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George Medal for Army bomb expert

An Army expert who has cleared more roadside bombs than anyone else in history has been awarded the George Medal.

Sergeant Major Karl Ley, 29, made safe 139 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by the Taliban during a six-month tour of Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

This was more than twice as many as any other bomb disposal expert, and his medal citation praised his "sheer determination, guile and awesome bravery".

On one operation he defused 42 IEDs within just 72 hours, and at times he had to clear bombs with insurgent mortars and gunshots landing as little as 30m (100ft) away from him.

But Sgt Maj Ley, a married father-of-three from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, modestly played down his courage under fire. He joked: "If you're being shot at, you get down on the deck. So you might as well get rid of the bomb while you're down there."

Another soldier who lost both his legs and an eye in a bomb blast in Afghanistan is to receive the Military Cross for his bravery.

Four times Corporal Ricky Furgusson went to the aid of wounded soldiers injured by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) before he was caught himself in a blast and badly injured.

The 25-year-old, who serves with the 4th Battalion The Rifles (4 Rifles), was on his first patrol in Sangin District in October last year when his squad was hit by a huge IED.

He immediately threw himself into helping a stricken comrade with no regard for his own safety as he then assisted in his evacuation - saving the soldier's life.

On January 13, Cpl Furgusson was himself struck by an IED losing both legs, his left eye and fingers from both hands. He has also been left with scars to his face.


From Belfast Telegraph