Military Cross for Light Dragoon soldier

Emma KnightsA Norfolk soldier was at Buckingham Palace today to receive a top bravery award for his courage and forthright leadership while serving in Afghanistan.Emma Knights

A Norfolk soldier was at Buckingham Palace today to receive a top bravery award for his courage and forthright leadership while serving in Afghanistan.

Captain Rowley Gregg, of the Swanton Morley-based Light Dragoons, was presented with the Military Cross by the Princess Royal.

The prestigious medal is the third highest honour a soldier can receive for gallantry while on active operations against the enemy on land.

Capt Gregg, 26, from Lammas, between Norwich and North Walsham, spent six months in Afghanistan last year, and he received the Military Cross for outstanding leadership during Operation Panther's Claw, a campaign to clear one of the few remaining Taliban strongholds in Helmand Province. He commanded a mixed troop of reconnaissance vehicles and dismounted soldiers attached to a rifle company.

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Capt Gregg described receiving his award as 'pretty daunting' and 'overwhelming.'

Afterwards he said: 'I'm here on behalf of my boys and being given the Military Cross is as much for them as it is for me.

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'We went through something and I was chuffed to be working alongside these guys.'

The citation for the award said Capt Gregg 'insisted on leading from the front; resolute and firm in his determination to take the fight to the enemy at all costs.

'His courage, forthright leadership and determination to complete the mission in the face of heavy casualties were pivotal to the success of the operation.

'His bravery, leadership and the outstanding personal example he set have all been exemplary.'

Capt Gregg led his troop through countless vulnerable points with courage, using counter insurgent tactics to find four IEDs (improvised explosive devices), all of which would have destroyed his vehicles.

He continually placed himself in danger, pushing his vehicles directly into enemy fire on numerous occasions to provide firepower for his dismounted soldiers, even though the enemy had set deadly accurate rocket propelled grenade ambushes to destroy his vehicles.

He often manned sentry positions himself to allow his men to rest, and he worked without sleep to organise vital re-supply runs in the dark close to the insurgents.

His citation for the award noted his troop suffered the highest number of casualties of the battle group - suffering 18 casualties from 35 men who started the operation.

It said Capt Gregg's response to this demonstrated compassion and maturity way beyond his years and enabled his men to carry on with a level of morale that inspired the rest of the battle group.

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