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The exceptional Operation Herrick 10 Afghanistan May 2009 Military Cross group awarded to Lance Sergeant M.P. Turrall, Irish Guards, who served between 1998 and 2012, and took part in Operation Telic 10 in Iraq in 2007. Then as part of the Irish Guards XI Company attached to the Welsh Guards during Operation Herrick 10 in Afghanistan, he won the Military Cross, the only one to his regiment for this tour, for an exceptional act of humanitarian courage in May 2009 when operating as a Section Commander whilst manning a new patrol base around the v

Price: £15,000.00


Product ID: CMA/28582
Condition: Nearly Extremely Fine
Availability: IN STOCK
Description:

The exceptional Operation Herrick 10 Afghanistan May 2009 Military Cross group awarded to Lance Sergeant M.P. Turrall, Irish Guards, who served between 1998 and 2012, and took part in Operation Telic 10 in Iraq in 2007. Then as part of the Irish Guards XI Company attached to the Welsh Guards during Operation Herrick 10 in Afghanistan, he won the Military Cross, the only one to his regiment for this tour, for an exceptional act of humanitarian courage in May 2009 when operating as a Section Commander whilst manning a new patrol base around the village of Basharan in Helmand province, near to Lashkar Gar. The incident is chronicled in the book Dead Men Risen; the Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan by Toby Harnden.

“A few days after Checkpoint North was established, a sentry spotted men moving between compounds and intercepted walkie-talkie chatter indicated that that a Taliban attack was imminent. At the same time, a farmer and his four sons aged between ten and three had just arrived outside the base and were about to begin ploughing. ’When the civilians move we will start firing’ a Taliban commander was heard to order. As the Welsh and Irish Guards took up there firing positions around the base, they called out to the father to get back into the car and drive away, but he could not understand English. After half a minute of shouting and gesturing by the soldiers the Taliban opened fire and the British troops responded… Turrall watched as the farmer and his sons were caught in the crossfire. ‘We had our heavy machine guns firing and I was up on the steps from the sanger looking over; he recalls. ‘I was trying to get boys just to stop firing. But obviously the ones that were far away from me couldn’t hear because they were using their .50 cals’. The father was crawling to the ditch while trying to pull his sons into his body trying to protect them from the bullets. Turrall who had an 18 month-old son and another baby on the way, was horrified. ‘ I just thought of my little boy straight away,’ he recalls. ‘My granddad died a few years ago and he was like a father figure to me, so the old man with his kids was just like my own family. I didn’t want them to see get killed.

Turrall got on the radio and told Captain Tim Evans, who was commanding Checkpoint North that day.’ I’m going out to get these kids.’ He did not wait for the reply but jumped down from the sanger and ordered two young guardsmen to come with him. When they got to the gate, there were AK 47 rounds hitting either side of the doorway. Turrall stepped out but the two guardsmen would not go with him. ‘We can’t go out, we are getting fired on’ one of them shouted. Turrall, one of the strongest NCOs in IX Coy, ordered them,’Get the f**k out! Follow me! Let’s go!’. But the guardsman stayed where they were. Turrall remembers seeing two heads peering tentatively out of the doorway as he ran forward, crouched down to fire at the Taliban positions and then ran forward again. “They didn’t give me covering fire, they just left me on my own’, he says. “They came to the gate with me fine, but as soon as the rounds came in that’s when they both stopped. ‘One of the guardsmen shouted ‘ Matt come back, come back’.

About 40 metres outside the base-halfway to the five civilians cowering beside their bullet riddled car-he reached the stream that flowed out from Checkpoint North. Turrall called out to Guardsman Bridgman, manning one of the sangers, telling him to direct the father and sons towards him so he didn’t have to run out in the open. But they wouldn’t move. An interpreter was send down to the gap where the stream flowed out. The interpreter started shouting out in Pashto but turned back when he heard the whiz of bullets. Ordering Bridgman to give him covering fire with the GPMG, Turrall went forward along the ditch, thigh- deep in water firing as he went, until he got to about 6 metres away from the father and his sons. He then ran out and grabbed one of the boys and pulled him back into the stream. The father and other sons followed, crawling Turrall picked up the brawling youngest boy, held him in front of his body and back to the base. Bullets continued to whistle pass them as Turrall guided them all back along the ditch and then, still under fire, pushed and pulled then into the base. One of the sons had been cut in the back by a piece of shrapnel that had bounced off a tree –miraculously-they were otherwise unharmed. As the medic gave them water and sweets, Turrall returned to the fire fight. He never saw the father and sons again.

Afterwards Turrall confronted the two guardsmen who had refuses to follow him. ‘I gave them a f**king mouthful,’ he recalls. I suppose it was their lives on the line as well and they probably didn’t think of it like I did. They were just in a little world of their own.’ Turrall says he had acted instinctively. It wasn’t till I got back and was having a fag and a brew with the boys that I realised what I had done. You don’t think about what you are doing-you just go off and do it. When it comes to kids I am quite soft.’ Recommending him for a gallantry award, Thorneloe wrote that what Turrall had done had a strategic as well as a moral dimension : ‘His act that day physically proved that we are here to protect the Afghan people.’

