Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Soldier receives gallantry award for braving bullets

British forces in Afghanistan
Many of the medals were awarded to personnel who served in Afghanistan

A British soldier who recovered dead and injured comrades while under enemy fire in Afghanistan last year has been given a gallantry award.

Serjeant Jaime Moncho, of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for the incident during which five British troops died.

He was among more than 140 personnel to get military honours on Friday.

Capt Daniel Shepherd was awarded a posthumous George Medal for defusing 13 Taliban bombs by hand in 36 hours.

Sjt Moncho's citation read: "His supreme courage in the face of the most testing of circumstances was exemplary and his personal actions steadied all those around him."

Capt Shepherd, 28, of the Royal Logistic Corps, who was from Lincoln, cleared the devices without a protective suit, disposal robot or electronic equipment.

Dan Bell, BBC News website
The Honourable Artillery Company, hidden away behind the bustle and grime of the City Road in central London, is a bastion of ancient tradition.

From the dignified greeting of the Marine in a uniform with razor-sharp creases to the crossed rifles and suit-armour breastplates on the walls of the awards hall, it is clear this is a world defined by experiences beyond words.

With this solemn backdrop, the honours were awarded. It had the no-nonsense feel of a military debriefing.

The awards were given and received in the same humble manner as the actions for which they were awarded. A quiet few words between men in uniform, a handshake and a brief smile.

The awards recognised bravery and self-sacrifice, but this was not an exercise in sentimentality.

The handing out of the awards, like the acts of courage, was simply a necessity. A job which had to be done.

He died disarming a bomb in Nad Ali in Helmand province in July last year.

Capt Shepherd dealt with the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) under sporadic enemy fire.

His medal citation read: "He was an inspiration to his team. His personal actions directly and demonstrably saved the lives of innumerable Afghans, coalition and British forces before he made the ultimate sacrifice."

Six Conspicuous Gallantry Crosses were announced, including one for Sgt Marc Giles, of the Mercian Regiment.

He rescued a seriously-wounded Afghan soldier by throwing him over his shoulders and running across an area under enemy fire.

Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe, 39, from Kirtlington, near Oxford, former commanding officer of 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards, was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service posthumously. He was killed in Afghanistan last July.

A total of 146 members of the armed forces and one civilian received honours for service between April and September last year, in most cases in Afghanistan but also in Iraq and other parts of the world.

They included two Army bomb disposal experts who were awarded the George Cross for their role in Afghanistan.

A posthumous honour went to Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, 30, who made safe 70 devices before his death in October while defusing a bomb near Sangin.

The George Cross was also conferred on his comrade in the Royal Logistic Corps, Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes, 30.

Last August, he cleared a minefield to enable the rescue of four soldiers.

The awards took place at the home of Territorial Army regiment the Honourable Artillery Company, in London.

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