27 September 2010

UK Soldier Awarded Military Cross

Lance Corporal Andrew Wardle was among several medal recipients at a London ceremony. His heroic actions during a 4-day battle with Taliban insurgents included rescuing a wounded child from the middle of a firefight.
Lance Corporal Andrew Wardle, 22, watched in horror as the five-year-old boy wandered into the middle of a fire fight between British troops and insurgents in Helmand, southern Afghanistan.

A Taliban bullet struck the child in the middle of the back before exiting from the neck leaving him with life threatening wounds.

With complete disregard for his own safety, LCpl Wardle, 22, of the 2nd battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards), leapt from his position and raced across open ground to collect the injured boy.

LCpl Wardle, told The Sunday Telegraph: "We were assaulting a Taliban firing position when another group of insurgents opened up on us from the right.

"I saw a young child about 50 metres away right in the middle of enemy fire. He was only about five or six and he was heading towards us for safety."

LCpl Wardle, who was helping to train the Afghan Army at the time of the attack, said that the Taliban switched their direction of fire towards the child as soon as they saw the boy heading towards the British and Afghan troops.

He continued: "The Taliban wanted to kill him rather than let him fall into our hands. I have got a niece at home who was about this lad's size although she is a bit older than him.

[snip...]

"We got him on a stretcher and he was carried back to our aid point about 800 metres to our rear. From there, a helicopter came in and took him away to the field hospital at Camp Bastion. I never saw him again, I never found out his name.

"We just hoped he would survive and got on with the fighting."

LCpl Wardle and his patrol of Afghan National Army soldiers stormed the enemy position and won the firefight bringing four days of heavy fighting to a close.

Before rescuing the boy, LCpl Wardle had been almost killed twice during battles with insurgents near Musa Qal'eh in Helmand Province.

In one attack on his compound building a bullet tore through the rifle strap of the weapon slung over his shoulder, missing his body by millimetres.

A few hours later one of his Afghan colleagues fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the enemy and the back blast from weapon hit him straight in the face.

He said: "There was a flash and a bang. I couldn't hear anything, my ears were ringing. All I could think about was getting my fire down on the enemy."

LCpl Wardle ignored his own minor injuries to attack the enemy positions with his Minimi light machine gun.

He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery throughout the four day battle which happened in January. He also discovered 17 Improvised explosive devices during the tour and treated five casualties.

His citation was among several read out at a ceremony at Wellington barracks in central London to announce Operational Honours won in Afghanistan during Operation Herrick 11.

It read: "He has displayed selfless and repeated acts of exemplary gallantry in the face of the enemy."
By: Shelldrake

1 comment:

Anthony Emmel said...

"With complete disregard for his own safety, LCpl Wardle . . . . leapt from his position and raced across open ground to collect the injured boy."

That's what it's all about in the end. God bless the LCpl.