A soldier from Aldermaston who rescued a disorientated colleague and performed first aid on another while being peppered by enemy fire in Afghanistan has received the Military Cross.
Captain William Hall, of the 16th Royal Regiment of Artillery, was ambushed by insurgents in the village of Kakaran while on his second mission with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force.
As the soldiers withdrew to a ditch under machine gun fire, a bullet struck a non-commissioned officer in the head.
Another soldier became overwhelmed with shock and, oblivious to the fire fight around him, walked back into the line of fire.
Reacting instantly, Capt Hall, aged 32, crawled back through the intense fire and pulled the soldier to safety.
The former Aldermaston Primary, Theale Green and Bradfield College pupil said he recalled delivering a ‘few choice words’ to his comrade to snap him out of his shock.
Then, under sustained enemy rounds, Capt Hall crawled 20 metres to the fallen NCO and for more than a minute, in full view of the enemy, performed emergency first aid before pulling his comrade into cover.
“It was clear it was serious and that we needed to get him out of the situation as quickly as possible,” he said. “It is incredibly difficult trying to give first aid in those circumstances but your training does kick in.”
And with rounds peppering the ground within five feet of his position, Capt Hall exposed his head above the ditch to identify the enemy position, calling for artillery fire and withdrawing only when ordered to.
Capt Hall said: “This was only the second operation on this tour and my first ever enemy contact.
“Maybe this helped me to not be so aware of personal danger.
“You are aware when bullets are bouncing off the ground near you, but you are so focused on trying to turn the situation to your advantage that you sort of block most things out.”
Despite his heroics, the wounded soldier died from his injuries. “It is the worst thing that can happen,” Capt Hall said. “It hits everybody incredibly hard and you never forget it or get over it but it is testament to the group that they carried on and did their jobs to the best of their abilities.”
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