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Family's moving tribute to fallen hero

The family of L/Cpl James Ashworth have paid a moving tribute to their son following an inquest at Kettering Magistrates Court.

Mum Kerry said her son had died doing the job he loved.

She said: "James passed away doing a job he loved. At times it was a hard job but he did get to experience new countries, learn new skills and make some wonderful friends.

"James will be forever be in our hearts, thoughts and prayers and we will never get over his passing. But we will stay strong together as a family and along with his friends we will remain positive and celebrate his life at every opportunity as I know that is what he would want us to do."

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Inquest into death of Lance Corporal to open

Lance Corporal James Ashworth

An inquest will take place today into the death of Lance Corporal James Ashworth - only the second soldier to be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for bravery - who was shot and killed in Afghanistan last year.

The soldier, who was 23 when he died in June 2012, came under fire from insurgents as he crawled along the ground to throw a grenade at a sniper.

Colleagues of Mr Ashworth are expected to argue that the absence of powerful weapons which could be used from a distance contributed to the soldier's death.

Read: Soldier awarded rare Victoria Cross honour

'Courageous' British soldier awarded Victoria Cross

A British soldier who died as he protected the lives of his comrades in Afghanistan will be honoured with the Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace today.

Kerry Ashworth, mother of Lance Corporal James Ashworth, will receive the country's highest award for bravery in the face of military attack on behalf of her son.

Read: Killed soldier awarded rare Victoria Cross honour

Family of Lance Corporal James Ashworth, mum Kerry, dad former Grenadeer Guardsman Duane and his brother and serving soldier Coran Ashworth Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

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

The medal recognises his "extraordinary courage" as he fought against "huge odds", dying from a grenade blast as he tried to protect his men.

Read: British Armed Forces recognised for battlefield bravery

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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
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