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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: PA

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." Read more on those receiving bravery medals.