A soldier whose heroics in winning one the highest military honours for bravery have been questioned has sold his medals for £140,000.
Serjeant Deacon Cutterham was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross – one level down from the Victoria Cross – for picking up and hurling away a Taliban grenade in Afghanistan in 2011.
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.”
After announcing the sale of his collection of seven medals, former colleagues in the 1st Battalion the Rifles told the BBC they disputed what happened that day in Helmand Province.
Mr Cutterham rejected their claims and said he stood by the events of that day.
“I’m just surprised. I can only hazard a guess that they are either jealous or envious,” he said.
“The citation wasn’t written by me, it was written by the commanders. The award is rigorously tested through several committees before being granted.
“I’m proud of the fact I saved those soldiers’ lives. What if I had jumped the other side of the ditch and the grenade exploded and killed both those blokes? My name would have been mud.”
The medals fetched £140,000 when they went under the hammer at Dix Noonan Webb in London on Thursday and were bought by a private collector in the UK.
“I will never forget my time in the Army and know that I am extremely privileged to have been awarded this prestigious honour,” Mr Cutterham said.
“However, I am pleased to see it will be going to a new owner in my lifetime. I am planning to use the money to support my family as they are now my focus.”
Mr Cutterham, now 37 and from Bristol, joined the Army at 16 and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan during a 19-year military career. He was medically discharged after developing PTSD.
Former soldiers who served with Mr Cutterham questioned the awarding of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
One former colleague told the BBC: “I don’t believe he earned that medal and now he might make money from it.”
Another told the broadcaster: “We didn’t care if he wanted to tell people how brave he was. What we care about now is him making financial gain from this.”
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Our service personnel display exceptional gallantry and courage while performing duties at home and abroad.
“Acts of courage that warrant an honour or award are rigorously scrutinised before being approved.
“If serving personnel have a grievance, there is a formal process for them to register their complaint through their chain of command, which would be looked into accordingly.”