A soldier who was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for saving the lives of his men when he picked up and hurled away a Taliban grenade is selling his medal collection.
Deacon Cutterham had just five seconds to plunge his arm into murky ditchwater, retrieve the high-explosive device and throw it to safety during a tour of Afghanistan in 2011.
Mr Cutterham, who was a Serjeant with the 1st Battalion the Rifles, is now selling the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross – one level down from the Victoria Cross – along with other medals he was awarded.
His medal citation reads: “The action itself was utterly courageous, carried out with composure and clarity of thought. Cutterham’s gritty leadership and gallant act saved lives and inspired his men.”
The collection of seven medals is expected to fetch up to £120,000 when it is sold by Dix Noonan Webb on November 12.
Mr Cutterham, now aged 37 and from Bristol, joined the Army at 16 and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan during a 19-year military career.
The incident happened as Mr Cutterham and his patrol were wading through an irrigation ditch knee-deep in water when the grenade came flying over a high wall.
“I heard a familiar ‘ping’ noise and knew exactly what it was, I looked up and in slow motion I could see a hand grenade which had been thrown from the other side of the wall and landed roughly a metre in front of me,” he said.
“I liken the sensation to a wasp flying down your top and you can’t move quick enough to get that T-shirt off – only if the grenade explodes, it’s not just a sting, it’s the life of me and my team.”
Having run towards the grenade, picked it up and thrown it away all in a matter of seconds, Mr Cutterham then proceeded to extract his men from the area without sustaining casualties.
Mr Cutterham had another lucky escape during the same tour when he was blown into the air by an improvised explosive device.
The following year he was presented with the medal at Buckingham Palace by the Prince of Wales.
He said: “I will never forget it, truly to this day the proudest moment of my life.
“The 19 years I served in the Army were the best of my life. I lived 100 lifetimes in the British Army, it felt more like one big adventure than a job. It’s a fantastic organisation and I have a lot to be thankful to it for.”
Explaining why he is selling his medals, Mr Cutterham said: “My medals were hard-earned and I will be investing the proceeds carefully to help ensure my future financial security.”
Mark Quayle, associate director of Dix Noonan Webb, said: “Serjeant Cutterham’s gallant conduct epitomises cold, calculated, courage under the most extreme of circumstances.
“The award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross reflects that, and it is a privilege to be handling the sale of his medals upon his behalf.”