Belfast Telegraph

Bravery citation for RIR hero

By Lesley-Anne Henry

A daring young soldier from Northern Ireland who ran into the killing zone to save a comrade's life during a fierce fire-fight on Afghanistan's frontline has been hailed as "selfless and exceptional".

Ranger Peter Mawhinney was Mentioned in Dispatches for his courageous actions almost exactly a year ago to the day.

The 21-year-old infantryman, who serves with 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment alongside his twin brother Darren, was among 25 men from the Royal Irish and Irish Guards to receive military honours for gallantry displayed during a six-month tour of duty between October 2010 and April this year.

Ranger Mawhinney, who was on his second tour of Afghanistan, had been on foot patrol with 11 other men when they came under sustained attack from Taliban insurgents.

The Ballymena man put his own life on the line, and despite his weapon jamming managed to rescue a wounded colleague as bullets whizzed past his head.

"Mawhinney was prepared to sacrifice everything for his comrade," the citation from his superiors read.

"Despite seeing the catastrophic effect of enemy fire hitting a fellow Ranger, he chose to move deep into the killing area in order to save life.

"When he did so, his resolve was not shaken by the stoppage of his weapon, which he cleared before carrying on."

After receiving the award yesterday, the modest infantryman insisted it was all in a day's work.

"I was just doing my job and didn't want to see one of my friends lying injured or dying. I was his cover man and I remember rounds shooting past my head and one of them hit my friend, so I turned around and returned fire."

Also among the troops recognised for their gallantry was Dundonald man Major Jamie Humphreys (37), who was made an MBE for his bravery, skill and determination shown during a gruelling three-month battle for Saidabad in Helmand province.

Portadown-born Lieutenant Colonel Colin Weir, Commanding Officer of 1 Royal Irish, received the Distinguished Service Order for courage and leadership during the tour.

Captain Michael Lowry (31) from Belfast, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was described as a "shining example to his men" and received a Mention in Despatches for his outstanding courage and leadership.

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