Iggesund manager awarded Military Cross for bravery
Last updated at 14:15, Friday, 06 September 2013
A manager at Workington’s Iggesund Paperboard has been awarded the Military Cross for outstanding bravery in Afghanistan.
Richard Oakes, human resources manager at the Siddick mill, risked his life to reach a wounded Afghan soldier during an ambush in June 2012.
Mr Oakes, 38, of Greysouthen, near Cockermouth, received his medal from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
A citation praised Territorial Army reservist Mr Oakes for his quick thinking, robust leadership and tactical astuteness.
His 30-man patrol was caught in cross-fire as insurgents in Helmand province launched rocket-propelled grenades, three of which exploded within 30ft of their position.
He took decisive action and moved his patrol, which included members of the Afghan National Army, across open ground to reach the wounded soldier.
Corporal Alex Guy, 37, was shot less than a foot away from him as they fought to stop the wounded Afghan bleeding. Pinned down in the open, Mr Oakes administered first aid to his stricken British comrade before organising an evacuation under heavy fire.
Cpl Guy, of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, later died and was awarded the Military Cross posthumously.
Mr Oakes, who previously served in the regular Army, was hailed for his actions which undoubtedly prevented further loss of life, the citation said.
He said this week: “It was a bolt out of the blue to be awarded the Military Cross, and it made me feel very humble. I was privileged to work alongside some brilliant lads, all of whom faced the same dangers and took the same risks as me.”
He discovered he was to receive the award two days after taking up his new role at Iggesund.
He was serving with the 3rd Battalion The Rifles.
The Military Cross is awarded to all ranks of the armed forces in recognition of exemplary gallantry.
Mr Oakes previously served as an infantry officer in the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment for 10 years in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Iraq.
First published at 13:44, Friday, 06 September 2013
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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