A HERO soldier from the North has collected a Military Cross for his bravery in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Marine Corporal Michael Cowe, 35, who comes from Wallsend in North Tyneside, picked up the award from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
He said: “I’m so proud but very humbled. I’m just gobsmacked really.”
Cpl Crowe’s company had been fighting the Taliban for about three hours when a personnel carrier was blown up by a mine strike.
He led his section through a minefield to rescue injured men. One of the men was trapped in a Jeep, but Cpl Cowe released him and carried him to safety.
Speaking after receiving his award yesterday, he said: “I led my team over to rescue the three people from the vehicle. It took about two to three hours as we had to pull them out one by one.
“At that particular time I didn’t think about anything. We knew we had to get the lads out.
“One of them suffered shattered legs from the force of the explosion. The driver is paralysed from the chest down. We got all three of them out and they’re recovering now.”
The corporal added: “The Prince said he’d read the citation and was amazed. He said he was proud to have someone of my calibre serving this country.”
Yesterday’s ceremony also saw the 10-year-old son of charity fund raiser Jane Tomlinson collecting his late mother’s CBE.
Steven Tomlinson received the accolade from Prince Charles in the grand ballroom, watched by hundreds of investiture guests.
Dressed in a smart suit and tie, the youngster, dwarfed in height by the other recipients, calmly lined up and approached the dais on his own to perform the difficult task, while his father Mike and two sisters watched proudly.
Mrs Tomlinson, 43, lost her seven-year battle with cancer in September after raising more than £1.75m for charity. The NHS radiographer, from Rothwell, Leeds, defied doctors who gave her months to live after her cancer diagnosis in 2000.
She took part in a series of gruelling endurance events to raise money for charity – including three London marathons, several triathlons and the Great North Run.