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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 08:50 GMT
Soldiers honoured for gallantry
Maj Stephen Webb
Morale was 'sky high' under Maj Stephen Webb's leadership
Eight Royal Welsh soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been given awards for gallantry.

Maj Stephen Webb from Swansea, Cpl Richard Pask from Cwmbran, and Fusilier Damion Hields from Denbigh will receive the Military Cross.

The awards for "conspicuous gallantry" will be presented by the Queen.

L/Cpl Darren Gregory, from Bridgend and Pte Benjamin Chamberlain, from Caerphilly, were mentioned in despatches along with three others.

The Military Crosses, one of the British army's highest honours, will be presented at Buckingham Palace.

Maj Webb has been honoured for his action when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb as they were clearing the route for a convoy travelling from Basra Palace.

His citation said Maj Webb had been exposed to enemy fire almost daily and under his leadership "morale was sky high", even though his company had suffered three deaths and had a casualty rate of almost 15%.

It added: "He displayed selfless courage, conspicuous gallantry and inspiring leadership of the very highest order."

Cpl Richard Pask
Cpl Richard Pask was commended for his "selfless actions"

Maj Webb said it was "very flattering" and he, along with his wife and father, was proud to receive the award but added: "There are 127 blokes in the company I think equally as deserving of an award as me."

Being given the award, he said, had brought into focus that three men from the battalion had not returned home with them and were missed.

The battalion's homecoming parade in December had been a time when the soldiers felt "immensely proud", he said, and public support shown had been "fantastic".

Cpl Pask reckoned he would still be in shock in a week's time at being awarded the Military Cross.

His citation explained that following an explosion he was concussed, nauseous and bleeding badly from his head but instead of withdrawing, continued his "exemplary leadership" for six hours.

It said: "His selfless actions helped the vulnerable convoy reach its destination unscathed."

Cpl Pask said: "You would say it's an infantry soldier's dream to get presented with a medal for bravery because that's what you join up for."

Asked whether he believed he had done anything special he replied: "No more than what everyone else did in my regiment.

"Everyone did extremely brave, selfless things out there."

Pte Chamberlain was just 18 when he was sent out to Iraq on his first assignment.

He has been honoured for "devotion to duty, initiative and outstanding professional skill as a warrior armoured fighting vehicle gunner".

Pte Benjamin Chamberlain and L/Cpl Darren Gregory
Pte Benjamin Chamberlain and L/Cpl Darren Gregory

Nicknamed 'Dangerous Dave', Pte Chamberlain, said: "It's a good award. It's overwhelming really."

L/Cpl Darren Gregory, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, was honoured for "conspicuous gallantry, ferocious determination and inspiring leadership."

In his citation, he was commended for single-handedly inspiring his soldiers to "beat off two heavy attacks by a superior force".

L/Cpl Gregory said: "We were just doing our job and you just did what needed to be done...The training we do all clicks in and everything happens."

Also mentioned in despatches were Capt David Evans from Cardiff, Capt Richard Moger from Cheltenham and Cpl Kelly Peters from Brecon, who all served in Iraq.



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SEE ALSO
'Forgotten' VC heroes remembered
06 Mar 08 |  South East Wales
Homecoming parade for Iraq troops
11 Dec 07 |  South East Wales

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