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Military honours

PUBLISHED: 13:19 10 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:29 07 July 2010

Braving minefields to selflessly save a wounded interpreter and working for 24 hours a day seven days a week to ensure all vehicles are fit for battle are just some of the heroic acts soldiers from the Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley have been recognised for.

Braving minefields to selflessly save a wounded interpreter and working for 24 hours a day seven days a week to ensure all vehicles are fit for battle are just some of the heroic acts soldiers from the Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley have been recognised for.

L/Cpl Adam Hirst was teaching reconnaissance to the Afghan army last year when a local interpreter only several feet behind him stood on an anti-personnel mine.

The 24-year-old, who has been awarded Joint Commander's Commendation, said: “Initially I thought we were under attack from the Taliban. We knew they were in the area. There was a lot of dust and I could smell explosive in the air.

“When the dust settled I realised the guy was badly wounded so I treated him and he was extracted. The bombs are old so you can walk over them and they won't necessarily go off unless a certain amount of weight is put on it. And unfortunately in this case he triggered it.

“I'd already crawled over them several times. When we'd cleared the area we found three anti tank mines underneath. We were extremely lucky they didn't go off.

“Anyone in my position would have done exactly the same thing. It was the right place at the wrong time.”

Staff Sgt Simon Hensellek, 32, from Gorleston, has also been awarded the Joint Commander's Commendation for six months of exceptional work of keeping squadron vehicles fit for battle and motivating his team to work for often 24-hours at a time without breaks.

He said: “I'm a bit embarrassed about it all really. We were told together and as we were waiting to go in we all thought we were in trouble.

“There are so many soldiers out there who deserve to be recognised. If every single one that deserved it was recognised, the papers would just be filled with squaddies.

“I don't think I deserve this more than anyone else. The guys work just as hard. I'll have to buy a lot of beer for this.”

And their commanding officer Lt Col Angus Watson has also been recognised with the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service awarded for his dedication to duty, calm and clear leadership under fire and the professional manner in which he conducted numerous complex tasks in the Helmand Province.

tMajor John Godfrey and Capt Nick Binnington both received Mention in Dispatches.

tCpl Les Binns, Sgt Billy Braithwaite, Sgt Paul Grahame, Capt Michael Reed and L/Cpl Joe Stamp all received Joint Commander's Commendation while Lt Matt Fygis-Walker, Capt Tim Dalby-Walsh, Sgt Mark Dobbs, Sgt David Gray and Trooper Lee Wilson all received Combritfor Commendations.

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