British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously
Lance Corporal James Ashworth will be awarded a Victoria Cross posthumously after he died in Afghanistan protecting the lives of his fellow soldiers.
The Victoria Cross is Britain’s highest award for individuals who show gallantry, including acts of “valour or self-sacrifice” or “extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy”.
Since the Second World War only ten such awards have been given to soldiers from the UK. Lance Corporal Ashworth will be the second soldier from the war in Afghanistan to receive this award posthumously.
Reports tell how 23 year old Lance Corporal Ashworth exposed himself to enemy fire to protect the lives of his comrades when his reconnaissance platoon became involved in a conflict with the Taliban within enemy-held compounds in the Nahr-e-Siraj district. A grenade blast was the cause of his death.
Lance Corporal Ashworth’s comrades have commended his valiant actions. Captain Mike Dobbin, his company commander, said, “Lance Corporal Ashworth was killed while fighting his way through compounds; leading his fire team from the front, whilst trying to protect his men; and he showed extraordinary courage to close on a determined enemy”.
He added that “I am humbled by what I saw of Lance Corporal Ashworth’s actions and will never forget him”.
His grieving family said “We are devastated by the loss of our son, brother, uncle and boyfriend. He meant the world to everyone and has left an irreplaceable hole in our hearts”.
The award is expected to be officially confirmed by the Ministry of Defence in the coming week.