News | Grenadier Guard to Be Awarded Victoria Cross

Published: 20 March 2013

Lance Corporal James Ashworth, of The Grenadier Guards, who was killed protecting his comrades in Afghanistan is to be awarded the Victoria Cross ? the UK?s top bravery medal.

Lance Corpral James AshworthLance Corporal James Ashworth, 23, will receive the medal in recognition of his "extraordinary courage" while serving with the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards.

The Victoria Cross, the country's highest award for gallantry, has been awarded just 10 times to UK soldiers since the Second World War.

The posthumous award to L/Cpl Ashworth is just the second from the 12-year conflict in Afghanistan and is the first to be awarded to a Grenadier Guard since WWII.

L/Cpl Ashworth, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, was killed in the Nahr-e-Siraj district on June 13 when his reconnaissance platoon became involved in a battle with the Taliban inside enemy held compounds.

The citation states; "Despite the ferocity of the insurgent's resistance, Ashworth refused to be beaten.

His total disregard for his own safety in ensuring that the last grenade was posted accurately was the gallant last action of a soldier who had willingly placed himself in the line of fire on numerous occasions earlier in the attack"

Captain Mike Dobbin, Commander of Reconnaissance Platoon, Nijmegen Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said L/Cpl Ashworth was killed trying to protect his colleagues.

He said: "L/Cpl Ashworth was killed while fighting his way through compounds, leading his fire team from the front, whilst trying to protect his men and he showed extraordinary courage to close on a determined enemy.

"His professionalism under pressure and ability to remain calm in what was a chaotic situation is testament to his character.

"L/Cpl Ashworth was a pleasure to command and I will sorely miss his calming influence on the battlefield. Softly spoken, he stepped up to every task thrown in his direction.

"As the section second in command in the ISAF/Afghan National Army partnered section, L/Cpl Ashworth regularly commanded the section while the section commander worked with the Afghan Army. This he did with absolute professionalism and an ability that surpassed his rank."

He said the platoon had lost a "strong commander, outstanding soldier and dear friend".

L/Cpl Ashworth joined the Army at the age of 17 and completed a stint of ceremonial duty in London after joining Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards. He spent three years with the Guards' Parachute Platoon, part of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, deploying in Afghanistan with them.

He returned to the Grenadiers, serving in Canada with The Queen's Company before moving to the Reconnaissance Platoon. He played for his battalion's football team, most recently during a French military tour, as well as a local team when at home.

His family and friends have every reason to be extremely proud of this courageous young man.