A soldier with 1 Rifles has been awarded the first British Army promotion in the field since 1953.
Rifleman Gigar Das can now boast the title lance corporal following the on the spot honour made following a decision by the head of the British Army.
The chief of the general staff General Sir Peter Wall carried out the promotion during a visit to troops undertaking a training mission in Mali, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said.
Soldiers from 1 Rifles, who are based in Gloucestershire, were delivering training to their Malian counterparts when General Sir Peter, who was accompanied by the head of the French army, General Bertrand Ract-Madoux, saw Rifleman Gigar Das conducting a lesson in marksmanship principles.
The Generals were “hugely impressed” with the 31-year-old and were “astounded” to learn of his rank, the spokeswoman said.
General Sir Peter decided to promote the solider “there and then”, she added.
The soldier, from London, was presented with his lance corporal’s stripe by the head of the French army.
Lance Corporal Das, who has served in the Army for eight years and has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “I wasn’t expecting anything like this to happen today when I got out of bed this morning. It is extremely unexpected and I couldn’t be more proud of this honour.”
His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Karl Hickman, said: “I was delighted to learn of L/Cpl Das’s promotion in the field, which he thoroughly deserved for his sterling service in Mali and for his significant operational experience in Iraq.”