Military honour for fallen soldier

Ministry of Defence undated handout photo of Corporal Matthew James Stenton from The Royal Dragoon Guards, who was one of the two soldiers shot dead in Afghanistan on Wednesday as they tried to rescue a comrade. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday July 23 2010. See PA story DEFENCE Afghanistan. Photo credit should read: MoD/PA Wire
Ministry of Defence undated handout photo of Corporal Matthew James Stenton from The Royal Dragoon Guards, who was one of the two soldiers shot dead in Afghanistan on Wednesday as they tried to rescue a comrade. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday July 23 2010. See PA story DEFENCE Afghanistan. Photo credit should read: MoD/PA Wire

A HEROIC Wakefield soldier who was killed rescuing a colleague has been awarded the Military Cross.

Lance Corporal Matthew Stenton, 23, had only been in Afghanistan for three weeks when he was killed by insurgents north of Lashkar Gah in July last year.

The fierce fire-fight also claimed the life of his colleague, L Cpl Stephen Monkhouse.

L Cpl Stenton, who lived in Thornes before joining the Royal Dragoon Guards, was supporting a search operation when enemy fighters opened fire on the seven-man team immediately hitting one of his colleagues.

He showed extraordinary bravery by advancing in his vehicle towards the enemy positions, and his injured comrade, ignoring the very real possibility of unexploded devices, under heavy fire.

L Cpl Stenton’s actions bought crucial time for the recovery of the inured soldier to his vehicle, but he was killed by small arms fire as he continued to provide covering fire.

It was announced on Friday that he has been given the Military Cross, one of the highest a soldier can receive, in honour of his bravery.

His father Michael Stenton, said: “If Matthew were here now he would be totally honoured.

“At the end of the day he was only doing his job like all the other lads and they are all heroes.

“We are very pleased and proud to hear about the award. There is not a day goes by when we don’t think about him and obviously we miss him so much.”

L Cpl Stenton joined the army within two weeks of leaving Cathedral School aged 16 and became one of the army’s youngest tank commanders, fulfilling a life-long ambition of following in the footsteps of his granddad, a tank commander in the Second World War.

After his death, his schoolmates and friends raised almost £1,000 for wounded soldier’s charity Help for Heroes with a sponsored football match between White Hart FC and Hall Green.

More than 300 mourners including his school friends attended his funeral at Catterick Garrison.