Military Cross won by corporal

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The Independent Online
The first Military Cross to be awarded to a soldier who is not an officer has been won by Corporal Paul Dobson for bravery in Bosnia last year, writes Tim Kelsey.

The award, made in the new 'classless' Armed Forces honours list published yesterday, was made following Cpl Dobson's efforts to save civilian lives in the former Yugoslavia while serving with the Prince of Wales Own Yorkshire Regiment. In one incident, he was involved in rescuing six civilians trapped by heavy firing in a burning apartment block in Novi Travnik.

With 'complete disregard for his own safety', he shielded an elderly Croatian woman as he carried her from the building to his armoured vehicle. When the woman panicked and ran into the open - and into the line of fire - Cpl Dobson chased after her and brought her back to safety, returning fire as he went.

The Distinguished Flying Cross, also made available for the first time to non-officers, was awarded to Warrant Officer Class 2, Shaun Wyatt, of the Royal Artillery for gallant and distinguished services in Northern Ireland.

A young Guards officer killed in a 'friendly fire' incident over Iraq was posthumously honoured for his courage. Acting Major Harry Shapland, 28, received the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct. He died earlier this month when the American helicopter he was flying in was mistakenly shot down by US fighters.