The Times is reporting that a member of 1 PARA who ran a gauntlet of gunfire three times as he rescued a US marine has become the first living British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross for the war in Afghanistan:
"Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey was handed Britain’s highest honour for military gallantry 70 years after one of his ancestors received the same medal.
He is one of only three British servicemen who fought in the Afghan conflict to receive the country’s highest medal for bravery. Lance Corporal James Ashworth and Corporal Bryan Budd were both killed in action. It is only the 15th Victoria Cross to be awarded since the end of the Second World War."
General Sir Nicholas Carter, the head of the army, said that he was “deeply humbled” to announce the award as part of a list of 139 operational honours being given for exceptional deeds on British missions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, the Falklands and elsewhere.
Lance Corporal Leakey’s “courage, his leadership and his tenacity in the face of a very determined enemy . . . helped save the life of an American officer and ensured the safe return of his patrol”, General Carter said, at a ceremony in central London.
L/Cpl Leakey is said to be a distant cousin of Sgt Nigel Leakey VC, who was awarded the supreme gallantry decoration posthumously for his action against enemy Italian tanks at Kolito in Abyssinia, now Ethiopia, on May 19, 1941.
UPDATE: A Ministry of Defence media release is now available at the second link below. BAFF congratulates all recipients.
- Times story (£) by Deborah Haynes, Defence Editor: Hero braved Taliban fire again and again to rescue comrade
- GOV.UK media release: Military courage recognised in Operational Honours List