Soldiers receive bravery awards

British service men and women have been honoured for their bravery. A total of 131 members of the armed services received honours and awards in the Operation Honours List following tours across the world and incidents at home.

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Soldier awarded the Military Cross for Bravery

A soldier who risked his life to save his comrades in Afghanistan has been awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.Corporal Keith Mitchell, of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, stood in open ground to draw enemy fire away from his comrades in an attack in Pulpalzay, Helmand, in March last year.

Corporal Keith Mitchell of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Credit: Press Association

The 29-year-old abandoned the safety of cover behind a wall and stood up in open ground, so the enemy began firing at him instead.

With rounds raining down on him, he fired three accurate rifle grenades to suppress the enemy position, managing to either destroy or damage their capabilities. Firing ceased immediately allowing the wounded men to be evacuated.

Soldier rescued children in Afghanistan

Corporal Carl Taylor from Birmingham used his own body as a shield as he carried the boys, aged between three and seven, back to their distraught mothers in Afghanistan.

He courageously dashed 80ft in full view of the enemy to reach the youngsters trapped by insurgent gunfire.

Corporal Carl Taylor, of 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment. Credit: Press Association

Cpl Taylor, who is 25, of 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was a month into his tour of Afghanistan when the incident took place in the village of Popalzay in Helmand Province on March 10 last year.


Sapper lead comrades to safety after explosions

Sapper Ben McMurray from the Corps of Royal Engineers received The Queen's Commendation for Bravery for his courage in clearing IEDs even after his patrol was struck by a series of blasts.

Sapper Ben McMurray from the Corps of Royal Engineers. Credit: Press Association

The soldier himself set off a hidden insurgent bomb as he searched for the deadly devices around a Royal Marines checkpoint in Nad-e-Ali, Helmand Province, on July 14 last year.

Miraculously he was not hurt in the explosion, and was able to lead his team to safety after another two IEDs detonated, one of them seriously injuring one of his comrades.

Injured soldier saved injured comrade

Corporal Baljit Limbu, of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles received a Mention in Despatches for his courage in rescuing a wounded comrade despite being injured himself.

The 32-year-old was at the back of a patrol in the Nahr-e-Saraj area of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan last June when he and a fellow Gurkha were hit by a massive improvised explosive device (IED) blast.

Corporal Baljit Limbu, of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles. Credit: Press Association

He was thrown about 160ft in the air, left temporarily deaf and suffered shrapnel wounds to his right arm and neck in the explosion, which left a hole the size of a large car.

But he did not seek medical treatment for himself, instead tending to his more seriously injured comrade, who would probably have lost one or more limbs had it not been for Cpl Limbu's first aid.

Soldier saved comrades from high-explosive device

Quick-thinking Serjeant Deacon Cutterham had just five seconds to plunge his arm into murky ditchwater, retrieve the high-explosive device and throw it to safety.

He and his patrol were wading through an irrigation ditch knee-deep in water in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand in Afghanistan on May 24 last year when the grenade landed in front of him.

Serjeant Deacon Cutterham of The Rifles who is to receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. Credit: Press Association

Sjt Cutterham, from Bristol, said: "I heard the 'ching' of the fly-off lever coming off it. It all happened so fast but so slowly.

"I just went into autopilot. I shouted 'Get down, grenade', ran forward, grabbed it first time and just let go of it.

"I can't believe I didn't lose my fingers because as soon as I let go of it, it exploded. If I had missed it, it would have been game over."

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