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Military honours for 21-year-old who saved colleagues despite back injury

Posted in: Accidents and Sickness Abroad Armed Forces Injuries Spine & Back Injuries Workplace Injuries 

21-year-old Ben Taylor from Shropshire has been awarded a military honour after he risked his life in Afghanistan to save his colleagues. The young roofer and army reservist had originally joined the army because he “fancied a challenge”, which was achieved when he battled for 40 minutes with a severe back injury to rescue his colleagues from an upturned vehicle that was submerged in a canal.

The vehicle accident occurred during his first operational visit to Afghanistan, as he became a top cover gunner in a Mastiff armoured vehicle with the task of inserting a sniper team into an Afghan national army checkpoint in Helmand Province. The vehicle lost control during the mission and rolled down a steep bank into a canal where it landed on its roof submerged in the water. Ben Taylor managed to escape from the trapped vehicle by removing his body armour, and then repeatedly dived underwater to rescue the other men from the vehicle. The rescue operation lasted 40 minutes, which Ben Taylor endured with serious injuries to his back.

Among 117 servicemen and women

His honour citation said that he showed “immense physical courage and determination”, for which he will receive the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. Rifleman Taylor is among 117 servicemen and women who have been recommended for the award for performing past their call of duty. The Queen will present these awards at Buckingham Palace later in the year.

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