Friday, March 07, 2008

British Heroism

The flap over a single RAF base banning its staff from wearing their uniforms in public has rather overshadowed this much more important news today. Which is a shame because these men deserve to have their tales of heroism told.

The men of 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment knew precisely what they had to do.

And today the extraordinary heroism which allowed the young soldiers to keep to their pledge at any cost can be revealed as they are awarded some of the highest military honours.

The men repeatedly braved enemy fire to rescue their injured and fatally wounded comrades from the hands of the Taliban.

Private Luke Cole, 22, carried on fighting after half his thigh bone was blown away.

When another bullet ripped open his stomach, he simply tucked his shirt in tighter "to hold everything in" - and carried on keeping the enemy at bay until back-up arrived.

In actual fact he was shot in the leg, the impact shattering five inches of bone. As he crawled for cover he was shot in the stomach and the hip- which is when he tucked in his shirt and then crawled to deliver first aid to a wounded comrade, saving his life in the process. He then carried on fighting. It was only after he'd been dragged to cover that he realised the full extent of his wounds.

Sergeant Craig Brelsford, 25, continued to command his men long after he was critically wounded - and right up to the moment he died.

In a singularly selfless act, he ran to put his body between the enemy and his wounded comrades.

It protected them from Taliban gunfire, but cost him his life.

And the 25-year-old platoon commander, Lieutenant Simon Cupples, led a rescue party into the killing zone to carry the injured to safety and recover the dead - again and again and again.

British soldiers have been awarded 184 decorations today. Dedicated, professional and courageous- they are a credit to the nation.

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