An Army explosives specialist from York who defused a massive Taliban bomb has received a bravery medal at Buckingham Palace.
Captain James Fidell said he was “flattered” to receive the Queen’s Gallantry Medal at yesterday’s ceremony, but insisted that “brave stuff” was being done every day by other service personnel.
“It is very flattering, it means a lot to me and to my family as well but I am massively conscious of the brave stuff that is done day in, day out,” he said.
The 29-year old from the Royal Logistics Corps, who is now an instructor on how to dispose of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), received the award from the Princess Royal.
As reported in the Press earlier this year, the 6ft 5ins soldier spent eight hours in a pitch-black tunnel in sweltering heat defusing a 110lb (50kg) bomb, working in a space so tight that he could not wear a bomb disposal suit, helmet or body armour.
The bomb was found under a road to the north east of Gereshk in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan and Capt Fidell decided to make the IED safe rather than to blow it up.
Had the bomb been detonated, it would have damaged the local economy and made it easier for insurgents to plant more IEDs.
Asked what he was thinking when he was inside the tunnel, Capt Fidell said: “You just deal with the job in hand and you are focused on that.
“You don’t really have time to worry.”