An Army explosives specialist from York has received a medal at Buckingham Palace for his bravery in defusing a massive Taliban bomb.
Captain James Fidell said he was "flattered" to receive the Queen's GallantryMedal at the ceremony but insisted that "brave stuff" was being done every day by other service personnel.
– Captain James Fidell
It is very flattering, it means a lot to me and to my family as well but I ammassively conscious of the brave stuff that is done day in, day out."
The 29-year-old from the Royal Logistics Corps received the award from the Princess Royal. The 6ft 5ins soldier spent eight hours in August last year in a pitch-black tunnel in sweltering heat defusing a 110lb (50kg) bomb, working in a space so tight that he could not wear a bomb disposal suit, helmet or body armour.
The bomb was found under a road to the north east of Gereshk in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan. Captain Fidell decided to make the improvised explosive device (IED) safe rather than to blow it up. If the the bomb been detonated, it would have damaged the local economy and made it easier for insurgents to plant more IEDs.
Asked what he was thinking when he was inside the tunnel, Capt Fidell said: "You just deal with the job in hand and you are focused on that. You don't really have time to worry."
He now works as an instructor teaching how to dispose of improvised explosive devices.