A soldier from Kingswood who saved the lives of his men when he picked up and hurled away a live Taliban grenade is to be honoured for his bravery.
Serjeant Deacon Cutterham of 1st Battalion the Rifles, 28, had just five seconds to plunge his arm into murky ditchwater, retrieve the high-explosive device and throw it to safety as he and his comrades were attacked while on patrol in troubled Helmand province.
Today it was announced that the former Mangotsfield School pupil’s actions had won him the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, an award for bravery in military action surpassed only by the Victoria Cross.
He said: “As soon as I left my patrol base I knew something was up, something wasn’t right.
“You can sort of tell by the atmospherics in the air. People who are normally sociable towards you don’t want to talk to you.”
He and his patrol were wading through an irrigation ditch, knee-deep in water, when the grenade came flying over a high wall and landed seven to ten feet in front of him.
Sjt Cutterham said: “I heard the ‘ching’ of the fly-off lever coming off it. It all happened so fast but so slowly. I just went into autopilot. I shouted ‘get down, grenade’, ran forward, grabbed it first time and just let go of it. I can’t believe I didn’t lose my fingers because as soon as I let go of it, it exploded. If I had missed it, it would have been game over. I’m comfortable around grenades and things like that. I know it sounds crazy but I am. It didn’t faze me picking up a grenade.”