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Brave Taunton Marine receives George Cross
A ROYAL Marine who dived on an exploding grenade in Afghanistan to shield his colleagues has received the George Cross from the Queen.
But Lance Cpl Matthew Croucher, 24, who was serving with Norton Manor Camp-based 40 Commando at the time, was slightly upset to miss out on a Victoria Cross at the same time.
As the Queen pinned the medal on his tunic during the ceremony in Buckingham Palace his girlfriend, Victoria Cross, was thousands of miles away in Australia studying as part of her university course.
Lance Cpl Croucher received the highest honour for bravery without an enemy present for his actions during a night-time patrol in February this year.
After unwittingly triggering a tripwire he threw himself on the grenade to shield three fellow Commandos from the blast.
Luckily, he suffered no more than severe bruising as his rucksack took the brunt of the explosion.
Speaking after receiving the George Cross, he said: “It’s a great honour.
“I don’t really think about what I did and I don’t tend to dwell on it.
“There are other people in Afghanistan who have done similarly courageous acts who haven’t been recognised.
“When you’re in the heat of a gun battle there are always people doing heroic things and they don’t get picked out for it – they’re just doing their job.”
Lance Cpl Croucher, from Solihull in the West Midlands, now works as a director of a security company.