AFGHANISTAN veteran Matthew Thorpe proved he really is a hero after he leapt into action to deliver his baby daughter on the bathroom floor.
The 23-year-old, a lance corporal in the Royal Logistic Corps, was forced to turn midwife when his partner Lauren Sweeney, 19, went into labour at their flat.
Minutes later he was holding baby Alexis, the couple’s first child, and even cut the umbilical cord before mother and baby were taken to hospital.
The soldier had been training in Oxford before returning to his home in Kendray, Barnsley, ready for the birth and to spend Christmas with his family.
“She was due on December 12, so it’s been a bit later than expected,” he said. “We went to the hospital because Lauren’s waters broke, but she wasn’t ready to give birth so they gave her the option to stay or go.
“Lauren wanted to go home, but we were only home for an hour, she had finished having a bath and had just started to get out. She could feel the head coming out and she was on her hands and knees.
“Lauren started panicking, I was pretty calm, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I phoned 999, but by the time they were talking us through it I had hold of the baby.
“We didn’t think she was breathing to start with but then she started breathing and she started crying and everything was fine.
Miss Sweeney, a call centre worker was kept in hospital after losing blood during the birth, but was expected to be at home yesterday to spend Christmas with her family.
She and her daughter, who weighed in at a healthy 8lb 9oz were said to be “doing fine”.
Lance Corporal Thorpe, who has been a soldier for six-and-a-half years, is in the Royal Logistics’ 4 Logistic Support Regiment, and is responsible for maintaining Army vehicles. His next tour of duty in Afghanistan will be in March.
He added: “I’ll definitely be telling Alexis about the way she was born, it’s quite a story to tell.
“You do miss your family when you’re away from home and it’s always nice to get back.
Miss Sweeney added: “It’s great to have Matthew home for Christmas and to be here for the birth of our first child.
“But to actually deliver her makes it really special.”
n Two police community support officers have also been congratulated for their quick thinking after they delivered a baby at the roadside.
Inga Munkova, 26, had been diverted from King’s Lynn hospital – which is five minutes from her home – to Peterborough because of overcrowding after her contractions began last Saturday.
Miss Munkova got as far as Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, in a neighbour’s car when she realised she was not going to make it.
Passing police community support officers Sam Dyer and Donna Thompson helped as she gave birth to a healthy girl, weighing just over 8lb, in the back seat of the car.