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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 07:07 GMT
Cleared Colonel awarded Iraq war OBE
Colonel Tim Collins
Colonel Collins gave a rousing eve-of-war speech to his troops
A British Army Colonel cleared of war crime allegations has been made an OBE for his "immense" contribution to the Iraq war effort.

Colonel Tim Collins, of the Royal Irish Regiment, became famous for his rousing battle address to troops.

His career subsequently came under threat when a US soldier accused him of mistreating Iraqi civilians and prisoners of war, but he was later cleared by the Ministry of Defence.

Also among the hundreds of servicemen and women being honoured is the youngest soldier ever to be awarded the George Cross, for his courage under friendly fire from US warplanes.

Trooper Christopher Finney
I didn't know what had happened. The gunner was screaming
Trooper Christopher Finney

Trooper Christopher Finney was only 18, with less than a year's service in the army, when he rescued a colleague from a burning vehicle after a mistaken attack by US warplanes.

He was one of more than 374 servicemen and women being given awards by the Queen on Friday for their courage during the war.

The contribution of more than 50 civilians to the war effort was also recognised.

Announcing the awards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Michael Walker, praised all who served in Iraq.

He said: "I have no doubts there are many who deserve to be recognised who will remain unsung heroes."

'Ultimate sacrifice'

There was also three posthumous awards announced, for Lieutenant Anthony King of the Royal Navy, Lance Corporal Barry Stephens, of the Black Watch, and Fusilier Kelan Turrington of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

Air Chief Marshall Brian Burridge said: "They made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."

OTHER AWARDS
Air Chief Marshal Brian Burridge - Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB)
Lance Corporal Justin Thomas - 40 Commando, Royal Marines - Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
Colonel Mike Riddell-Webster - Distinguished Service Order
Senior aircraftsman Christian Tobin, of RAF ST Mawgan, Cornwall - Queen's Commendation for Bravery
Julian Miller, chief of Cabinet Office assessment staff - Companion of the Order of the Bath
MoD chief press officer Kate Wilson OBE

"We must not forget them or their friends or their family."

He also praised Trooper Finney, of the Blues and Royals, for his "outstanding courage" in responding to the friendly fire incident.

The solider was driving an armoured vehicle when it and another vehicle in his troop were mistakenly attacked by American A-10 warplanes during a patrol along the Shatt-al-Arab waterway around 25 miles (40km) north of Basra in March.

The 18-year-old, of Marple, Greater Manchester, managed to rescue one colleague and tried in vain to reach another colleague trapped in the second burning vehicle.

Also honoured was Captain Paul Lynch, who won the Military Cross for his courage during a night assault on the Al-Faw peninsula.

The 29-year-old told BBC News Online that despite his troop from 40 Commando Royal Marines coming under enemy mortar fire, no one was seriously injured.

"It was a combination of being well trained, being aggressive and being lucky," said the commanding officer.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Philippa Young
"Trooper Christopher Finney received the second highest award for gallantry given by the armed forces"



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