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Soldier from Newton Aycliffe led his men in daring counter-attack
THE bravery of a soldier who led his men in a daring counter-attack that dramatically improved security in a notorious area of Afghanistan has been recognised.
Platoon Serjeant Tony Bramham, of 5th Battalion The Rifles (5 Rifles), has been mentioned in despatches after charging 100 metres across deadly ground towards insurgents when his patrol came under fire in November last year.
The counter-attack took place in Babaji, Afghanistan, an area known as the Devil’s Doorstep for its ferocious fighting.
The soldier, from Newton Aycliffe , County Durham, was on patrol when gunfire erupted.
Unable to return fire because they could not see the insurgents, the North- East serviceman rallied his troops and led them forward in an attempt to become more visible so a second patrol could identify the enemy.
Despite the threat of gunfire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), he then took the decision to charge forward in full view of the insurgents and with only partial cover from a smoke grenade.
It was the 32-year-old father-of-one and former Woodham Comprehensive pupil’s first tour of Afghanistan.
He said: “I had to weigh up the danger of staying in position with that of IEDs.
That is the worst part as a commander – hoping that your decision doesn’t lead to casualties. It is a sickening feeling.
“I decided the threat from the small arms fire was greater and that we needed to seize the initiative. It proved to be the right decision, thankfully, and we drove them out.
“It was a real turning point. After this, we gained local support and joint patrols with the locals saw the area become much safer and the full platoon returned home.”
His citation reads: “Throughout this action, Bramham displayed unflinching courage, bold and inspirational leadership and indomitable offensive spirit.”
Corporal Jonathan McEwan, 32, of The Mercian Regiment, who is an instructor at the Infantry Training Centre, in Catterick Garrison, was also mentioned in despatches.
The soldier defeated two fierce ambushes and risked his own life to protect Afghan civilians His citation states: “McEwan led from the front and by example, unafraid to expose himself to danger on numerous occasions throughout the tour.
Cpl McEwan said: “This was my fourth tour of Afghanistan, so I am pleased and really proud to have received a mention in despatches.”