Historic honour goes to the bravest of the brave

Corporal Oliver Bainbridge
Corporal Oliver Bainbridge

An Army commander from Retford has been awarded the Military Cross for an act of extreme bravery while serving in Afghanistan.

Corporal Oliver Bainbridge, 25, shielded a wounded colleague after an improvised explosive device (IED) strike by lying on top of him as enemy fire rained down on them.

Bainbridge was leading his section into an insurgent stronghold in the Arghandab River Valley last November when they came under intensive attack and their vehicle hit an IED.

Quickly seizing control, and with no regard for his own safety, he began checking his crew and found his driver had a suspected broken leg, was semi-conscious and in shock,

Bainbridge administered effective first aid before calming and ordering his disorientated Gunner to safety.

The group remained under fire and with the injured driver unable to defend himself, Bainbridge lay on top of him for several minutes before grabbing his own rifle to suppress the firing point.

“It was a natural instinct to protect him, he was hurt and couldn’t move,” said Brainbridge.

“I didn’t want him to get hit again and the bullets were whizzing past and cracking against our vehicle.”

Bainbridge got the driver moved to the safety of a larger armoured vehicle before spending two hours removing essential equipment from his own hit vehicle.

At first light, he led a team back to recover their vehicle, where they came under fire again, but he moved his team to safety and bravely returned to the vehicle for a third time to ensure nothing could be exploited by insurgents.