Send us news by text, start your message CN News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Crewe solider mentioned in Dispatches for gun battle heroism
10:13am Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
A BRAVE Crewe soldier made himself a target so his comrades could find cover while serving in Afghanistan.
Corporal Darren Lightfoot has been honoured with a Mention in Despatches for his actions.
The 27-year-old mortar fire controller with 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment was part of a patrol in November last year as it returned to its isolated checkpoint in Kopak; one of the most unstable regions of Helmand province.
Three insurgents armed with machine guns attacked, splitting the group in two: eleven, including Darren, were pinned down behind a wall but the patrol commander and those with him were stranded in open ground.
Those in the open were targeted with rocket propelled grenade fire and the patrol commander was hurt.
Darren, a father of three, saw the risk to life and took control of the situation.
His citation reads: “With complete disregard for his own safety and demonstrating an astonishing act of individual bravery, he left the security of the wall and the hard cover it provided, and moved into the killing area in direct view of the enemy in order to draw their fire.”
Once there he lay down and used his general purpose machine gun so effectively that the soldiers trapped in the open were able to regroup with the rest of the patrol under the cover of the wall.
All this time Darren continued firing and, when the insurgents took cover, he too was able to return to the patrol, helping a comrade who had been knocked over by a rocket propelled grenade blast as he did so.
The former Victoria High School pupil, who now lives in Catterick, North Yorkshire, said: “It just seemed the right thing to do.
“I was the platoon’s machine gunner and that’s was what I was supposed to do. If I hadn’t done this, or somebody else hadn’t, then we would have been there for as long as the insurgents could have shot at us.
“There was another guy with me feeding me the ammunition so it was a team effort.
“After the incident, on the patrol back to base, I asked myself why I had done it, but it needed to be done. There were rocket propelled grenades within five metres of the patrol. I don’t understand how it didn’t cause us more harm.”
His citation concludes: “His selfless act of bravery undoubtedly prevented casualties from occurring as a result of the accurate enemy fire.”
Darren has previously served on two tours of Iraq, two tours of Afghanistan and one tour of Northern Ireland.
The Mention in Despatches is the oldest form of recognition of gallantry within the UK Armed Forces.
Since 1993, the Mention in Despatches has been reserved for gallantry during active operations.
The announcement was made today with the release of the latest operational honours and awards list which includes 117 personnel.
The awards are for actions roughly during the period September to March 2013 during Operation HERRICK 17.
Darren, will marry his fiancée Victoria later this month and has three children Rhys, aged seven, Jack aged seven and Harry aged three.
He said: “They’re really proud of me. They’re the reason I do what I do.”
Comments are closed on this article.