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  1. ITV Report

Rewarded for acts of sheer bravery

Troops gathered at Admiralty House to receive their honours. Photo:

The thing that strikes you as youwalk in the door of the smart room at Admiralty House in Whitehall, is how young they are.

The military men and women whose feats have brought them first to the attention of their commanding officers, and then right up thechain of command to those who decide who should be awarded for going well beyond the demands of the job.

And then what I noticed is that, without exception, each and every one of them is so humbled, maybe even embarassed to have been brought before the media, to tell us what they did to get their awards.

Corporal Carl Taylor from the Mercian Regiment Credit: Press Association

Take Corporal Carl Taylor from the Mercian Regiment. A year ago, in Afghanistan his company came under heavy fire by a compound near a village. There they found some distressed mothers, whose children were trapped outside, cowering by a wall and afraid to move for fear of being hit by gunfire from the insurgents.

The 25-year-old Brummie whose partner back home was expecting their first child, simply left the compound and ran across open ground in front of the enemy, grabbed one of the children under his arm and shelding him with his body, ran back to safety. He then did the same with the remaining two, one under each arm.

"I did it on autopilot," he told me, not thinking of the possible consequences until later, only seeing that some young children had found themselves in the middle of a situation no child should ever encounter. He has been given a Military Cross.

Serjeant Deacon Daniel Cutterham from The Rifles. Credit: Press Association

Serjeant Deacon Daniel Cutterham from The Rifles similarly acted on instinct when a grenade was thrown into his path as he and his men moved through an irrigation ditch, knee deep in water. With only seconds to spare, he ran to the grenade, found it in the water and dropped it into a neighbouring ditch, to save the men behind him.

"I had a responsibility to them," he told me as he picked up a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, only a level below the Victoria Cross.

Sapper Benjamin McMurray from the Royal Engineers. Credit: Press Association

Getting any words out of 23-year-old Sapper Benjamin McMurray from the Royal Engineers was difficult.

Shy, unassuming and looking like he wished he was back at work, he told me, with much coaxing, of how last July, he stepped on a Improvised Explosive Device, the dreaded IED, and was knocked over but survived as it only partially exploded. A rare occurrence. God must have been looking out for me he told me.

But then having gone through that, he got up and lead his team to safety. With his Team Commander injured in a further explosion, he volunteered to lead the team, spending the next four days searching often on his hands and knees for possible IEDs, to make routes safe for his colleagues. But I had to get most of that story out of an Army Press Officer standing beside him. Sapper McMurray simply felt too awkward to talk about his heroics.

There were so many more stories from the fields of Afghanistan and Libya, so many more cases of bravery beyond the call of duty. In a period of terrible losses, those who have died and those who have lived to tell their stories in person and be recognised for them, remind everyone of the job they do.