British soldier 'faked' act of bravery against Taliban: report
A British soldier set to auction his collection of medals won during the Afghan war has found himself at the centre of allegations that he faked an act of bravery against the Taliban which won him the country's second highest combat gallantry award, according to a BBC report on Monday.
Deacon Cutterham's former colleagues rejected his account of heroism when he claimed to have hurled a live hand grenade thrown by a Taliban fighter into a ditch, saving the lives of soldiers on a patrol he led in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province in 2011.
They allege that the grenade thrown by Cutterham was in fact his own and that no Taliban fighters were seen in the area at the time of the explosion.
Their claims are backed by drone footage of the incident, which shows no sign of enemy activity in the area at the time. One soldier who returned to the base and found one grenade missing.
The soldiers, who spoke to the BBC on a condition of anonymity because most were not authorised to speak to media, made the claims after reading reports that Sgt Cutterham expects to make up to £120,000 by auctioning his military awards on Thursday.
The collection of medals includes the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) awarded to him in 2012 after his officers put his name forward, for an act lauded as "utterly courageous, carried out with composure and clarity of thought".
The citation on the awards continues: "Cutterham's gritty leadership and gallant act saved lives and inspired his."
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The Ministry of Defence did not provide statements from any members of the patrol verifying Cutterham's account and turned down a request for interview by the BBC in response to the claims.
Sgt Cutterham, 37, whose 19-year military career included tours of Afghanistan and Iraq provoked the ire of one colleague for Cutterham holding the auction so close to Remembrance Day on 11 November.
Soldiers who raised concerns at the time were silenced for their apparent dislike of Sgt Cutterham.
His collection will be sold by London-based Dix Noonan Webb on Thursday. He says all his medals were "hard-earned" and plans to invest the proceeds.