Scots soldier honoured for bravery in bomb factory

Andreas Peat has been awarded the George Medal. Picture: MOD

Andreas Peat has been awarded the George Medal. Picture: MOD

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A SCOTTISH soldier, who risked his life by single-handedly saving Afghan and Danish soldiers from a bomb, has been given a top military honour.

Warrant Officer Andreas Peat is to be awarded the George Medal for his actions when attached to a taskforce of Danish special forces, serving alongside Afghan troops, it was revealed yesterday .

The 39-year-old bomb disposal expert, from Edinburgh, was on an operation to search a suspected homemade explosives factory when one of the Danish soldiers triggered a device on a compound roof.

WO Peat, a father-of-one, cleared a route to the man while urging the other Afghan and Danish soldiers to stay still to avoid triggering other bombs.

When he reached the soldier, he realised there was another wire underneath him and traced it to another bomb hidden under a nearby stone, which he then disarmed before clearing another safe route.

The warrant officer was among 117 members of the armed forces recognised in the latest round of military honours

Private Ryan Houston, of 1st Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was also named on the Operational Honours list, announced at the Tower of London.

He was mentioned in despatches for his actions when a rogue Afghan soldier turned on coalition troops during a Remembrance Day football match in Helmand Province.

The 22-year-old, from Hamilton, was on duty as a Guardian Angel, patrolling the Forward Operating Base in Nad-e Ali to protect his fellow troops, when he heard gunfire.

As Afghan and British troops scattered, he took on the rogue soldier who was firing at him, then followed him as he fled.

The incident fatally wounded Captain Walter Barrie, 41, from Penicuik in Midlothian, who was playing in the match. His killer was stopped when Pte Houston, joined by another soldier, gave chase and opened fire .

The father-of-one said: “It seemed like a couple of hours but it was probably just five or ten minutes.

“It’s a hard thing to train you for. You’re trained to spot things and deal with things, but it’s a hard one to train for.”

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond paid tribute to the bravery of those selected for awards, saying: “Those honoured have displayed exceptional dedication and commitment to their country, comrades and mission.”

A soldier who has been blown up three times was also among those recognised for bravery. Corporal Oliver Bainbridge has been awarded the Military Cross for a “display of personal courage, selfless commitment and inspired leadership” in Afghanistan.

But the 25-year-old, from the Royal Dragoon Guards, confessed some of his colleagues have joked that they might not like to stand too close to him in the future, because of his tendency to get blown up.

Cpl Bainbridge was the commander of an armoured Jackal vehicle leading a convoy in Helmand Province when it hit a bomb, catapulting the gunner from the turret and injuring the driver.

As soldiers began to check the area for other bombs and a medic came from another vehicle to help the driver, who had a suspected broken leg, insurgents opened fire with machine guns.

Cpl Bainbridge grabbed the injured man, dragging him to the crater made by the bomb, while ordering the others to take cover as well. He then made sure the injured soldier was taken to a safe vehicle for treatment. The soldier returned to the Jackal to recover any sensitive equipment, spending two hours making sure there was nothing that could be taken by insurgents.

Acting Lance Corporal Tuljung Gurung, from the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was also awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry and courage when he took on an insurgent who mounted an attack on the patrol base where he was on guard.

Flight Lieutenant Christopher Gent, 31, from Dorset, received a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air for skilful piloting a Chinook helicopter in “abysmal weather”, when visibility was just 30 metres, to rescue an injured Afghan soldier.

An army medic who saved lives on three separate occasions during her first tour of duty in Afghanistan received a mention in despatches.

Lance Corporal Rachel Hughes, 26, from Essex, single-handedly provided emergency treatment to four Afghan children who had been trapped underwater when the tractor they were in overturned in a canal.

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