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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Guardsman James’s gallantry recognised

A WHITEHAVEN soldier has received top recognition for his “outstanding gallantry” after allowing injured comrades to be taken to safety while under fire fighting in Afghanistan.

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Mentioned in despatches: Grenadier Guardsman James Cornish

Grenadier guardsman James Cornish, 21, received a ‘Mention in Despatches’ one of the oldest forms of recognition for gallantry in the Army.

He had been supporting a brigade level operation, attached to an advisor patrol to the Afghan National Army, to clear an insurgent stronghold.

One of the vehicles subsequently struck an improvised explosive device (IED) killing the commander and injuring two others.

An Army spokesperson said: “On his own initiative, James cleared a safe route to the casualties to allow medics to treat those injured. Following a second IED strike, and given the fact both vehicles were badly damaged, the decision was taken to stay out on high ground overnight.

“The next day, the patrol was attacked with machine-gun fire and rocket propelled grenades, cracking overhead and landing between soldiers. Realising they were losing the fire-fight and with disregard for his own safety, James took control of the exposed grenade machine gun and for nearly an hour single-handedly suppressed the enemy.’’

Later that day, the enemy chose to attack again and injured two soldiers, one seriously with a gun shot wound to the chest. This resulted in James running 20 metres again through constant enemy small arms fire and across the IED-seeded area to take control of the grenade machine gun.

After five minutes the gun suffered an unrecoverable stoppage so James, along with another soldier, ran across 40 metres of open ground under fire to take control of the heavy machine gun on a vehicle.

“He identified five enemy positions 400 metres away and suppressed them enough to allow the extraction of casualties, remaining in position for the remainder of the fire-fight,” the press spokesperson said.

“The enemy attempted to manoeuvre across the battlefield and re-group, but James prevented this and single-handedly killed three of the four insurgents. This, combined with a show of force by air support, ended the attack.”

His citation reads: “In a grave situation where the enemy had the initiative and where friendly forces were unable to move, the actions of this brave junior Guardsman restored the situation.

“Not only did Cornish defeat the enemy, killing three of them, but his actions allowed the casualties to be treated and extracted. His outstanding gallantry, above and beyond the call of duty, are thoroughly deserving of significant national recognition.”

James is now back in Aldershot and is preparing to resume ceremonial duties at the royal palaces later this year. His brother Bradleigh will pass out of Harrogate Army Foundation College in August after completing a gruelling course, and will follow James into the Grenadier Guards.

Their parents are Richard and Andrea Cornish, of Red Lonning. Richard said: “Soldiers do not regard themselves as heroes; they merely say they are just doing their job.

“All Andrea and I can say is our boys are real heroes and we want to unashamedly shout it from the roof tops and let every know how proud we are of them.”

Have your say

Very very proud to be James' 3rd cousin!
He did an outstanding job!

Posted by Dan Todd on 20 April 2013 at 17:37

Condolences to the families of those lost and injured.
James did a fantastic job and should be extremely proud of his accomplishment, what courage and determination under adverse conditions. He serves as a hero and inspiration to those that follow.

Posted by Steve Brown on 19 April 2013 at 13:38

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