Group of 3: Military Cross, EIIR cypher, reverse engraved: ‘LSGT M P TURRALL IG 25089374 2010’, housed in its Royal Mint fitted presentation case; Iraq Medal 2003-2011, no clasp; (25089374 CPL M P TURRALL IG); Operational Service Medal 2000 for Afghanistan, with clasp Afghanistan; (LSGT M P TURRALL IG 25089374), last two mounted court style, the MC separate.

Condition: Nearly Extremely Fine.

Together with the following quantity of original documentation and ephemera:

Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood Letter notifying Lance Sergeant Matthew Philip Turrall, MC, Irish Guards of the upcoming investiture to be held on 2nd July 2010, dated 26th April 2010.

2 x Photographs of the recipient having just received his Military Cross at Buckingham Palace, one signed by him.

Investiture Ticker for the Investiture to be held at Buckingham Palace on 2nd July 2010, issued in the name of: ‘Lance Sergeant Matthew Philip Turrall, MC’.

Letter of congratulations from General Sir Peter Wall, KCB, CBE, the Commander-in-Chief, dated 19th March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, KCB, CBE, Chief of Joint Operations, dated 19th March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from General Sir David Richards, KCB, CME, DSO, Chief of the Defence Staff, dated 19th March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from Brigadier S R Skeates, CBE, Commanding 19th Infantry Brigade, dated 19th March 2010.

Message Card from Brigadier Tyrone R. Urch, OBE, dated 19th March 2010, congratulating him on the award.

Letter of congratulations from Major A.P. Speed, MBE, Scots Guards, Academy Adjutant, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, dated 19th March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from a Peter MacMilllan, ATR (W), dated 19th March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from Brigadier M.A.P. Carleton-Smith, CBE, Head of Army Resources and Plans Ministry of Defence, dated 23rd March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from Colonel James Stopford Late, Irish Guards, Commandant Headquarters Land Warfare School, dated 24th March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from Major General W.G. Cubitt, CBE, Regimental Lieutenant Colonel of the Irish Guards, dated 28th March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from Colonel R.P. Winter, OBE, Assistant Director of Personnel Headquarters Infantry, dated 29th March 2010.

Letter of congratulations from Lieutenant Colonel C.K. Antelme, DSO, Commanding Officer 1st Welsh Guards, dated 20th May 2010.

Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood Insurance of Insignia letter. The cost of replacing a lost of stolen Military Cross would be £150 if the recipient had also contacted the Police and made a report.

JPA Human Resources Form confirming this as his full entitlement on discharge.

Matthew Philip Turrall comes from Sale, Greater Manchester, and was educated at Brookway High School from 1991 to 1997, and joined the British Army in November 1998 as a Guardsman (No.25089374) with the Irish Guards. Turrall did not deploy with his regiment to Iraq as part of Operation Telic 1 in 2003, however he did deploy there in 2007 as part of Operation Telic 10, and then deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 as part of Operation Herrick 10 when a company of the Irish Guards, namely XI Company, deployed with the Welsh Guards in April 2009. The six-month tour, chronicled in the book Dead Men Risen; the Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan by Toby Harnden, which won the Orwell Prize for Books 2012. The Welsh Guards’ commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, MBE, was killed in action by an IED during this tour on 1st July 2009, becoming the British Army’s highest ranking casualty since the Falklands War in 1982.

It was during this tour that Turrall, by then a Lance Sergeant and Section Commander within IX Company, earned the Military Cross during operations around the village of Basharan in Helmand province, near to Lashkar Gar. It was whilst manning a new patrol base that his team was fired on by Taliban insurgents in May 2009. In the middle of the subsequent exchange of fire a car pulled up at nearby farmland and the family got out. As bullets flew overhead, they fell to the ground for cover as the bullets riddled the their vehicle. Turrall, a father of two, said: “I thought, ‘what if that was my children?’ I knew they were in serious danger.”

The citation reads as follows: ‘Lance Sergeant Turrall is a Section Commander within IX Company, which was responsible for an area around Lashkar Gah. Turrall's Section was at the forefront of activities, facing life threatening danger over a prolonged period, tasked to guard a new Patrol Base. The insurgents launched a major attack against it and a civilian car had been caught up in what was by now a very fierce and intense fire fight between the ISAF soldiers in the Patrol Base and the insurgents to the North. Within the car were a father and his three children, and showing outstanding initiative, Turrall ran out, in full view of the enemy and with no thought for himself, he shepherded them to safety. His act that day was a physical embodiment of our mission to improve the lives of the Afghan people.’

