BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE; 87 honoured for battlefield courage.
BRITAIN today salutes 87 of its bravest servicemen and women with honours for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.
The inspirational sergeant who, after being shot in the hand, carried on firing with his one good arm while all the time rallying his troops through a ferocious two-hour gun battle.
The Gurkha who dodged a hail of bullets to save an American convoy under ambush in the desert, and the Irish Guards who risked their lives crossing hostile open ground to drag a critically injured commander to safety.
All are included in the honours for military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone announced by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.
Two of the awards are for the celebrated Military Cross. They go to Sgt Paul Kelly of the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment and Sgt Kajiman Limbu of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.
Sgt Kelly, 36, was nominated for his actions in Iraq on March 5 this year. Despite bleeding heavily from a shot in the hand, he took a small party out to confront gunmen massing on a river bank in Qal At Salih. Gathering ammunition and guns from injured comrades, he fired his rifle with his good arm.
Outnumbered almost five to one, his men held their position for two hours until the arrival of four Warrior tanks.
Sgt Kelly's citation said he had shown "exemplary leadership" and described him as "truly inspirational to those around him". The father-of-two said he was stunned to get the award. "I don't call it bravery, I call it stupidity.
"There are a lot of soldiers out there who are far better and braver than I am. It's a great honour to get this award but you are only as good as your men and this is for them really."
Sgt Kelly, who has served in Northern Ireland and Bosnia in 12 years' in the army, was flown home for treatment but back in action two months later in some of the heaviest skirmishes after Saddam was toppled.
The regiment's Major Tony Martin said: "He's an absolutely superb soldier who leads by example."
Sgt Limbu, 34, receives the Military Cross for his bravery in Afghanistan on October 12, 2003. He was part of a six-man team which came to the aid of an American convoy ambushed by anti-coalition forces in Kabul.
As the firefight continued, he dashed to rescue an injured US officer and helped him to safety. His citation reads: "During the incident Limbu displayed valour, courage and leadership under fire."
Irish Guards L/Cpl Simon Campbell, 24, and Guardsman Lee Wheeler receive the Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM) for their bravery in Basra on 10 April 2003.
As their section came under heavy machine gun fire, L/Cpl Campbell, a pallbearer at the Queen Mother's funeral in 2002, and Guardsman Wheeler, 20, risked their own lives to cross open ground and save their section commander who had been critically injured by sniper fire.
The Ministry of Defence said their "swift actions, bravery and professionalism" helped save the commander's life.
The QGM is also awarded to Capt Taitusi Saukuru, 28, from The King's Regiment, for his service in Basra from June to November 2003.
Capt Saukuru, a Fijian serving in the British Army, is cited for his instrumental role in a successful weapons seizure, and for his leadership during a riot where British military vehicles were attacked with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns.
He is commended for "displaying great composure under pressure" and "outstanding leadership and professionalism of the highest order".
Mr Hoon said: "These honours recognise the outstanding achievements of these extraordinary men and woman."
ROLL OF HONOUR
NORTHERN IRELAND: CBE: Maj Gen William Euan Buchanan LOUDON OBE, late Royal Highland Fusiliers
MBE: Leading Seaman T D Aleksander KRSTENIC, RN; Maj Simon Richard URRY, Royal Marines; Maj Sarah Helen HENDERSON-LEA, Intelligence Corps; Maj Philip James MORRISON BEM, Royal Irish Regiment; WO Edward MURPHY, Royal Highland Fusiliers; WO Simon David ORCHARD, Paras; Capt Paul David SNAPE, Royal Logistic Corps; WO Ian Mark WEBSTER, The Green Howards.
QGM: WO Eamon Conrad HEAKIN, Royal Logistic Corps.
QCB: Cpl Gary ANDERSON, Adjutant General's Corps; S/Sgt Gary SLATER, Royal Logistic Corps; Cpl Marc THOMSON, Adjutant General's Corps (Royal Military Police).
QCVS: Lt Gary David James CRIDDLE, RN; WO Kevin CONNELLY QGM, Paras; WO Raymond James HUTCHINSON, Royal Irish Regiment; Maj William John Peter KELSALL, Devonshire and Dorset Regiment; WO Amanda Yvonne KINNEAR, Royal Irish Regiment; Cpl Sharon Elizabeth McCREADDIE, Royal Corps of Signals; Capt Terence Anthony NEWMAN, Intelligence Corps; Sgt Lee Anthony Masterson James O''CONNOR, Irish Guards; Maj Gary Stuart PEARCE, MBE BEM, Intelligence Corps; Maj Peter ROSS, Green Howards; Sgt Robert Geoffrey SADLER, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment; Sgt Michael Andrew SELLERS, Royal Irish Regiment; Cpl Darren Christopher THOMAS, Devonshire and Dorset Regiment; Lt Col Paul Henry TILLEY MBE, Royal Regiment of Artillery; Sqn Ldr Kevin Michael EMMERSON, RAF; Flt Lt Martin Peter Leonard OLSEN, RAF.
