On 8th April 2004 Corporal Balmforth was providing top cover to the first two land rovers that were leaving Al Jameat Police Station having completed a routine training and mentoring task with the Iraqi Police Service.

Corporal Balmforth receiving his award of The Military Cross from HM Queen Elizabeth

As the leading land rover turned the corner it was met by concentrated fire from five gunmen armed with machine guns and rocket launchers.

At a range of around fifteen metres this proved to be devastating. The driver was wounded instantly by gun shot injuries to both his thighs and his ankle was shattered. The land rover was seriously damaged.

From a position of top cover Balmforth returned fire immediately, buying time for the vehicle to come to rest outside the killing area. Whilst his team pulled the wounded driver to safety,

Balmforth continued to return fire, suppressing the enemy position and wounding one of the gunmen. After an exchange of fire that lasted several minutes, a second patrol led by his squadron leader arrived on the scene and went into action immediately.

The combined firepower of the two patrols forced the enemy to withdraw some of their wounded. Sensing an opportunity to seize the initiative, and shouting for support, Balmforth broke cover, and with complete disregard for his own safety assaulted the ambush position.

Three enemy gunmen were killed in the action, a fourth was critically injured and one got away. He was instrumental in protecting his comrade’s life and regaining the initiative in very dangerous circumstances against overwhelming odds.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Hussars
  2. Iraq 2003-09