Two soldiers who leapt into a freezing canal to rescue an unconscious colleague hurled into the water by a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan have been honoured. Second Lieutenant Connor Maxwell and Rifleman Daniel Nickson received the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery after wading through the three-metre deep water to pull him clear.
The pair, from 3rd Battalion the Rifles, had struggled against a strong current and used ladders to haul the man out and then resuscitated him. Lt Maxwell, 22, shouted for a quad bike from a patrol base which took the injured man to the Company aid post for treatment and he was then evacuated by helicopter.
The wounded rifleman suffered head injuries as he was thrown into the water after being hit by an improvised explosive device (IED roadside bomb) near Sangin in Helmand Province. Rfn Nickson, 23, from Darlington, County Durham, was hailed for his “courage and selflessness” in risking his own life by leaping into the canal on December 15 last year.
His tour ended two months later when he was hit by an IED that blasted shrapnel into his back, shoulder and left arm. He has since made a full recovery. Lt Maxwell, from Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, was also praised for saving the life of a serviceman injured by an IED during training on the firing ranges at Camp Bastion, the main Nato base in Helmand.
A total of 131 servicemen and women were awarded medals in the latest military honours list, nine posthumously. Most of the 131 served in 11 Light Brigade’s bloody tour of Afghanistan between October 2009 and April this year. Warrant Officer Class 2 Patrick Hyde, 34, of 4th Battalion the Rifles, is awarded a Mention in Despatches for his “exemplary gallantry”.
During his six months in Afghanistan, the vehicle he was in was blown up six times by IEDs. There were three near-misses and four bombs hit other vehicles in the convoy he was commanding. WO2 Hyde, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, also personally oversaw the medical evacuation of 10 members of his company and four Afghan children with fatal wounds.
The soldier’s citation said his “selfless commitment and bravery” in the face of continued attack were an “inspiration” – Skynews