Afghanistan hero Deacon Cutterham says he cried at claims his medal winning heroics fighting the Taliban are in doubt.
A SOLDIER accused of lying to win a top gallantry medal said his comrades’ claims are based on jealousy.
Deacon Cutterham, 37, was awarded a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for picking up a Taliban grenade and throwing it away on a foot patrol in southern Afghanistan.
The former Colour Serjeantsaid no one saw what happened because his comrades dived for cover when he yelled, “Grenade!” in 2011.
But some people he served with have questioned his account of what happened as he puts his collection of seven medals up for sale later this week.
“I haven’t shed a tear for years, but this has brought me to tears. I am just really surprised and gutted,” he told The Sun.
“The action happened as per the citation and I stand by those events and it is very hurtful that people try and suggest otherwise.
“The citation weren’t written by me and it was rigorously tested.
“I can only hazard a guess that they are either jealous or envious. I served with these soldiers a further four to five years after this. Not one of them ever mentioned it me. Even going out drinking with me.”
Some claim the grenade may have been his because there was “one missing” when an equipment check was carried out at their base in Helmand Province.
Others said no one saw a Taliban insurgent running away, while a drone flying above showed no sign of enemy activity in the area, reports the BBC.
Mr Cutterham denies their claims.
I haven’t shed a tear for years, but this has brought me to tears. I am just really surprised and gutted
A soldier from the 1st Battalion the Rifles told the BBC: "I don't believe he earned that medal and now he might make money from it.”
He added that it was “abhorrent” to try and sell the medals at an auction on Thursday – so close to Remembrance Day on November 11.
Another said: "We didn't care if he wanted to tell people how brave he was. What we care about now is him making financial gain from this."
Mr Cutterham, from Bristol, joined the Army aged 16 and served in Iraq and Afghanistan during a 19-year career.
Describing the grenade incident in Nahr-e-Saraj District, he told the BBC in 2012: “Grenade came over the top.
“With that I shouted 'grenade' and then advanced on it, picked the grenade up and then posted it.
I don't believe he earned that medal and now he might make money from it."
“It literally went off as soon as I pulled my hand away – and prevented me and my lead scout from getting serious injuries or death.
"I had seen exactly where it had landed but couldn't see it in the stream.
"I quickly placed my hand in the water to search for it and placed my hand directly on the grenade, shouted to take cover and posted it."
The citation on his award reads: “The action itself was utterly courageous, carried out with composure and clarity of thought.
"Cutterham’s gritty leadership and gallant act saved lives and inspired his men.”
His collection of seven medals, including his CGC and six campaign medals, is expected to fetch £120,000 when they are sold at auction on Thursday.
A number of former comrades contacted the auction house to say the incident in Helmand never happened.
They claimed there were no insurgents in the area at the time of the alleged attack.
They also said the patrol was one grenade short when they got back to their camp.
Cutterham said he was selling the medals to raise money for his mum.
“It is is all done with good intentions. It is to support my mother. That woman has dug out blind for me over the years and I want to something back to her,” he said.
The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross is one level down from the Victoria Cross and is awarded in recognition of acts of conspicuous gallantry in the field.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Our service personnel display exceptional gallantry and courage while performing duties at home and abroad.
"Acts of courage that warrant an honour or award are rigorously scrutinised before being approved.
“If serving personnel have a grievance, there is a formal process for them to register their complaint through their Chain of Command, which would be looked into accordingly.”
Source: Read Full Article