“Bullet proof” Matt Croucher tells his story
In 2008, as a Royal Marine with 40 Commando in Afghanistan, Matt Croucher threw himself on a booby-trapped grenade to bear the brunt of its blast in an effort to save the lives of three comrades who were with him on a covert operation behind enemy lines at night.
“It’s bonkers what goes through your mind when you’re about to die,” Croucher writes in his candid autobiography Bullet Proof, newly released in paperback by Random House. “All that crap about your life flashing before you, is just that, bollocks.”
Croucher’s day sack and protective clothing took the main impact when the grenade detonated and he and his friends survived.
“Disoriented and gobsmacked, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t lost a leg or an arm or anything,” he writes.
Later that year, the dramatic event earned Croucher a George Cross medal, the highest gallantry award for civilians, also awarded to military personnel for acts of gallantry not in the presence of the enemy. The equivalent award for gallantry in battle is the Victoria Cross.
In the following video clip, Croucher describes his war-time experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, his book and discusses his medal, which is kept stored for safety in a vault in the cellar of London’s Imperial War Museum, along with his helmet.
Croucher had the museum open the vault to show Reuters the valuable medal, which will go on show in its new Lord Ashcroft Victoria and George Cross Gallery on November 12, 2010:
Picture credit Top: “Bullet Proof” author Matt Croucher looks at his George Cross medal at the Imperial War Museum in London, June 23, 2010. (below) Matt Croucher looks at his helmet in a vault in the Imperial War Museum in London. REUTERS/Julie Mollins