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Ramsgate rifleman awarded George Medal for bravery in Afghanistan

Rifleman Paul Jacobs, of Ramsgate
Rifleman Paul Jacobs, of Ramsgate

by Martin Jefferies

A Kent soldier who displayed "sheer personal courage and startling dedication to his comrades" has been awarded the George Medal for his outstanding bravery.

Rifleman Paul Jacobs, of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, was leading his patrol through a heavily booby-trapped road in Afghanistan's Helmand Province when another soldier stood on an improvised explosive device (IED).

The huge blast killed his colleague and blinded Rifleman Jacobs, from Ramsgate, who also suffered multiple wounds.

Alone save for a single cover man and despite horrific injuries, the 21-year-old immediately attended to the fallen soldier.

In doing so, he confirmed that a second device was lying on the ground and moved back towards his cover man, when another IED exploded, killing his comrade.

Remarkably, he had the presence of mind to drag himself back onto the safe route he had just cleared to make his rescue much safer for medics.

Rifleman Jacobs, who modestly insisted he was "just doing his job", will be presented with his medal - the second highest honour in the British armed forces - by a member of the Royal Family later this year.

He was awarded a framed citation at a ceremony in London on Friday, March 19, which read: "His sheer personal courage and startling determination, selflessness, devotion to duty and dedication to his comrades was faultless."

Rifleman Jacobs, who was initially treated at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, is now undergoing rehabilitation at St Dunstan's Centre, West Sussex, which provides support for visually impaired ex-servicemen.

He was among more than 140 members of the Armed Forces and one civilian who received honours and awards in the latest Operational Awards List.

General Sir Peter Wall, Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces, who presented Rifleman Jacobs with his citation, said: "We should all be hugely proud. These men and women of all three Services are an example to their generation.

"They have all done some remarkable things in the most exacting circumstances and the nation should be hugely grateful to them."

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