A soldier who was awarded one of the highest military honours for bravery has spoken of his ‘surprise’ that his heroic actions have been questioned.
Deacon Cutterham, from Bristol, won the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, one level down from the Victoria Cross, for picking up and hurling away a Taliban grenade.
But some soldiers, who served him in Helmand province, told the BBC they disputed what happened that day in Afghanistan in 2011.
The former colleagues, who have not been named, say they believe he threw one of his own grenades.
Mr Cutterham told the PA news agency: “I’m just surprised. I can only hazard a guess that they are either jealous or envious. The action happened and I stand by the events that day.
“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 37-year-old joined the Army at 16, and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan during a 19-year military career with the 1st Battalion the Rifles.
The grenade incident happened when, with the 1st Battalion the Rifles, he was leading a patrol in Nahr-e-Saraj District in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.
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.”
Mr Cutterham is now selling his collection of medals at auction on Thursday (November 12), and hopes to use the proceeds of the sale to support his family.
They could fetch up to £120,000 when they go under the hammer at Dix Noonan Webb.
One former colleague told the BBC: “I don’t believe he earned that medal and now he might make money from it.”
Mr Cutterham said he was “heartbroken” by the accusations from unnamed former colleagues.