Durham soldier Mentioned in Dispatches

Platoon Serjeant Tony Bramham
Platoon Serjeant Tony Bramham Photo:

A soldier from Newton Aycliffe has been mentioned in Dispatches for his bravery.

Platoon Serjeant Tony Bramham, of 5th Battalion The Rifles, led his team in a counter attack while under enemy fire.

Serjeant Bramham charged 100 metres towards insurgents on November 10, last year in Babaji, in an area known as the Devil’s Doorstep.

Three soldiers had been killed in the area in the previous three months during 50 attacks with grenades and bombs.

‘Throughout this action, Bramham displayed unflinching courage, bold and inspirational leadership and indomitable offensive spirit. His determination to close with the enemy and engage in close combat that day had a dramatic effect on the situation in the area.

‘Having defeated the insurgents in the village, the initiative passed to Bramham’s platoon. The insurgents never fully recovered, and this set the conditions for their complete defeat over the coming weeks and the subsequent transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan Police.’

– Tony’s citation

“It was my first tour in Afghanistan. From the first day I got shot at from around 70 metres.

“Every time we went out on patrol, we were engaged from short range, which is why the area was known as the Devil’s Doorstep.

“On this occasion, we knew the enemy was setting something up as our ‘eye in the sky’ told us they were coming with a full-on advance.

“But we didn’t know where they were exactly when the rounds started coming in. I had to weigh up the danger of staying in position with that of IEDs. That is the worst part as a commander, hoping your decision doesn’t lead to casualties. It is a sickening feeling.

“I decided the threat from the small arms fire was greater and that we needed to seize the initiative. It proved to be the right decision, thankfully, and we drove them out.

“It was a real turning point. After this, we gained local support, and joint patrols with the locals saw the area become much safer and the full platoon returned home.”

– Platoon Serjeant Tony Bramham

The mention in Despatches is one of the oldest forms of recognition for gallantry within the UK Armed Forces.