When a British soldier on patrol in Afghanistan set a rigged grenade off by mistake, his first thought was for the safety of his comrades. So, in order to protect them, Lance-Corporal David Croucher dived on the grenade and turned on his side, with only a backpack—containing a first-aid kit, 66-millimeter rocket and radio equipment—and his body armour to protect him. Seconds later, the booby-trap exploded.
Thanks to the 24-year old Royal Marine's pack and armour, he escaped with nothing more than a bloody nose. The rucksack, however, was not so lucky. Explains Croucher:
"It was blown straight off my back. The blast shunted me a full metre. The lithium battery for my communication equipment took the brunt of the shrapnel—it landed 10 metres away with sparks and flames flying from it. I was completely disorientated. All I could hear was a loud ringing and the faint sound of people shouting 'Are you ok? Are you ok?' Then I felt one of the lads giving me a top to toe check. A minute later someone said 'you were f****** lucky'. They were like 'what are you doing, you nutter?' But you could feel their relief."
"I knew a grenade like this has a killing circumference of about five metres," continued the 24-year-old Royal Marine. "The lads behind me would have caught a lot too. I'm very tight with the other three guys. There have been a few times when they've saved my bacon. So I went down next to the grenade. I figured that if I could keep my torso and head intact I'd probably survive any other injuries — although I fully expected to lose a limb."
Apart from the burst blood vessels in his nose caused by the shockwave from the explosion, Lance-Corporal Croucher was unscathed. His selfless actions have caused him to be nominated for the Victoria Cross, the British army's highest award for bravery. If the committee in charge agrees, he will be only the ninth man since World War II to receive it. [News Of The World]