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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 18:54 GMT
George Cross for 'brave' soldier
Cpl Mark Wright
General Sir Richard Dannatt said he was proud of Cpl Wright
A Scottish soldier who was killed in Afghanistan as he tried to save an injured colleague has been posthumously awarded the George Cross.

Cpl Mark Wright, from Edinburgh, was recognised for outstanding gallantry in Helmand Province in September.

He had helped the injured man despite being seriously injured by a landmine.

Cpl Wright's citation said he had continued to control and command the incident despite the serious injuries he had sustained.

One of his colleagues, Cpl Bryan Budd, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Despite this horrific situation and the serious injuries he had himself sustained, Cpl Wright continued to command and control the incident
MoD citation

Cpl Wright died following the 6 September incident, in which five soldiers were injured - three of them lost their legs.

They had all been part of a Nato-led security patrol.

At an emotional ceremony at the Ministry of Defence the families of Corporals Budd and Wright heard the full citations to the awards for the first time as they were read out by the Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup.

Cpl Wright's fiancé Gillian - who has changed her surname to Wright in his honour - attended the event, along with his father Bobby.

'Genuinely humbling'

Speaking about both corporals Lt Col Stuart Tootal, commander of 3 Para battle group, said: "It is the kind of bravery which is quite exceptional, all my soldiers are very brave and there will be a number of other gallantry awards but the award of the Victoria Cross and the George Cross are the pinnacle."

The citation told of Cpl Wright's bravery during the rescue mission in a minefield near the Kajaki dam in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan in which he was fatally injured.

Cpl Mark Wright
Cpl Wright "maintained morale" despite his injuries

It said he had remained in charge in overseeing the rescue despite his own wounds.

The citation said: "Despite this horrific situation and the serious injuries he had himself sustained, Cpl Wright continued to command and control the incident.

"He remained conscious for the majority of the time, continually shouting encouragement to those around, maintaining morale and calm amongst the many wounded men."

Speaking afterwards, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the new head of the army said: "My two overriding feelings are one of pride and one of sorrow.

"Pride for the enormous contribution that these gallant servicemen have made and sorrow that 37 British soldiers have lost their lives on operation this year and today we particularly focus on Corporals Wright and Budd who lost their lives displaying the highest gallantry.

"But what they did was genuinely humbling and, I think, when the citation for Cpl Wright in the minefield was read out I didn't see any dry eyes in the hall."




SEE ALSO
Posthumous VC for heroic soldier
14 Dec 06 |  North Yorkshire
Funeral set for capital soldier
13 Sep 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Tributes paid to heroic soldier
08 Sep 06 |  Edinburgh and East

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