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Honour for Scots corporal who led Taliban raid

RAF Corporal Kurt Lee, who is to be honoured on Armed Forces Day. Picture: PA

RAF Corporal Kurt Lee, who is to be honoured on Armed Forces Day. Picture: PA

  • by ALISTAIR MUNRO
 

A BRAVE Scots corporal who led his troops through a hail of gunfire to overpower five Taleban insurgents in a potentially deadly raid in Afghanistan is to be honoured on Armed Forces Day.

Corporal Kurt Lee, 29, was blown off his feet and left concussed by an enemy grenade blast during the battle at Camp Bastion last year – but still managed to aim a direct hit at the insurgents.

Being shot at within a matter of two feet, he refused to be evacuated from the scene until the attack on a bunker, where the enemy, was planning an assault was over.

Cpl Lee spoke yesterday of his “great honour” to be mentioned in dispatches for his “selfless” actions and to be presented on Sunday with the prestigious silver Oak Leaf.

Part of 51 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment Air Protection Wing, based at RAF Lossiemouth, he will receive the top military award during a parade in the Moray town’s Armed Forces Day. The regiment is the ground fighting force of the RAF, protecting aircraft and personnel from attack.

Cpl Lee, originally from Manchester, said: “It’s a great honour to be mentioned in dispatches, particularly as there were so many others who faced the same dangers, many of whom sustained significant wounds that night and are still coming to terms with their injuries. I feel I’ll be representing them and the whole regiment when I receive the Oak Leaf, and it will be an exceptional privilege to have it presented in front of the whole community.

“It’s important that people know what we do as a regiment.”

The citation reads: “Corporal Lee, a section commander on 51 Squadron RAF Regt, attacked a small fortified bunker where Taleban insurgents were lying in wait. The assault force started to close in on this position with Corporal Lee being one of the two lead men silently creeping forward.

“Due to their stealthy approach they had not been seen until nearly at touching distance; however at this point the insurgents opened fire the rounds narrowly missing him by less than two feet.

“Two grenades were thrown out of the enemy position, the blast knocking Corporal Lee off his feet. Dazed, concussed and confused by the grenade blasts, he quickly got up and fired into the insurgent position.

“His actions were fearless and he demonstrated complete selflessness in the face of the enemy which allowed the assault section to extract to cover … five insurgents were confirmed as dead.”

Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Lt Col Grenville Johnston, said: “It is a great pleasure for me to be able to present this award for bravery. It is a rare event and in the case of Cpl Lee it is an honour to make the presentation to a member of 51 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment in public on Armed Forces Day. Moray has every reason to be very proud.”

Another member of the RAF Regiment, Sgt Roy Geddes, was awarded the Military Cross last year for his action in the battle.

Moray’s Armed Forces Day will be held in Lossiemouth on Sunday at noon, a week before the rest of the UK host theirs.

A military parade of serving personnel, veterans and cadets will march through the town at 2:30pm, halt at the war memorial to salute and hear addresses from the convener of Moray Council and the Lord Lieutenant.

 
 
 

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