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May 2018: The Somerset Levels

The Somerset Levels are one of Britain’s less well-known jewels. Delineated by the Mendips to the north, Bridgwater Bay to the west, and the Quantocks ...More
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Joshua Leakey

To say the Victoria Cross is not given lightly is an enormous understatement. Since it was initiated in 1856 only 1363 have been awarded, the latest to Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey of the Parachute Regiment. It speaks volumes of the level of courage and valour required to qualify for the medal that the only other awards from the Afghanistan campaign were both posthumous. Lance Corporal Leakey’s actions during a fire-fight with Taliban forces in August 2013 were extraordinary for the bravery shown – crossing open ground under machine gun fire several times to rescue a wounded US Marine Captain, and to site not one but two machine guns where their fire turned the course of the fight. They were also amazing physically, carrying the heavy weapons 200m up a steep slope while weighed down with a 60lb pack. In spite of his junior rank he took control of the situation and turned what could have been a defeat into victory. For this he will have to get used to all ranks saluting him, the tradition for VCs – a tradition followed at the ceremony to decorate Lance Corporal Leakey by Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter, and rightly so. An astounding hero.

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It is with words as with sunbeams - the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn - Robert Southey
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On this day:
Accord of Winchester - 1072, Evacuation of Dunkirk begins - 1940, Britain’s Worst Road Accident - 1975
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