A SOLDIER who braved enemy fire to recover the body of Didcot-based bomb disposal expert Gary O’Donnell has today been awarded the Military Cross.

The medal, part of the Pride of British Armed Forces awards being given to more than 100 military personnel, is being made on the first anniversary of Warrant Officer Class 2 O’Donnell’s death in Afghanistan.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Benjamin Kelly, of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, ordered his unit to remain in their vehicle as he spent 30 minutes alone recovering WO O’Donnell, who was killed while attempting to defuse an improvised explosive device near Musa Qala in Helmand Province.

The Ministry of Defence said WO Kelly was being recognised for his exceptional bravery.

The soldier, who is 35 and from Richmond, London, said he had mixed emotions about receiving the medial given it was the first anniversary of WO O’Donnell’s death.

He said: “We heard the explosion and I was told he had been hit.

“I moved forward to get him back.

“Whether someone is injured or they have been killed our priority is that person and we will do whatever has to be done to get them back.”

A spokesman for the MoD said: “Despite the intense pressure and the most traumatic circumstances, and in an area known to contain a significant improvised explosive device threat, Kelly's selfless actions and exceptional bravery enabled the recovery of a body and minimised the risk to all remaining forces.”

WO O’Donnell, of the Royal Logistic Corps, based at Vauxhall Barracks in Didcot, died after being called to an improvised explosive device, which he attempted to dismantle, as he had previously done with another earlier that day.

He was a father of four.

He received a posthumous bar to his George Medal earlier this year for his actions in Afghanistan.