AN army major from Redditch has been honoured with a MBE from Prince William for her efforts in attracting more women to join the armed forces.

Major Louise Bates heads up the army's female engagement section to attract more women and girls to see the armed forces as a career option.

Her role follows two decades of service in the army, which includes time spent overseas working as a translator in conflicts around the world.

Paying tribute to Major Bates, Major General David Eastman, said the accolade was for her work "championing Army opportunities for young women and girls; getting the Army better connected with and within female society.”

Major Bates has seen how things have changed for women in the army since she joined up in 1988 as she joined a segregated army joining the female-only Women’s Royal Army Corps.

Today, women are integrated throughout the ranks with all roles open regardless of gender.

Speaking about her experience when she joined up, Major Bates said: "When I joined the Army, I had to sign a document to say that I would not become pregnant and that I was straight!”

Major Bates grew up in Redditch and attended the former Abbey High School along with her sisters Wendy and Joanne and brother Tom, before studying French, German and Russian at Essex University.

While studying she decided to join the army for the variety of career opportunities on offer.

She was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1988 when she joined the Women's Royal Army Corps.

Her language skills took her around the world as an interpreter and saw her work in warzones and humanitarian crises, including in Bosnia in 1993 and Rwanda in 1994.

Major Louise Bates’s investiture took place amid the grandeur of the King Charles II Dining Room.