‘Herculean’ efforts earn soldier a medal for gallantry

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A SOLDIER who risked life and limb to search for bombs on a deadly route in Afghanistan has been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Sapper Matthew Garey, who serves with the Corps of Royal Engineers, at RAF Leeming, in North Yorkshire, had seen a fellow soldier lose both legs to a roadside bomb on the same stretch six days previously.

Other attempts to clear the route to a patrol base in the Gereshk area of Helmand had claimed one life and three other casualties.

Sapper Garey, who was on his own at the front of the group, said: “One slip in concentration, one accident, one freak coincidence can lead to casualties and death, and we were very aware of that.”

For five long hours the 24-year-old scoured the ground inch by inch, with repeated equipment false alarms ratcheting up adrenalin levels. His search eventually uncovered a deeply-buried command wire to a bomb. Sapper Garey, from Tamworth, in Staffordshire, said: “Finding it was a life that had been saved.”

His citation read: “This single tale of Herculean efforts personify his astonishing and exemplary level of gallantry.”

Sapper Garey was among a number of solders to be recognised with awards, including a Mention in Dispatches for Cpl Scott Dyson of 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, who ran through a hail of bullets to give first aid to two soldiers critically wounded by a bomb. The 29-year-old former Guiseley School pupil ran across 200 metres of uncleared ground and waded through a ditch to get to the casualties. One died, but Cpl Dyson managed to get the other soldier, who was unconscious, evacuated with the help of his dazed colleagues.