Para to receive Victoria Cross

Published: Tuesday 14th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Victoria Cross recipient Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey will be awarded the British armed forces’ highest gallantry medal by the Queen today.

L/Cpl Leakey is the first British serviceman to receive the honour while still alive since Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry was decorated in 2005 for saving the lives of comrades during two ambushes in Iraq.

He will receive his medal, during a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony, for the role he played during a combined UK/US assault on a Taliban stronghold in Bar Now Zad, Helmand province, on August 22 2013.

The paratrooper, from the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, showed ”complete disregard” for his own safety as the group came under attack from around 20 insurgents armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

During the incident he took command of the situation giving first aid to a wounded US officer and leading his evacuation before returning to the fight.

On two separate occasions, as bullets flew dangerously close, he retrieved machine guns and took the battle to the Taliban, rallying the troops around him.

His mother Rosie Leakey has revealed he gave up his military history studies weeks into the course as he was “fed up of reading about wars” and wanted to “be in them”.

The para’s second cousin twice removed, Sergeant Nigel Gray Leakey, was a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross in November 1945 for his gallantry while fighting in Africa during the Second World War.

The VC was introduced in January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War.

The bronze cross, which has a crimson ribbon, bears the inscription “For Valour”. It is cast from the metal of Russian guns captured at the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War.

The VC can be awarded to all ranks of the services – and also to civilians – to recognise gallantry in the presence of the enemy.

Published: Tuesday 14th April 2015 by The News Editor

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