The citation itself is a very sterile one when compared to the extract from ‘Dead men risen’ by Toby Harnden, which brings the action to life, and puts more of a slant on his actual courage in doing what he did and some of his reasoning behind his actions. It also puts a more human and compassionate face to the action itself. This extract from the book is the real reason I am so happy to be the custodian of this group, as it not only displays the courage of an Irish Guardsman (British soldier) but also their basic decency and humanity in the face of adversity.

‘A few days after Checkpoint North was established, a sentry spotted men moving between compounds and intercepted walkie-talkie chatter indicated that that a Taliban attack was imminent. At the same time, a farmer and his four sons aged between ten and three had just arrived outside the base and were about to begin ploughing. ’When the civilians move we will start firing’ a Taliban commander was heard to order. As the Welsh and Irish Guards took up there firing positions around the base, they called out to the father to get back into the car and drive away, but he could not understand English. After half a minute of shouting and gesturing by the soldiers the Taliban opened fire and the British troops responded. Lance Sergeant Matt Turrall, 28 an Irish Guardsman from Sale, watched as the farmer and his sons were caught in the crossfire. ‘We had our heavy machine guns firing and I was up on the steps from the sanger looking over; he recalls. ‘I was trying to get boys just to stop firing. But obviously the ones that were far away from me couldn’t hear because they were using their .50 cals’. The father was crawling to the ditch while trying to pull his sons into his body trying to protect them from the bullets. Turrall who had an 18 month-old son and another baby on the way, was horrified. ‘ I just thought of my little boy straight away,’ he recalls. ‘My granddad died a few years ago and he was like a father figure to me, so the old man with his kids was just like my own family. I didn’t want them to see get killed.

Turrall got on the radio and told Captain Tim Evans, who was commanding Checkpoint North that day.’ I’m going out to get these kids.’ He did not wait for the reply but jumped down from the sanger and ordered two young guardsmen to come with him. When they got to the gate, there were AK 47 rounds hitting either side of the doorway. Turrall stepped out but the two guardsmen would not go with him. ‘We can’t go out, we are getting fired on’ one of them shouted. Turrall, one of the strongest NCOs in IX Coy, ordered them,’Get the f**k out! Follow me! Let’s go!’. But the guardsman stayed where they were. Turrall remembers seeing two heads peering tentatively out of the doorway as he ran forward, crouched down to fire at the Taliban positions and then ran forward again. “They didn’t give me covering fire, they just left me on my own’, he says. “They came to the gate with me fine, but as soon as the rounds came in that’s when they both stopped. ‘One of the guardsmen shouted ‘ Matt come back, come back’.

About 40 metres outside the base-halfway to the five civilians cowering beside their bullet riddled car-he reached the stream that flowed out from Checkpoint North. Turrall called out to Guardsman Bridgman, manning one of the sangers, telling him to direct the father and sons towards him so he didn’t have to run out in the open. But they wouldn’t move. An interpreter was send down to the gap where the stream flowed out. The interpreter started shouting out in Pashto but turned back when he heard the whiz of bullets. Ordering Bridgman to give him covering fire with the GPMG, Turrall went forward along the ditch, thigh- deep in water firing as he went, until he got to about 6 metres away from the father and his sons. He then ran out and grabbed one of the boys and pulled him back into the stream. The father and other sons followed, crawling Turrall picked up the brawling youngest boy, held him in front of his body and back to the base. Bullets continued to whistle pass them as Turrall guided them all back along the ditch and then, still under fire, pushed and pulled then into the base. One of the sons had been cut in the back by a piece of shrapnel that had bounced off a tree –miraculously-they were otherwise unharmed. As the medic gave them water and sweets, Turrall returned to the fire fight. He never saw the father and sons again.

Afterwards Turrall confronted the two guardsmen who had refuses to follow him. ‘I gave them a f**king mouthful,’ he recalls. I suppose it was their lives on the line as well and they probably didn’t think of it like I did. They were just in a little world of their own.’ Turrall says he had acted instinctively. It wasn’t till I got back and was having a fag and a brew with the boys that I realised what I had done. You don’t think about what you are doing-you just go off and do it. When it comes to kids I am quite soft.’ Recommending him for a gallantry award, Thorneloe wrote that what Turrall had done had a strategic as well as a moral dimension : ‘His act that day physically proved that we are here to protect the Afghan people. ‘Turrall’s actions would lead him to be awarded the MC.’ Initially recommended for an award by Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, the award was published in the London Gazette for 19th March 2010, and presented to Turrall by Princess Anne in a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace on 2nd July 2010.

Turrell may well have deployed again to Afghanistan in 2010 when the Irish Guards took part in Operation Herrick 13. He was discharged from the army in March 2012. Turrall then went on to work as a Maritime security consultant for MAST from January 2012 to January 2015, as well as working as a Maritime security consultant for Ambrey Risk from October 2014 to July 2015. He has been Managing Director of 4am Logistic Security from January 2015 to present, and is also owner of CPT Security and Training from October 2015 onwards.