Rare VC honour for UK soldier

British soldier Lance Corporal James Ashworth, who died as he protected the lives of his comrades in Afghanistan, is to be awarded the Victoria Cross, according to a report.

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Victoria Cross: Rare honour awarded for gallantry

The Victoria Cross is the nation's highest award for gallantry, along with the George Cross.

It is awarded for "most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy".

  • The medal has been awarded 1,356 times, the most recent of which was a posthumous award to Corporal Bryan Budd, of the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, for acts of "inspirational leadership and the greatest valour" in southern Afghanistan in 2006
  • Only 13 Victoria Cross medals have been awarded since the Second World War, nine to members of the British Army and four to the Australian Army
  • L/Cpl Ashworth's is just the fifth to have been awarded since the Falklands conflict, and all but one have been posthumous
  • The George Cross, which stands equal to the Victoria Cross as an award, recognises acts of gallantry by members of the Armed Forces or civilians in situations for which the Victoria Cross is not appropriate

Victoria Cross to be awarded to 'outstanding soldier'

Lance Corporal James Ashworth, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, was killed in the Nahr-e-Siraj district of Afghanistan.

The 23-year-old died on June 13 when his reconnaissance platoon became involved in a battle with the Taliban inside enemy-held compounds.

L/Cpl Ashworth is understood to have deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire, and died from a grenade blast as he tried to protect his men.

His comrades spoke of their pride in his bravery and said the death of such an "outstanding soldier" would leave a gaping hole in the battalion.

Lance Corporal Ashworth was killed while fighting his way through compounds; leading his fire team from the front, whilst trying to protect his men; and he showed extraordinary courage to close on a determined enemy.

– Captain Mike Dobbin speaking at the time of L/Cpl Ashworth's death

British soldier 'to receive posthumous Victoria Cross'

A British soldier who died as he protected the lives of his comrades in Afghanistan is to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Lance Corporal James Ashworth, who was 23 when he died, will receive the medal in recognition of his "extraordinary courage" while serving with the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards in Helmand Province last year, The Times reported.

Lance Corporal James Ashworth of 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards.
Lance Corporal James Ashworth of 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards. Credit: MoD Crown Copyright/PA Wire

The Victoria Cross, the UK's highest award for gallantry, has been awarded just 10 times to British soldiers since the Second World War.

The posthumous award to L/Cpl Ashworth is just the second awarded to a soldier in the 12-year conflict.

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