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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK
Soldier honoured for Iraq bravery
Lance Corporal Trevor Coult (pic MoD/PA)
Lance Corporal Trevor Coult has been decorated for bravery
A book-writing Belfast soldier with the Royal Irish Regiment has been honoured by the military for courage in Iraq.

Lance Corporal Trevor Coult, based in Inverness, was awarded the Military Cross for bravery during an ambush.

It is the military's third highest bravery honour, behind the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and the Victoria Cross.

His regiment is fighting Taliban insurgents in the Helmand province of Afghanistan and has suffered the deaths of two soldiers in the past week.

Cpl Coult published a book called "Iraq or Bust" about his experiences during the 2003 Iraq war.

The 31-year-old, known as "Speedy" for his running prowess, was awarded the Military Cross for his actions during a machine gun ambush involving suicide bombers and gunmen in Baghdad last year.

Three insurgents armed with machine guns stopped his multi-vehicle convoy on a stretch of road billed as the most dangerous in the world, opening fire on the stationary vehicles.

Acting as top cover sentry in the rear vehicle, Cpl Coult managed to return fire and control his vehicle, allowing two other convoy crews to retreat from the ambush.

'Totally focused'

Unmarried Cpl Coult, who joined the Royal Irish in 1994, then went back into the killing zone to cover a stalled vehicle and enable them to escape.

Part of his award citation reads: "Throughout this complex and well prepared insurgent ambush, Coult returned proportional, justified and accurate fire, remaining totally focused and acted in a considered, professional and courageous manner."

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Michael McGovern, described the corporal as an "outstanding young man whose courage, leadership and composure under enemy fire and in extremely difficult conditions has justifiably been rewarded".

Lt Col McGovern himself receives the Queen's Commendation for valuable service in Iraq.

In all, 64 UK servicemen and women stationed across the world have received awards for bravery and service during the six months to March this year.

Soldier's family speak of their delight

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