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Friday, March 24, 2006

George Cross winner announced

Captain Peter Norton with wife Sue
Capt Norton's wife said she was 'very proud'

George Cross for Iraq bomb hero

An army bomb disposal officer credited with saving seven lives by instructing troops as he lay wounded from a bomb blast has been given the George Cross.

Capt Peter Norton, 43, of Gloucester, lost a leg in the blast near Baghdad in July, and later part of an arm.

But as he lay seriously injured he continued to instruct his team on where they could move - a further bomb was discovered 10m away and made safe.

The George Cross is the highest medal for bravery with the enemy not present.

It ranks alongside the Victoria Cross, given for an act in the presence of an enemy.

Capt Norton, confined to a wheelchair following the incident, is only the 22nd British armed forces member to receive the George Cross since 1945.

In command

On 24 July last year, he was leading a team at the scene of an earlier blast, in the Al Bayaa district near Baghdad, which killed four members of a three-vehicle US patrol.

Having been briefed about the threat of further explosions, Captain Norton, of the Royal Logistics Corps, alone went forward to confirm whether a wire to more explosives was present.

His citation reads: "With a complete understanding of the potential hazard to himself and knowing that the insurgents had used secondary devices before in the particularly dangerous part of Iraq, Capt Norton instructed his team and the US forces present in the area to remain with their vehicle while he alone went forward to confirm whether a command wire was present."

An explosion shortly afterwards caused extensive injuries to his legs, arms and lower abdomen.

But he continued to instruct his team - even before he allowed them to administer first aid.

"It is typical of the man that he ignored his injuries and regarded the safety of his men as paramount as they administered life-saving first aid to him," the citation says.

Capt Norton's actions prevented the deaths of at least seven soldiers, said his commanding officer, Lt Col Robert Seddon.

Lt Col Seddon disabled the bomb subsequently found nearby and has been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery.

Captain Norton, is the first George Cross winner from the Iraq war, which is awarded for bravery not in the face of the enemy, while the Victoria Cross is awarded for bravery in the face of the enemy.

According to Wiki

On March 18, 2005, Private Johnson Gideon Beharry of the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment became the first recipient of the VC since the posthumous award to Sgt Ian McKay, 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment in 1982. Beharry was cited for "valour of the highest order" during the Iraq War. He is included in a list of more than 140 British troops awarded honours for roles in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom and Congo

The US Medal of Honor can be awarded under either circumstance. One, to Sgt. Paul R. Smith, has been awarded posthumously in Iraq.

posted by Steve @ 7:24:00 PM

7:24:00 PM

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