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA: OBE: Lt Col Giles Grant Edward STIBBE, Life Guards.
QCVS: Maj Gordon BLACK, Royal Logistic Corps TA; Fus Allen Peter CLARKE, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers; Cpl Thomas Derek CONNOLLY, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers; Capt Rupert Spark EVETTS, Blues and Royals; Lt Col John Craig LAWRENCE MBE, Royal Gurkha Rifles.
AFGHANISTAN: MBE: Maj Neil Alexander DEN-McKAY, Argyll and Sutherland High-landers; Capt Jeffrey Dallas HEAPS, Royal Logistic Corps.
MC: Sgt Kajiman LIMBU, Royal Gurkha Rifles.
QCB: Sgt Darren Mark BUDDEN, Rifle Volunteers TA; L/Cpl David Andrew JONES, Rifle Volunteers TA.
QCVS: Col Sgt Sean Stuart George FENTON, Rifle Volunteers TA.
IRAQ: CBE: Col Timothy Paul GRIMSHAW, late Corps of Royal Engineers.
OBE: Lt Col Edward Oliver FORSTER-KNIGHT, Adjutant General's Corps (Royal Military Police); Lt Col Philip Martin Lennox NAPIER, Royal Regiment of Wales; Lt Col Patrick Nicholas Yardley Monrad SANDERS, Royal Green Jackets; Col James Kenneth TANNER, late Staffs Regiment; Group Capt Martin Nicholas PRIMETT, RAF.
MBE: Maj Alastair James AITKEN, Black Watch; Maj Malcolm Kelsey CANNON, Royal Regiment of Wales; S/Sgt Adrian Alexander HINDSON, Royal Engineers; Capt Claire Louise PARK, Royal Army Medical Corps; Sgt Matthew James MURCHINGTON, RAF.
MC: Sgt Paul Joseph KELLY, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.
QGM: L/Cpl Simon David CAMPBELL RVM, Irish Guards; Capt Taitusi Kagi SAUKURU, King's Regiment; Guardsman Lee WHEELER, Irish Guards.
MiD: C/Sgt Nicholas ATKINSON, Paras; Sgt Charles Edward CARTER, Paras; L/Cpl David Matthew DIMMOCK, Light Infantry; Capt Darren John FISHER, Royal Logistic Corps; Maj Karl Christian HICKMAN, Light Infantry L/Cpl Marcus Trevor HOBBS, Royal Welsh Regiment Territorial Army; S/Sgt Sean Martin McNIFF, Paras; L/Cpl Shaun Peter SMITH, Light Infantry; C/Sgt Craig John STOCKDALE, Royal Regiment of Wales; Lt Simon Rupert THOMSON, Royal Regiment of Artillery; WO Jonathan Mason WAITE, Light Infantry.
QCB: S/Sgt Philip STROUDLEY, Royal Corps of Signals; Sgt Stuart James STURDY, Paras.
QCVS: CPO Neil Keith TERRY, RN; WO Mark Christopher ASLETT, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment; Lt Col Mark BURNETT, Corps of Royal Engineers; Brigadier Nicholas Patrick CARTER CBE, late The Royal Green Jackets; Maj Gen Andrew Collingwood FIGGURES CBE, late Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; Sgt Hisham Bahjat HALAWI, Paras, TA; WO Ian Alexander McCLYMONT, Royal Regiment of Artillery TA; Lt Col William Justin POINTING, Light Infantry; Capt Kenneth Paul SPARKES, Queen's Royal Hussars; Capt Hazel Jane THOMSON, Adjutant General's Corps; Capt James Thornton WAKEFIELD, Queen's Lancashire Regiment; WO Shaun Joseph WILSON, Royal Regiment of Artillery; Wing Cdr Philip James BEACH MBE, RAF.
SIERRA LEONE: MBE: Lt Col Christopher John CLAYDON, Army Air Corps.
QCVS: Col Nicholas Charles PEDLEY MBE, Intelligence Corps.
MISC OPS: OBE: Cdr Ian Thomas ROBERTS, RN, MBE: C/Sgt Stephen Paul BAIN-BRIDGE, Royal Marines.
QCVS: WO Austin Patrick STEEL QGM, Royal Marines.
AIR FORCE CROSS: Flt Lt Dieter BOOTH; Flt Lt Andrew SHENTON.
QCB: Sqn Ldr Mark John WOOTTEN.
AWARD: Sgt Paul Kelly MC; AWARD: An OBE