Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Soldiers honoured for canal rescue

Two soldiers who dived into a freezing canal to rescue a comrade after he was blown up by a Taliban bomb have been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery.

Second Lieutenant Connor Maxwell, 22, and Rifleman Daniel Nickson, 23, both of 3rd Battalion the Rifles, pulled the unconscious soldier out of the 3ft deep water and evacuated him so he could receive medical treatment.

Rfn Nickson, from Darlington, County Durham, was hailed for his "courage and selflessness" in risking his own life by leaping into the fast-flowing canal in Helmand on December 15 last year.

Lt Maxwell, from Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, was also praised for saving the life of a serviceman who was wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) during training on the firing ranges at Camp Bastion, the main Nato base in Helmand.

A total of 131 servicemen and women - most of whom served in 11 Light Brigade's bloody tour of Afghanistan between October 2009 and April this year - have been awarded medals in the latest military honours list, nine posthumously.

Acting Corporal Andrew Wardle, 22, of 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, receives the Military Cross for his bravery during his tour of Helmand mentoring Afghan soldiers. On one occasion, he refused treatment and fought off a Taliban attack after suffering concussion when he was knocked to the ground by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Two days later, Cpl Wardle, from Hetton-le-Hole, Sunderland, ran 50m (160ft) across open ground in full view of the enemy to rescue an injured Afghan child. His medal citation said: "He has displayed selfless and repeated acts of exemplary gallantry in the face of the enemy."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Patrick Hyde, 34, of 4th Battalion the Rifles, is awarded a Mention in Despatches for his "exemplary gallantry". During his six months in Afghanistan, IEDs blew up the vehicle he was in six times, there were three near-misses and four bombs hit other vehicles in the convoy he was commanding.

WO2 Hyde, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, also personally oversaw the medical evacuation of 10 members of his company and four Afghan children with fatal wounds. The soldier's citation said his "selfless commitment and bravery" in the face of continued attack were an "inspiration".

The honours will be presented at a later date.


From Belfast Telegraph