LOCAL soldier Matt Croucher, who was awarded the George Cross for bravery in Afghanistan, has loaned the medal to the Imperial War Museum.
Lance Corporal Croucher was presented with the medal two years ago, after leaping on top of a grenade - a valiant attempt to shield his comrades.
Miraculously, he escaped the explosion with a few cuts and bruises and went to Buckingham Palace to accept the medal from the Queen.
Now the award is going on public display for the first time in the newly-opened Lord Ashcroft Galley. Visitors will also be able to see the soldier’s badly-damaged daysack, that bore the brunt of the explosion.
“I do not think it does it justice to be sitting at home in a top drawer of a cupboard and I’m very proud to loan it to the museum,” said the 26-year-old.
Matt Croucher’s story is one of just 241 tales, making up the Extraordinary Heroes exhibition.
Diane Lees, the museum’s director general, said: “We’re delighted to accept the loan of Matt Croucher’s precious George Cross and miraculous kit. We hope it captures the public’s interest and they’ll visit the gallery to learn more about the extraordinary things some people can do.”
The George Cross was introduced in 1940 and recognises the brave action of civilians and soldiers, with a medal awarded on average every four or five years.