A BRAVE Bridlington soldier who died carrying out an heroic rescue in Afghanistan has been awarded a Military Cross – one of the Army’s highest honours.
Corporal Matthew Stenton, who lived in Queensgate, was just 23 when he was killed when under fire in Afghanistan last July, while using his armoured vehicle as a shield to help save the life of a comrade.
His brave actions that day were hailed by his colleagues in the Royal Dragoon Guards.
His proud family said Matthew would have been “honoured” to receive such a high reward for his bravery.
His father Michael said: “It is a shame he isn’t here, but we are all really proud of him and I know he would have appreciated the award too, he would have been honoured.
“It is nice that the country has recognised what he has done. He was doing his job, just like thousands of others are, and in my eyes all the lads out there are heroes.”
Details of Matthew’s heroism have emerged which show he put himself in the firing line to protect an injured comrade when his team came under heavy enemy fire north of Lashkar Gah.
Matthew had been supporting a search operation in his Viking vehicle, when insurgents opened fire on the seven-man team, immediately hitting one of Matthew’s colleagues.
Despite the risks to his own safety, Matthew showed extraordinary bravery by moving his vehicle towards the enemy fighters, and his injured comrade, while returning
fire the whole time. Matthew bought crucial time for the rescue and recovery of the injured soldier, but he was tragically shot and killed.
Since his death, the young soldier has had a bench placed at Bridlington War Memorial in his honour and local events have also taken place to raise funds for armed services’ charities in his memory.
Mr Stenton said there isn’t a day that goes by that Matthew isn’t in the family’s thoughts and he thanked the Bridlington public for their support following his son’s death.
“The people of Bridlington, East Riding Council, the Free Press and Eastfield Garden Centre have all done their bit to show their support for us and Matthew and we are grateful for that,” he said.
“It is nice that when something happens like this, it does get recognised in the community and it makes us all the more proud of Matthew and what he did. He will never be forgotten.”
Michael and his wife, Matthew’s stepmum mum Gillian Stenton, are hoping to collect the medal on Matthew’s behalf from Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace later this year.
It will be the second time the family meet with senior Royalty after Mr Stenton met Prince Charles at a medal service at York Minister last year, which lead to the family being sent a Christmas card from Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
Matthew, who had joined the army at 16 and was one of its youngest Tank Commanders, was one of 136 personnel named in the latest operational honours and awards list released last Friday.
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