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A soldier who displayed extreme valour while seriously injured with a gunshot wound to the neck is among 117 servicemen and women and civilians who have been recognised for bravery on operations at a ceremony at the Honourable Artillery Company headquarters in London.
Following a serious injury to his neck, Lance Corporal Simon Moloney of the Household Cavalry Regiment repeatedly faced sustained insurgent fire, but continued to provide protection to his comrades for 90 minutes in temperatures in excess of 40°C.
The gunshot to his neck missed his vital arteries and voice box by millimetres. After receiving first aid, Lance Corporal Moloney continued to pass critical target information to win the fire fight he was part of by shouting through the effects of his throat injury and over the crack of enemy rounds, only breaking contact when ordered to seek medical attention.
Without his gallantry and skill in the ruthless suppression of the enemy, it is likely that his troop would have sustained multiple casualties. For his efforts, Lance Corporal Moloney has been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
His story is just one example of the many tales of courage which have been shared as scores of other personnel from all 3 services are honoured in the 42nd Operational Honours and Awards List, which covers the period between April and October 2013.
Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois said:
With the end of our combat mission on the horizon, as the Afghan forces assume the lead for security operations across the country, the courage and bravery of UK forces deployed there remains constant and undiminished.
Those featured in this operational honours list have displayed exceptional dedication and commitment to their country, their comrades and the mission. For this, they deserve our recognition and gratitude.
Many of those recognised served with 1st Mechanized Brigade, which deployed to Afghanistan in April 2013. But the awards also highlight acts of courage and dedication of those in other areas, such as Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Neil Halsey, whose brave actions stopped a stricken tug from sinking, averting a major environmental disaster.
Chief Petty Officer Halsey made the brave decision to get on board a sinking boat and then repeatedly immersed himself in a pitch-black, unfamiliar engine room with oily water up to his shoulders and only a torch to guide him in a bid to find the source of the leak.
Once he found the hole he hammered in softwood wedges to stem the flow and activated 2 pumps to flush the water out. He stayed on board the tug for more than 6 hours throughout the night until the arrival of the salvage boat. For these actions Chief Petty Officer Halsey has been awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.
Members of the Royal Air Force to be honoured in the latest awards included a Chinook crew who landed their helicopter under fire from Afghan insurgents.
Flight Lieutenant Charlie Lockyear was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Master Aircrew Bob Sunderland a Mention in Despatches.
The crew were inserting British troops into a high-threat area of Afghanistan in May 2013 when they came under fire from nearby insurgents. Despite the structural and electrical damage to the helicopter, including bullet damage to the rotor blades, Flight Lieutenant Lockyear guided the aircraft back to Camp Bastion’s hospital, where the injured were treated and the aircraft shut down.