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Wounded Solihull war heroes Matt Croucher and Paul Britton meet lying in hospital

INJURED and lying in hospital beds in war torn Afghanistan.

Wounded Solihull war heroes Matt Croucher and Paul Britton met lying in hospital in war torn Afghanistan.

The two brave soldiers, who have been awarded military honours, were meeting for the first time - and realised they were both from Solihull.

Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher, aged 24 and Captain Paul Britton will be presented the George Cross and Military Cross respectively for their gallantry on the battlefield.

Cpt Britton, who grew up in Knowle, spoke to the News this week from his base in Germany about the conflict that earned him a Military Cross.

The 28-year-old had been leading a team of 60 men in the Helmand Province when they were ambushed.

"It was a hectic situation. My team members and I were under heavy fire when suddenly I heard a loud bang and stumbled to the floor.

"I immediately knew something was wrong as there was blood coming down my arm, but I couldn't see my shoulder under my protective body armour."

Burning shrapnel had lodged into the corner of Cpt Britton's shoulder, causing sharp pains.

The former Arden School pupil refused to take morphine when it was offered to him as he said it would have slowed him down.

"At the time, as far as I was concerned we were in a difficult situation with three of our team seriously injured.

"As soon as I realised it wasn't life threatening I knew I would just carry on doing my job."

When the rescue helicopter arrived to take away the badly injured soldiers, Cpt Britton didn't get on it but carried on marking targets for jets, which bombed enemy positions and allowed his patrol to escape.

His courage and determination were recognised by a commanding officer who recommended him for the Military Cross.

"It came as a bit of a shock to hear of the honour.

"All I did was crack on with what needed to be done and I was confident to be working with a competent team who handled the situation very well."

Cpt Britton also praised other team members who he said performed equally brave acts of duty.

Both Cpt Britton and L/Cpl Croucher will be presented with their awards at a Buckingham Palace ceremony in the autumn.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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