14/12/2006

Gallantry awards for British troops

A Victoria Cross has been awarded posthumously to a Corporal who saved seven comrades in Afghanistan.

The VC, the highest military honour, was given to Cpl Bryan Budd, 29, from the 3rd Battallion the Parachute Regiment, who was killed as he assaulted a Taleban held position.

On 27th July, Cpl Budd's section was on a patrol when they identified and engaged two enemy gunmen on the roof of a building in the centre of Sangin. Without regard for his own safety, he led an assault where the enemy fire was heaviest. His gallant action allowed a wounded soldier to be evacuated to safety where he subsequently received life-saving treatment.

A few weeks later, on 20 August, Cpl Budd's section was again engaged in heavy fighting near Sangin District Centre. With fire pinning down his section and two of his men wounded, Cpl Budd decided to assault forward on his own. Although wounded himself, he rushed the enemy position, firing his weapon and killing a number of enemy fighters.

Inspired by his example, the rest of the platoon pushed forward.

Cpl Budd's body was later found surrounded by the bodies of three enemy fighters.

His award is the first posthumous VC to be awarded since the Falklands conflict over 20 years ago.

Corporal Mark Wright, also of the 3rd Battallion the Parachute Regiment has been honoured with a posthumous George Cross for his outstanding gallantry in Helmand Province on September 6 2006.

After witnessing a fellow soldier step on a landmine, Corporal Wright entered the minefield despite the risk to himself. Whilst giving assistance to the wounded soldier and attempting to clear a landing site for a helicopter evacuation, further landmines were detonated, causing very severe injuries to a number of personnel.

Cpl Wright ordered all non-essential personnel out of the minefield as he sought to take control. However, Cpl Wright caught in a blast as he made his way to a helicopter which had been called in to assist was fatally injured.

(SP/EF)

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