A senior Army officer who rushed into the aftermath of the Parson’s Green tube bomb has been awarded an honour for bravery.
Lieutenant Colonel Craig Palmer, 50, ran towards the explosion on the District Line train in London on September 15 2017 and his bravery helped bring the terrorist attacker to justice.
The married father-of-three, who was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery, is among several soldiers to be handed honours, the Ministry of Defence has announced.
Lt Col Palmer, originally from Fairfield, Stockton-on-Tees, was two carriages from the bomb planted by Iraqi asylum seeker Ahmed Hassan, 18, who has since been jailed for life.
He said: “As the train came in to Parson’s Green there was a flash and a commotion and lots of screams and people came charging down the platform running for the exits, but my instinct was to stand-fast.”
The Royal Regiment of Artillery officer, who has been in the forces for more than 26 years, said previous terror attacks, including at Westminster Bridge, combined with his military experience, had “conditioned” him to act.
He said: “I couldn’t see a terrorist, but I could see what I thought was a burning bomb and realised the terrorist must be on the run.
“I saw horrified people, school children, all running past me – and from my previous operational experience I knew that the first few moments after any incidents are crucial to gathering evidence.
“So I went into the carriage, there was no one else there, and I could see that there was a bomb in a Lidl carrier bag on the floor, so I took three pictures of it on my phone and left the carriage straight away to let the police know what I’d seen.
“It was still venting fumes and could have gone off at any moment. It was a calculated risk – army officers are in the business of taking such risks, and I thought there’s a 50/50 chance that if it goes off I die.”
Lt Col Palmer, whose award is for non-operation gallantry, later gave evidence at the trial which led to Hassan’s conviction.
Others honoured include Acting Lance Corporal Jacob Francis Campbell Fisher, who was given a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.
He saved the lives of several Somali soldiers after an open-backed truck accident on February 25 2018, when he was part of an operation to train troops in the African country.
The then “inexperienced” Combat Medical Technician, from the Royal Army Medical Corps, “took ownership” of the situation as nine Somali troops received life-saving treatment, and there were no fatalities.
Lance Corporal Lewis Staton, 30, who also served in Somalia, was awarded an MBE for his work in a team training the Ethiopian National Defence Force and other soldiers from the African United Mission.
The father-of-two, from Wirral, Merseyside, who is in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, said receiving the honour “still hasn’t sunk in”.
Staff Sergeant Patrick Robert Jean Lia, from the Corps of Royal Engineers, and Colonel Sion Duncan Walker, a Reservist, were both given a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.