Heroic Royal Marine wins medal for saving comrade under fire
AN HEROIC Royal Marine who ran through a hail of bullets to save the life of a comrade has been decorated for his “exemplary gallantry” in the face of the enemy.
Marine Mark Williams was awarded the Military Cross at Buckingham Palace in front of his proud mother and two sisters.
He said: “It is such an honour to be here – I still can’t quite believe it. When I was told I was getting a Military Cross I was really shocked. My family are all really pleased for me as well and very excited to be at Buckingham Palace.”
A Military Cross is granted in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land.
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Mark, of Stonehouse-based 30 Commando, was on his second tour of Afghanistan in 2011 when his patrol was ambushed by insurgents.
A bullet fired by one of the insurgents hit a lance corporal in the chest leaving him lying helpless between the enemy and the Commandos.
Taking no notice of the extreme danger he was in, Mark raced out to his colleague under a hail of bullets and began treating the wounds before dragging him 30 metres to what he thought was a safer position behind a compound wall. But as he continued to treat his colleague, the pair came under attack again from another enemy firing position.
Once the stricken Marine was stabilised, Mark then picked up his gun and returned to the fire-fight.
The 23-year-old had been serving with Bickleigh-based 42 Commando at the time in a remote area of Helmand.
“When I saw him lying out there I just knew I had to get him,” he explained.
“There were bullets hitting the ground around me as I went over to pull him back.
“I don’t remember being really afraid at the time. I was just thinking that he was a big lad and was hoping I could drag him back safely.
“Another lad came and helped me and we took him behind the wall, which we thought would be safe, while I looked at his wounds.
“The bullet had hit his chest and I used the equipment in my first aid pack that we all carry to try and stem the bleeding. It was really nerve-wracking because all I could think about was making sure he stayed alive.”
Mark’s patrol helped to provide cover and forced back the enemy, allowing a helicopter to evacuate the casualty to Camp Bastion’s hospital where the medical team said Mark had saved his colleague’s life.
The Commando’s citation said he displayed ‘enormous strength of character, bravery and coolness of thought’ by acting quickly to save the life of a fellow Marine. His ‘selflessness, valour and tenacity in the face of a determined enemy’ were recognised as exceptional, given his rank and limited experience.