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thedrifter
08-09-07, 03:37 PM
Military Cross for Topsham marine
devon.editorial@archant.co.uk
09 August 2007
A TOPSHAM Royal Marine is to be decorated for bravery by the Queen - after he led troops to safety following an ambush in Afghanistan.

Corporal Alan Hewett will be honoured with the Military Cross after his heroics in December, when he and his patrol of six were ambushed by around 100 insurgents.

His patrol was part of a force of 20 when they were attacked by fighters in Nowzad, in Helmand Province.

Cpl Hewett's group was cut off from the main group 500 metres away, after being targeted by small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, forcing Cpl Hewett's group to take cover behind a wall.

The Taliban then moved in on three sides - so he made the decision to try to lead his men back to safety or face being overrun.

He broke cover and acted as a decoy to draw the fire away from his men, allowing them to find cover in an irrigation trench.

Once his men reached the ditch, Cpl Hewett rejoined his patrol and together they slowly crawled 200 metres, while still under fire, back in the direction of the rest of the British force.

A British Apache helicopter, which was hit several times, then provided cover to enable them to counter attack and defeat the nearby Taliban fighters.

Cpl Hewett and his men were then able to rejoin the rest of the patrol and return to base.

Remarkably, Cpl Hewett and the rest of his marines emerged uninjured - and within an hour they were back out on patrol.

Cpl Hewett's citation for the Military Cross reads: "Had it not been for Hewett's personal bravery and the selflessness of his actions, there is no doubt that the patrol would have sustained significant casualties.

"Hewett's courage and personal example were exemplary."

Cpl Hewett said: "Although I have got the award, what I want to say is that getting out of there was as much down to my fellow marines as it was to me.