Soldier commended for gallantry under fire in Iraq

A SOLDIER who was temporarily blinded during an operation in Iraq has been rewarded for his gallantry. Sgt Chris Richards, who is based at Bassingbourn Barracks, was awarded the military cross for the courage he showed during the conflict in Basra in Apri

A SOLDIER who was temporarily blinded during an operation in Iraq has been rewarded for his gallantry.

Sgt Chris Richards, who is based at Bassingbourn Barracks, was awarded the military cross for the courage he showed during the conflict in Basra in April 2008.

He received his medal at Buckingham Palace from the Prince of Wales.

Sgt Richards, a member of the Royal Dragoon Guards, was commanding the lead tank in an operation to arrest a key militia leader.

Charged with providing security on the ground, his Challenger tank came under fire, and as a result the turret hatch blew open, blinding the soldier in the process.

Despite his injury, poor visibility and considerable damage to the vehicle, Sgt Richards urged his crew to continue on, and played a key role in providing security to the other units involved in the mission and finally arrived safely at the objective.

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His citation reads: "In spite of significant threats, Sgt Richards performed an act of leadership, with outstanding nerve, determination and exemplary gallantry in the face of the enemy.