UK & World News
Military Cross For Soldier In Bayonet Charge
A soldier who led a bayonet charge across 260ft of open ground through Taliban gunfire has been given the Military Cross.
Corporal Sean Jones, 25, of 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales' Regiment, "reversed a potentially dire situation" when his patrol came under attack in a carefully planned ambush in October last year.
He is among seven service personnel given the awards for gallantry during active operations in Afghanistan.
The soldier from Shropshire was second-in-command of the patrol which was trying to draw out insurgents laying homemade bombs in Kakaran village, Helmand.
As the patrol moved through an open field, it came under heavy small-arms fire from the north and east.
The soldiers withdrew to the relative safety of the water-filled ditch to return fire, but were trapped as the insurgents moved in.
The father-of-two said: "There was something different about this. It was obviously a well-planned ambush and they overwhelmed us with fire from three points initially."
Firing a rocket at one of the insurgent positions, Cpl Jones ordered three of his men to fix bayonets before breaking cover and leading them across 80 metres of open ground raked by enemy fire. He organised his men to start attacking enemy firing points.
The speed, aggression and audacity of his response caused the insurgents to fall back in disarray.
Cpl Jones rallied his men to launch another assault just as the platoon commander and the rest of the patrol, who had been suppressing the other enemy position during the charge, rejoined the group.
The insurgents retreated.
The soldier's citation states that Cpl Jones demonstrated "unflinching courage and extraordinary leadership in the face of extreme and tangible danger".
He "epitomised the best qualities of the British infantry: gritty determination, controlled aggression, tactical cunning and complete disregard for his own safety".
In total, 107 service personnel were honoured with many tales of remarkable bravery.
Rifleman Matthew Wilson, 21, of 2 Rifles received a Military Cross for running to protect a wounded comrade in a deadly game of cat and mouse, in which he was shot in the head.
Army officer, Captain Nick Garland, who returned to Afghanistan despite almost dying on his last operational tour, was recognised for his bravery in more than 50 high-intensity battles.
Lieutenant Colonel James Coote was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his role in mentoring the Afghan National Police. He was singled out as "the principal architect of an extraordinary momentum of transition in security responsibility to Afghan forces."
Sergeant Matthew Perry was awarded a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for developing and mentoring a new Afghan Local Police force.
Sapper Ryan Pavey, an Army engineer, was awarded a Queen's Commendation for Bravery for risking his life to save a child hit by a roadside bomb.
Introducing the honours at London's National Army Museum, Adjutant General, Lieutenant General Gerald Berragan, said: "Every day in Afghanistan our service men and women face mortal danger.
"They do this with the full knowledge of the danger presented by a clever and ruthless enemy."