News story

Honour for brave soldier

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A soldier has been honoured with a Mention in Despatches in the latest Operational Honours and Awards List.

Sapper James McDermott, from the Corps of Royal Engineers, has been awarded a Mention in Despatches for demonstrating gallantry in braving enemy fire to go to the aid of British and Afghan colleagues.

Last July, Sapper McDermott and his search team were with members of the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) on a planned search near a checkpoint in Pan Kalay after discovering digging had taken place there.

On recalling the incident, Sapper McDermott said:

Insurgents had been digging tunnels, putting improvised explosive devices in them and then blowing them up along this particular route, so there had been lots of casualties there. Our job was to go to this place where it kept happening and find the devices.

Sapper James McDermott
Sapper James McDermott, Corps of Royal Engineers [Picture: Corporal Si Longworth RLC, Crown copyright]

After searching around the compounds, the team came under fire from around 10 enemy positions. During the attack, a British commander was hit by an enemy bullet in the foot, and an ANCOP soldier got shot in the leg.

While under direct attack, Sapper McDermott ran to his commander to give him first aid. Then, with the help of another team member, Sapper McDermott managed to get his commander to safety before running 30 metres, while still under fire, to treat his Afghan colleague and bring him to safety.

Sapper McDermott acted without any hesitation or thought for his own personal safety, and it’s these actions which have led to him being awarded a Mention in Despatches.

On receiving this recognition, Sapper McDermott said he was ‘very happy’.