A Shropshire soldier awarded the Military Cross for leading a bayonet charge against Taliban machine guns today played down his heroics, insisting he was only doing his job.
Corporal Sean Jones, from Market Drayton, ordered his men to fix bayonets before rushing an insurgent stronghold in Afghanistan.
The daring raid across 80 metres (90 yards) of open ground into a hail of enemy bullets caused the insurgents to flee from the battle zone in Kakaran village, Helmand.
Cpl Jones, a married father-of-two serving with 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Regiment, today modestly paid tribute to the troops he was leading when the drama unfolded last October on his third tour of Afghanistan.
As Cpl Jones’s patrol crossed an open field it came under heavy small-arms fire from two sides, causing the soldiers to seek refuge in a water-filled ditch .
Staying put was not an option, and after firing a rocket at one of the insurgent positions, Cpl Jones ordered three of his men to fix bayonets beforecharging the enemy, while other soldiers provided covering fire.
The speed, aggression and audacity of his response caused the insurgents to fall back in disarray.
Cpl Jones said: “I’m proud to get the award, but it feels a bit weird really. I never thought this would happen; I just did what I had to do.
“I wasn’t the only one there on that day; there were 11 other guys with me. It’s me who got an award but the others played their part too – I’m not a one-man army.
“It was a close shave, but I didn’t have a scratch on me afterwards.”
The 25-year-old said he found being in the media spotlight, with a string of appearances on TV news yesterday, more daunting than the role of being a soldier.