Private Lewis Murphy awarded for Afghanistan river rescue

Lewis Murphy
Image caption Pte Murphy said his actions were "instinctive"

A soldier who removed his helmet and body armour to carry a seriously wounded comrade across a river has been recognised for his bravery.

Pte Lewis Murphy, from Middlesbrough, has been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery for his actions in Afghanistan last year.

The 24-year-old and his team came under fire as they searched for an abducted police officer.

"I didn't think about the danger of it," Pte Murphy said.

"I just thought if I leave my equipment on I'll drown."

His comrade was critically injured after being shot in the head, but the nearest place he could be airlifted from was a sandbank across a deep river.

'Adrenalin took over'

Pte Murphy said he got angry with himself when he faltered halfway across.

"I screamed out and thrashed the water in a rage, asking myself why I couldn't do it," he said.

"After running to the helicopter with him in my arms for another 80 metres, I was totally shattered. I've never felt so drained in my life."

Image caption Sjt Slater received a Mention in Despatches

Also among the 118 people recognised in the latest military honours was Serjeant Lee Slater from Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

The 31-year-old soldier was serving with The Rifles in Afghanistan in July when he rescued a comrade when soldiers were attacked as they spoke with a local farmer.

In what was described as a "Herculean effort", Sjt Slater dragged the casualty to cover.

He said: "I could see the rounds landing within 50cm of him in clouds of dust. I knew he had been hit and there wasn't any time to spare. It was adrenalin that took over."

Sjt Slater received a Mention in Despatches.

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