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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 17:28 GMT
Bomb expert awarded George Cross
Capt Peter Norton and Princess Anne

An Army bomb disposal officer given the George Cross has described the award as a "fantastic honour".

The Princess Royal presented the honours after the Queen withdrew owing to continuing discomfort in her back.

Capt Peter Norton lost a leg and part of an arm in a blast near Baghdad in July. He said it would be several months before he could go back to work.

Also honoured at the Buckingham Palace investiture were artist Rolf Harris and EastEnders actor Rudolph Walker.

Capt Norton is credited with saving seven lives by instructing troops as he lay wounded from an explosion.

The 43-year-old officer, from Gloucester, lost a leg in the blast near Baghdad in July. Later part of an arm had to be amputated.

But as he lay seriously injured he continued to tell his team where they could move - a further bomb was discovered 10m away and made safe.

The George Cross is the highest medal for bravery with the enemy not present.

Capt Norton told the BBC: "It's a fantastic honour personally but of course it also means a lot to the guys that were with me. They deserve this honour as much as I do.

The Princess Royal
The Princess Royal stood in for the Queen at the investiture

"I remember the incident quite clearly. Up until the moment that I was put on the helicopter and evacuated from the area, to be honest, it was just another one of those jobs that we quite often got tasked to.

"I tried my best to make sure that nobody else was injured and you know that's part of my training, really. The training really kicked in.

"I'm doing my rehab at the moment, but I've still got several months left before I go back to work."

The Queen, who is 80, was forced to cancel several engagements last week because of her back.

She will travel to Crawley in West Sussex on Friday, but Prince Philip will carry out some duties on the visit by himself.

The palace said the Queen would have a busy itinerary in the morning, but she would leave before a planned lunch with pupils at a community college and a tour of a sheltered housing scheme.

A palace spokeswoman said: "At this stage there are no plans to cancel engagements next week; we are reviewing things on a daily basis."

At this stage there are no plans to cancel engagements next week, we are reviewing things on a daily basis
Buckingham Palace spokesman

The Queen strained a muscle while holidaying at Balmoral during the summer.

The Duke of Edinburgh stood in for his wife at the opening of Arsenal's new multi-million pound Emirates Stadium last week.

He told staff and players that she was "very disappointed" not to be there.

She has been told to scale down her schedule by doctors after returning from her recent trip to the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Australian entertainer and artist Rolf Harris was made a CBE at the ceremony.

EastEnders star Rudolph Walker, who in 1972 became the first black actor to take the lead role in a major TV series - Love Thy Neighbour - was made an OBE.

Interview with Captain Peter Norton

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