‘Exceptionally gallant’ Barton Seagrave soldier recognised

Capt James Walters, who was mentioned in despatches for gallantry in Afghanistan
Capt James Walters, who was mentioned in despatches for gallantry in Afghanistan

A soldier who was commended for an exceptionally gallant contribution while deployed in Afghanistan has been given a formal military recognition.

Captain James Walters, from Barton Seagrave, was mentioned in despatches for bravery during a deployment between March and October last year.

As part of his last tour of duty, the 26-year-old, from the Royal Anglian Regiment, served at a notorious checkpoint which saw enemy engagement almost every day.

But despite facing down a number of threats, Capt Walters said he had been surprised to have been told he had been mentioned.

He said: “It’s a real honour to be recognised in that way.”

As part of his deployment in Helmand Province, Capt Walters and his platoon had to guard a bridge being built, man a checkpoint and hold the insurgent frontline as well as a variety of other roles.

He added: “We were fairly successful. We seized quite a lot of opium and quite a lot of weapons.”

The citation read: “Regularly called upon to lead advances into insurgent-held areas, he has time and again had to react from the back foot to cunning and determined insurgent attacks.

“In doing so he has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to absorb pressure and turn the tables, often relying on his own tenacity and courage to carry the day.”

Capt Walters’ citation also made specific reference to two incidents in May 2012, including leading his ambushed platoon to safety despite being under heavy fire from a number of different positions.

On another occasion, he had to crawl through the desert under fire to help outflank an insurgent move.

His mum Sue said she was very proud her son had been recognised.

She said: “I was so shocked when I read what the citation had been given for.

“He hadn’t really discussed it because he didn’t want to worry me.”

Capt Walters is currently deployed in Germany, and is due to be re-deployed to Afghanistan later this year.

Mentioned in despatches

Soldiers can be named, in an official report by a superior officer to high command, for bravery or other praiseworthy acts in the face of the enemy.

The list of those who are to be recognised first appears in the London Gazette, a journal which also includes notices about Parliamentary Bills and Royal declarations.

Those who are mentioned in despatches are able to wear a silver oak leaf on the ribbon of the relevant campaign medal.