UK & World News
Victoria Cross Award For L/Cpl James Ashworth
A soldier killed protecting his comrades in Afghanistan is to be awarded the Victoria Cross - the UK's top bravery medal.
Lance Corporal James Ashworth's courage was hailed as "beyond words" by friends who served with him until his death last June.
The 23-year-old died in a grenade attack during a fierce battle with the Taliban in Helmand's Nahr-e Saraj district.
He was on foot patrol and battling his way through compounds against enemy fighters when he was fatally wounded.
It is expected that the rare VC award to the soldier from Kettering, Northamptonshire, will be officially announced later this month.
The VC has been awarded 10 times to British soldiers since World War Two and only once for bravery in Afghanistan.
At the time of L/Cpl Ashworth's death, his family said: "We are devastated by the loss of our son, brother, uncle and boyfriend. He meant the world to everyone and has left an irreplaceable hole in our hearts."
His father Duane was also a Grenadier Guard, while his younger brother Coran is also a soldier.
He also left behind his mother Kerryann, sisters Lauren and Paige, brother Karl and four-year-old niece Darcy, as well as his girlfriend, Emily.
His company commander, Captain Mike Dobbin, praised the soldier's actions.
He said: "Lance Corporal Ashworth was killed while fighting his way through compounds, leading his fire team from the front, whilst trying to protect his men and he showed extraordinary courage to close on a determined enemy.
"His professionalism under pressure and ability to remain calm in what was a chaotic situation is testament to his character."
Guardsman Jordan Loftus also paid tribute to his friend's bravery.
He said: "Selfless, brave, courageous ... words like these don't come close to what Ash demonstrated that day. He will be missed by all as a commander, but most of all a good mate."
L/Cpl Ashworth's Commanding Officer in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, Lieutenant Colonel James Bowder said: "Lance Corporal Ashworth was an outstanding soldier whose loss has moved us all. A real self-starter, he excelled in everything that he undertook.
"Fit, strong and brilliant at his job, he set the bar very high. Indeed, such was his calmness under pressure, his charisma, and his selflessness that he made an exemplary junior leader."
The previous recipient of the VC in Afghanistan was 29-year-old Corporal Bryan Budd of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, who died when he single-handedly stormed a Taliban position in Sangin in 2006.
The last living recipient was L/Cpl Johnson Beharry of 1st Battalion the Prince of Wales's Royal Regiment, who twice saved the lives of colleagues under enemy fire in Iraq in 2004.
The medal is the British military's highest bravery award and was first bestowed on troops during the Crimean War in 1854-55.
what do you think?
Much deserved, a brave, brave man who paid the ultimate price.
Makes me proud to be british RIP brave young soldier.
Sharon Farlow Lee
God bless all.our soldiers
Sorry Paul you are a plank and your comment offensive
Amen to that Sharon..................
Wait blue side you actually found that offensive? Ah the hypocrisy. R.I.P young man.
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Dr Monica sorry you are wrong and I am not a hypocrite that young man gave his life to imply that because of him being a soldier denies him the acceptance of God is wrong and he died saving comrades. That is offensive sorry you can not see that
That made absolutely no sense blue side. You seem to possess conflicting standards.
L/Cpl James Ashworth, I salute your courage, loyalty and bravery X
Hero. compare this to the pathetic stories you get about himan rights bla bla bla bla..... this man lost his life to fight for his country against terrorists.... some of whom live i our country claiming benefit. disgusting
What a dim witted statement. Using this young man's death to make banal generalisations. How sad.
Colin, good point
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Totally agree. and they are over taking us. in 50 years there wont be any white people in britian
Quite true, There is an old saying: "Beware the enemy within".................
Ah deary me the lack of thought in some of these statements is embarassing. Using this young man's death to condone heinous actions against the innocent makes you no better than the terrorists.
Extremist people who want to take lives should not be living in our country and claiming benefit! Its all a complete joke! this country has gone downhill very qyickly and theres one very good reason why
To the dr...... how can u say that? terrorists takes peoples lives...... i would try to save lives....... total opposites dr. wake up
Oh Colin, you aren't aware of how things are generally better for the populace here than a lot of other places. And Colin, you seem rather confused with your words. It's almost as if you have an agenda against the innocent as well as the guilty.
Oh dr..... not really just the dr..... and what has other countries got to do with ours? our country has gone down hill due to immigrants where some are terrorists and some dont work. this country 50 years ago was wonderful. now a dump!
DR_ bin laren i presume
Another thoughtless statement taken into consideration I live to ensure the welfare of others.
And what is the person responsible for his death doing now? (I mean of course the evil, greedy, self-interested waste of DNA who had his nose so far up the US presidents sphincter that he took us into this unwinnable 'war'). Oh yes, he's making millions for doing absolutely SFA! Isn't it about time that we were civilised eniugh to insist that conflicts were fought by those who cause them, politicians, terrorists, or whatever. Just put them all in a football stadium for a week with lots of guns and grenades and lock all the exits. If anybody is left at the end wins, and if nobody is left then the conflict has gone away, hasn't it???
666 Correct...... we all know who you refer to..... make him pay for his war crimes.
Being them home shouldn't be there
BRAVE SOILDER KILLED..hang your head in shame brittish goverment..why any soilder is killed for nothing.because this is what this means to the IDIOTS in charge...R.I.P.to those dead and the soilder who will die before britain pulls out....the M.Ps in charge should face charges of the own,,,
Hang your head in shame Tony Blair..... we all know what should happen to him BUT no... he ended up with a well paid job as peace envoy..... what a disgrace.
Good. Brave young man. R.I.P
It is such a tragedy RIP James you made the ultimate sacrifice
sacrifice is probably the right word and Bliar and others are the high priests. " Name, Lance Corporal !!" "Fodder, Sir, Cannon "
What a waste of life. For what?
"Old men talking, young men dying" RIP brave young man
God bless you dear lad. You were so brave. We thank you. God bless your family. RIP brave soldier.xxxxxx
Top award to a very brave young man shame he cannot be awarded it himself
A true loving soldier! RIP XXX BRING THE BRITISH TROOPS BACK N LET GOD SORT THEM OUT!!!
A big pity that he can't look Bliar in the face and thank him profusely for giving him the opportunity to be awarded this V.C for bravery. Yes Mr Bliar, BRAVERY, a word you can be sure will never be applied to you.
Brave men all of them