An Afghan war hero who helped his wounded mates and fought off heavily armed insurgents despite suffering a broken back in a bomb attack is selling his medals at auction for £120,000 to support his young family.
Corporal Josh Griffiths was also left with shrapnel wounds to his face during an attack on Camp Folad in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2013, but continued fighting enemy soldiers who had entered the base throwing grenades and firing machine guns.
Only after fighting them off did he seek medical treatment and was evacuated to the UK because his wounds were so severe.
Before the attack, Corporal Griffiths, from Eastham, Wirral, had been preparing to eat his evening meal when a suicide bomber drove a pick-up truck packed with half a tonne of explosives through the base wall.
Heroic actions in Afghanistan
The blast was so powerful it blew a 40m (130ft) hole in the perimeter wall and wiped out the cookhouse as well as the operations room.
Corporal Griffiths’ back had been broken by the blast and grenade fragments were embedded in his face, just millimetres from his left eye.
Despite his wounds, the brave soldier, in light fatigues without protective equipment, managed to get his hands on a light machine-gun.
He then engaged the enemy in a prolonged close range firefight, allowing the wounded to be evacuated.
A fierce fight
Corporal Griffiths, who was just 23 days from the end of his tour at the time of the attack, said: “My first instinct was to see who was hurt and help.
“One of the lads was shouting that another was badly injured. We had to crawl through the debris in the dark to get him out.
“I heard one of the lads scream out, so I approached him and helped and then I climbed out of the tent to see if there were more casualties.
“When I did that, there were rounds snapping past and I thought, ‘That’s a bit close.’”
Corporal Griffiths then went on the offensive, but was immediately confronted with a group of insurgents firing grenades and automatic weapons on his position.
After a fierce exchange, he managed to get the upper hand and clear the base before accepting medical treatment for his wounds.
15 years in the armed forces
Corporal Griffiths had joined the British Army in September 2006 at the age of 17.
Before being deployed with C Company (Cheshire), 1st Battalion, Mercian Regiment to Afghanistan in October 2012, he had also served in Iraq and Northern Ireland.
He left the Army two weeks ago, at the age of 32, and is selling his medals to support his young family.
Medals for outstanding bravery
The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) and group of medals will be offered by auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb on 23 February and are expected to fetch between £100,000 to £120,000.
The CGC was introduced in 1993 and three have been awarded posthumously.
Christopher Mellor-Hill, Head of Client Liaison at Dix Noonan Webb said: “As Britain’s leading auctioneer for British gallantry awards we are pleased to be offering Cpl. Griffith’s CGC for sale so he can begin a new life outside the army and provide added financial security for his new young family.
“His CGC was for an act of outstanding bravery in counter attacking enemy insurgents who had broken through into their barracks when in Afghanistan in 2013 and which led to the enemy’s defeat and withdrawal from action despite Cpl. Griffiths being severely wounded which saw him immediately hospitalised back in the UK.”