Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Top Honour for Brave Bomb Disposal Expert; Queen's Gallantry Medal Given to Soldier for Incredible Courage

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Top Honour for Brave Bomb Disposal Expert; Queen's Gallantry Medal Given to Soldier for Incredible Courage

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black? 07884 117069 ? dave.black@ncjmedia.co.uk

ASOLDIER has won a top military honour after putting his life on the line and showing exemplary bravery to defuse a series of explosive devices while serving in Afghanistan.

Bomb disposal officer Sergeant David Acarnley, 31, who was brought up near Hexham, Northumberland, spoke of his pride yesterday after being awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

The honour recognises his courage during two incidents last year in which he placed himself in "extreme danger" to deal with improvised explosive devices threatening the lives of himself and military colleagues.

Sgt Acarnley lived with his parents in Riding Mill near Hexham for 13 years, and was educated at Ovingham Middle School, Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham and Newcastle College, before joining the Army in 2004.

He was serving with the Royal Logistic Corps on his third tour in Afghanistan in June last year when he was called to the aid of a Danish armoured vehicle, after it hit an IED. A second device had been located at the back of the vehicle, trapping the crew inside, and his job was to make it safe so the soldiers could escape.

As he worked on the device, another soldier triggered a third IED, and immediately became a priority casualty.

Without hesitation, Sgt Acarnley switched tasks to clear a safe route across the deadly ground so that medics could reach the injured soldier and give him life-saving first aid. He then returned to his original task to rescue the stricken crew.

Yesterday he said: "I never really thought about the danger. I'm too laid-back really. I searched my way towards the casualty using a detector and visual signs. But there's a different kind of pressure when you know someone is injured.

"We are very well trained. It took eight years or more before I was ready to do this job and you just don't have time to worry about the dangers.

"I'm very proud to get this award, and especially proud of my support team, who keep me as safe as possible while I'm doing the job. …

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