting the Ukrainian Volunteer Army with mine-clearing operations.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Harley was a Kyiv resident, having moved to Ukraine in 2019.

After the invasion, Harley went to Kosovo, where he enrolled on a course to qualify as an EOD technician. He graduated in June 2023 as an EOD Technician in Humanitarian Demining.

The associated Twitter post shows Harley and fellow graduates proudly displaying their EOD Technician graduation certificates at MAT in Kosovo.

Harley is the second person from the left in the top row.

Harley Whitehead receives Brother for Brother medal

On 12 October 2023, Harley was awarded Ukraine’s Brother for Brother medal.

This medal is awarded to foreigners for sacrifices to Ukraine since 2014.

Harley sources a variety of equipment from the UK, and he has been instrumental in supplying volunteer combat medic Brandon Mitchell of the Hospitallers Medical Battalion with radios destined for the front lines of Ukraine. Harley frequently travels to the UK to source these radios and demining equipment for the Ukrainian Volunteer Army. Recently, with winter in mind, Harley has sourced and delivered thermal suits for the deminers.

Another recent project is the purchase of a 3D printer. This printer will be used to print models of PFM mines to educate school children about the dangers of the mines. PFM mines are Soviet and Russian anti-infantry high-explosive mines and are also known as “butterfly mines” or “petal mines.” The mines can be deployed from aeroplanes, helicopters and mortars. They glide to the ground without exploding and explode later upon contact.

Mine dimensions: 119 x 64 x 20 mm (4.69 x 2.52 x 0.79 in). Source: Wikipedia. Accessed 30 October 2023.

PFM mine.
PFM mine

Image: Mike1979 Russia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

EastLancs4Ukraine Charity – Harley started his work

When the war in Ukraine started, Harley founded the EastLancs4Ukraine charity, which he continues to run with his partner Kara. Harley and Kara have made numerous trips with essential medicines and food for displaced civilians.

The associated photograph shows Harley’s truck loaded with supplies bound for the eastern front.

The photograph is from 23 November 2022.

Harley Whitehead is a self-funded volunteer

As a self-funded volunteer, Harley depends on donations to carry out his life-saving work in Ukraine. Donations enable him to equip the Ukrainian Volunteer Army deminers with the best demining and safety equipment available.

The associated video features Harley giving an excellent explanation of the current state of humanitarian demining in the Kherson region.

Podcast from Rick The Ukrainian’s channel with guest Harley Whitehead. Dated 8 October 2023.

Slide the above podcast video forward to 49:50 seconds to view Harley’s appearance on the podcast.

What is Humanitarian Demining?

Humanitarian Demining VS Military Demining

Humanitarian Demining is the process of mine clearance at a community level. For instance, mined fields are demined so they can be returned to agricultural use.

Military Demining is undertaken by soldiers to create a safe path to enable an army to advance or retreat.

Source: United Nations. 5 Pillars of Mine Action. Paragraph 2. Accessed 2 September 2023.

TM 62 anti-tank mines are most commonly found by Harley Whitehead.
Image: Dsns.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The above information is what I have learnt about Harley Whitehead from his social media channels, which I have listed at the foot of this post.

This is Your Chance to donate to Harley Whitehead’s humanitarian appeal

Your valuable donation, great or small, will save lives in Ukraine.

Harley’s Official Donation Links

Harley’s Social Media Channels


Related Post

Article about Combat Medic Brandon Mitchell.

Brandon Mitchell is a Canadian Volunteer Combat Medic in Ukraine

Brandon is a Canadian volunteer combat medic with the Hospitallers Medical Battalion of Ukraine. This post introduces Brandon and links to his fundraiser pages.

Hospitallers Medical Battalion chevron attribution: Pvladko, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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