Defence: Medals recognise bravery of Afghan soldiers

SOLDIERS from the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment received medals at Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster for service on Operation Herrick in Afghanistan.

Corporal Andrew Reid who lost both his legs in an explosion was joined by his fellow soldiers to be recognised by the Duke of Wellington. A British soldier who dashed across enemy fire twice to pull wounded comrades out of danger was yesterday also recognised for his bravery.

Lance Corporal Kyle Smith, of the Mercian Regiment, was given the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for saving the lives of his injured colleagues after they were ambushed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

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L/Cpl Smith said he was "really happy" after he was awarded the medal by the Prince of Wales at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

The 22-year-old was out on patrol in July 2009 when his unit was attacked by insurgents using rocket-propelled grenades and guns. Almost immediately several soldiers were injured.

L/Cpl Smith said: "I got my team to start suppressing the compound from where the enemy fire was coming from as I looked to my right I saw two lads, in the open, injured and not able to help themselves.

"I had to make a decision whether I took a team across the open field to get them or whether to go on my own.

"I decided that it was too much of a risk, and we'd get more

casualties, if I took more people with me so I went on my own."

L/Cpl Smith ran more than 100 meters to save the fallen soldiers. He added: "To find out I was being awarded was unbelievable.

"It is an honour to get the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. I was really happy and glad to be awarded such a medal. I will wear it but it won't just be for me. It will be for everyone in 2 Mercian who was there on that day."

He was one of three British soldiers awarded the prestigious medal yesterday for their bravery in Afghanistan.

The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross is awarded in recognition of acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy.