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Ulster soldier donates medal to museum

A museum is preparing to display a new medal after an Ulster soldier presented his Conspicuous Gallantry Cross to add to its collection.

Lance Bombardier Gary Prout was awarded the honour earlier this year after risking his life by attempting to save one of his colleagues under intense enemy fire in Afghanistan in March last year.

L/Bdr Prout presented the medal to Major General Richard Barrons, chairman of Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum during a ceremony yesterday at the Ministry of Defence.

The museum plans to display the rare gallantry award alongside L/Bdr Prout's Iraq Medal and Operational Service Medal (Afghanistan) at its base at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, south east London.

As a member of 19th Regiment Royal Artillery, L/Bdr Prout, who is from near Lisburn, was tasked to patrol the Taliban's forward defences south of Musa Qaleh — an area which insurgents had heavily fortified with improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

When one of the soldiers on patrol was hit by an explosion and stranded injured in the open, L/Bdr Prout broke cover and ran forward in view of the enemy to help his colleague Lance Corporal Chris Harkett administer first aid then drag him to the safety of medics.

L/Bdr Prout, a fourth-generation soldier, then returned to his fire support team to help the fight.

His citation states: “Prout consciously risked his life, on three separate occasions, and it was a miracle that he himself was not killed. He displayed the most incredible courage.”

Accepting the medal on behalf of the museum, Maj Gen Barrons said: “This medal is a very significant addition to the already fine and impressive collection of medals on display at the Royal Artillery Museum. Its recipient Lance Bombardier Prout demonstrated that gallantry is not something that can be only found in the pages of history books.

“When museum visitors view the medal they will be reminded that the Royal Artillery Museum and the men and women whose stories it tells is as much about what is happening in the world today as it is with the regiment's celebrated and glorious past.”

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