31 Mar 2012

Key presents Memorial Cross to families of slain SAS soldiers

7:10 pm on 31 March 2012

The Prime Minister presented the families of the two SAS soldiers killed in Afghanistan last year with the New Zealand Memorial Cross on Saturday.

Family members of Corporal Doug Grant and Lance Corporal Leon Smith attended a closed ceremony in Papakura Military Camp.

John Key also announced that Lance Corporal Smith would become the recipient of the Charles Upham Award for Bravery for his actions in an attack by insurgents.

The 33-year-old was shot during a joint Afghan Crisis Response Unit and SAS operation in Wardak province near Kabul on 28 September, 2011.

A month earlier Corporal Doug Grant, 41, was shot trying to rescue people from a British Council building during a Taleban attack in Kabul.

During that attack Lance Corporal Smith exposed himself to insurgent fire in order to apply first aid to Corporal Grant who died on his way to hospital.

The New Zealand Memorial Cross is presented to family members of defence personnel who lose their lives during, or as a result of, operational service outside New Zealand.