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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 11:33 GMT
Heroes awarded the Military Cross
Pte Luke Cole
Pte Luke Cole refused morphine and helped his colleagues
A soldier has been awarded the Military Cross after he kept firing at Taleban fighters despite suffering from horrific wounds.

Pte Luke Cole, 22, from Wolverhampton, was shot twice in a two-hour battle in Afghanistan but managed to give first aid to wounded colleagues.

The Territorial Army soldier, from the Mercian Regiment, said his "insides were hanging out" after being hit.

Pte Aaron Holmes, 19, from Stourbridge, was also awarded the Military Cross.

The Ministry of Defence citation said Pte Cole showed "remarkable gallantry".

He refused morphine and continued to defend his comrades during combat in Helmand, it said.

Pte Cole, a fork lift truck engineer in civilian life, said: "The first shot blew five inches of bone out of my leg and then I was hit in the hip and the bullet came out my stomach.

"I realised it was serious when I was dragged back and I saw my insides were hanging out.

'Doing my job'

"We were ambushed and they started to surround us - but I was not having that."

On his award, he said: "I'm shocked that I've got this. I was just doing my job."

Pte Aaron Holmes, on operations in Afghanistan in August 2007
Pte Aaron Holmes placed himself in the line of fire

Pte Cole, who now walks with the aid of a stick, is among 184 members of the British Armed Forces being honoured for their courage and professionalism in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world between April and September 2007.

He is the first TA member to receive the p[restigious award for 15 years. His colleague, Pte Holmes, was honoured after protecting a fallen comrade by placing himself in the line of fire and exchanging fire with the Taliban

His citation said he refused to leave until his wounded colleague could be rescued, adding: "Holmes' courageous performance was significantly above that expected of a private soldier."

Twenty-eight Military Crosses have been awarded, the highest number given at one time since the end of World War II.

The Military Cross is the third highest military honour, behind the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and the Victoria Cross.

Luke Cole's day job is working as an engineer on forklift trucks

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