Sunday, November 02, 2008

A hero of our times


Whenever you hear veterans talking about their experiences – and it’s often with reluctance - a common thread runs through their reminiscences: the bond of comradeship. One feels they would be prepared to lay down their lives for their pals, their mates. Recently one did and happily survived.

Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher a Royal Marine from Solihull whilst serving with 40 Commando in Afghanistan, was on a night time reconnaissance mission when he stepped on a trip wire. Thinking he was going to be killed he made a spit second decision to twist his body and throw himself on the grenade hoping his back pack would shield his comrades. Miraculously he escaped with a nose bleed and a headache. He saved his friends from, at the very least, serious injury.

Aged 24 Matthew has been awarded the highest award for bravery given, in the absence of the enemy: the George Cross at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

He said: “It is a great honour. I don’t really think about what I did. I don’t tend to dwell on it. There are a lot of other people in Afghanistan who have done similarly courageous acts who haven’t been recognised. When you are in the heat of a gun battle there are always people doing heroic things and they don’t always get picked out for it. They are just doing their job.”

He said in July this year: "I felt a bit guilty for setting the device off. I thought that the best course of action for everyone including myself was to lie right next to the grenade, point my body armour towards it with my day sack and take the brunt of the explosion and see what happens from there."
As Matthew says he’s not the only one ‘just doing their job.’


Eryl Shields said...

What an incredible story Pat. Thank goodness for people like Matthew. His mother must be so proud. I feel quite proud just knowing I'm part of the same species.

kenju said...

He is a hero, and he's very smart, too. To have known instinctively what to do in that situation was very telling of his intelligence and his character. Plus, he's very cute!

PI said...

Eryl: I think his mother must have to be as brave as he is.

Judy: I agree and I particularly like his genuine modesty. What a guy!

john.g. said...

A star,as they all are!

R. Sherman said...

We need more of these stories. Alas, all we seem to read are the other ones.


Kath said...

They are amazing men!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a fantastic story this is. To me, Mathew was Very Very Brave! And it is a miracle that he not only didn't die, but that he wasn't maimed in some horrific way.

People are just so inspiring sometimes, aren't they?

savannah said...

i pray they all can come home safely.

PI said...

John.g; like you honey.

Randall: there are still lots of good guys- praise be!

Kath : you should know- you're married to one:)

Naomi: he must have had an angel sitting on his shoulder - thank Heaven.

PI said...

Savannah: I second that.

Anonymous said...

Do we really need to see this warmongering garbage? Particularly as these guys are paid and walk into this occupation with eyes wide open. Choose this life and expect such developments. No hype required.

PI said...

anon: I don't expect you mean to be rude and you are entitled to your opinion but this is certainly not intended as 'warmongering garbage'.
As for the heroes in WW1 and 2 most of them were conscripted which means they had no choice other than to go to prison.