Top bravery award for Wimbish based soldier

A SOLDIER based at Carver Barracks is to receive the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his courage and leadership in uncovering more than 22 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including the largest bomb found in Helmand.

Lance Corporal Matthew Morris, 23, of 101 Engineer Regiment Corps of Royal Engineers, was the lead searcher in his team with the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force. He volunteered daily to be the front man in the most deadly of high-threat areas.

During his tour he led a nine-week operation to repeatedly clear a vital road link supplying the 40 Commando Royal Marine mission, often having to search for IEDs under fire.

L Cpl Morris, who was on his second tour of Afghanistan, also led the search to isolate a 500lb bomb, the largest IED found in Helmand.

During another operation to seize a large insurgent stronghold he found nine hidden devices. These IEDs had virtually no trace of metal contents, which meant he had to fingertip search the ground inch by inch, requiring a high level of concentration despite the heat and obvious risk.

“The threats we were facing were changing and we had to adapt,” said L Cpl Morris, who enlisted in 2004.

“You had to be really switched on during the tour, relying on your equipment and your eyesight to deal with the situation you found yourself in.

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“I didn’t think anything of volunteering to be the front man because I wanted to use my experience and knowledge, to lead my team.

“I was really surprised to learn I’d be getting an award and I know I found a lot of devices but I’m proud of the job I do.

“This award is not just for me – I consider this to be an honour for every searcher on my tour.”

The citation reads: “Without doubt his actions prevented both his colleagues and local Afghans from losing life or limb. He has made an exceptional contribution to the Counter-IED fight, working under fire on the most dangerous tasks, Morris has never once relinquished his lead role.

“This ordinary soldier has performed a quite extraordinary task day after day.”

The announcement was made on Friday with the release of the latest operational honours and awards list, which includes 136 personnel.

The awards are for actions roughly during the period April 1 2010 to September 31 2010.