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Thetford soldier a hero of Helmand

PUBLISHED: 09:22 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:00 07 July 2010

Lance Corporal Oliver Ruecker.

Lance Corporal Oliver Ruecker.

A THETFORD soldier is among six brave men awarded top military bravery honours for their heroics in the Helmand province of Afghanistan last summer.

The Military Cross was awarded to the soldiers from the 1st battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment who took on the Taliban and forced them out of their strongholds.

A Mundford soldier is among six brave men awarded top military honours for their heroic actions in the Helmand province of Afghanistan last summer.

The Military Cross was awarded to the soldiers from the 1st battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment who took on the Taliban and forced them out of their strongholds.

L/Cpl Oliver Ruecker from Mundford has been awarded the Military Cross.

He was part of a vehicle patrol when two rocket-propelled grenades hit the vehicle and set it alight. As L/Cpl Ruecker dismounted, the former Methwold High School pupil saw an armed Taliban fighter about to shoot his colleagues, but he got his shot in first and removed the serious threat.

Realising that his comrade, Cpl Dean Bailey, was stuck in the burning vehicle, he ignored his own safety, returned through a hail of enemy fire and pulled the soldier from the burning vehicle seconds before it exploded in a ball of flame.

Also included in the medals was a posthumous award to Capt David Hicks who refused morphine to remain in command while his unit was under severe attack from enemy Taliban forces, despite being mortally wounded.

Five soldiers from the battalion received a Mention in Despatches for their role in some of the fiercest fighting seen by British soldiers since the Korean War.

The honours for the 1st battalion - which saw nine men killed in action in the Helmand province - were announced on Friday along with honours for hundreds of other military personnel from all services serving in war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Gunners from the RAF Regiment at Honington - who saw four of their comrades killed in Basra - are also honoured, including the first award of a Military Cross - one of the highest bravery awards in the British military - to a member of the Regiment.

Defence Secretary Des Browne praised the personnel for their displaying courage beyond the call of duty.

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