Friday, July 2, 2010

Three soldiers to receive Military Cross for gallantry

Three soldiers who served in Afghanistan will be awarded Military Crosses at Buckingham Palace later.

Lt Tresham Gregg, from Norfolk, Sgt Matthew Turrall, from Windsor, and Cpl Paul Mather, from Merseyside, will be decorated by the Princess Royal.

They will be joined by other recipients of awards at an investiture ceremony.

Instituted in 1914, the Military Cross is given in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against an enemy on land.

Cpl Mather, of the Army Air Corp, was on patrol in Helmand province when troops came under attack from grenades.

Several soldiers were injured, including Cpl Mather himself who was the most seriously wounded.

But despite being in considerable pain and bleeding heavily, he crawled into cover and immediately began to request air support. He refused to relinquish his radio until he was placed aboard a helicopter.

The Ministry of Defence said: "He focused solely on delivering the accurate fire support needed to extract his comrades from danger, acts of the utmost professionalism and selflessness, in close contact with the enemy."

Lt Gregg, of the Light Dragoons, is being honoured for showing outstanding leadership during Operation Panther's Claw in July 2009.

The MoD said his "courage, forthright leadership and determination to complete the mission in the face of heavy casualties were pivotal to the success of the operation".

"His bravery, leadership and the outstanding personal example he set have all been exemplary."

Finally, Sgt Turrall, of The Irish Guards, will receive the Military Cross for risking his own life to protect Afghan children.

His section was guarding a new patrol base close to the town of Lashkar Gah when insurgents launched a major attack against it.

A civilian car, carrying a father and his three children, was caught up in the fighting, and despite the risks, Sgt Turrall ran out, in full view of the enemy, to shepherd them to safety.

"His act that day was a physical embodiment of our mission to improve the lives of the Afghan people," the MoD said.

In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Sgt Turrall said he had a "fatherly urge" to help the children.

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