A decorated former soldier whose heroics were called into question by comrades has sold his medals for £140,000.
Deacon Cutterham, who won the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in 2011, was criticised for auctioning the medal, with six others, to fund his mother’s retirement to Spain.
The ex-sergeant, 37, was said to have picked up a Taliban grenade and thrown it back, saving the lives of fellow soldiers in Afghanistan.
Sergeant Deacon Cutterham receiving the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in London in 2012
Explosive claim: Deacon Cutterham was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross after picking up and hurling a Taliban grenade, saving the lives of two of his men
The collection of medals being auctioned off by Mr Cutterham later on this week in Mayfair
But former comrades disputed this, one suggesting he threw his own grenade. Mr Cutterham said his critics were ‘envious’.
His Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, which is just one level down from the Victoria Cross, cites that Mr Cutterham’s actions were ‘utterly courageous, carried out with composure and clarity of thought.’
‘Cutterham’s gritty leadership and gallant act saved lives and inspired his men,’ it adds.
Yesterday it was sold, alongside honours such as the NATO Medal 1994 and the Jubilee Medal, for £20,000 more than originally expected, by auction house Dix Noonan Webb.
Prince Charles places the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross on Mr Cutterham in the investiture
When details of the auction emerged last month, former comrades disputed the events of the day. One suggesting the grenade thrown was actually Mr Cutterham’s.
Another said that, after conducting an equipment check, they found one grenade missing, while one criticised the decision to hold the auction so close to Remembrance Day.
Mr Cutterham, who joined the army at 16 and reportedly performed his heroics 11 years later, described the events of the day a year later, saying: ‘Grenade came over the top. With that I shouted “grenade” and then advanced on it, picked the grenade up and then posted it, and it literally went off as soon as I pulled my hand away – and prevented me and my lead scout from getting serious injuries or death.’
Mr Cutterham has also hit back at the sceptics, questioning why they haven’t come forward in the nine years since.
‘I’m gutted some people feel that way. I can only hazard a guess they feel envious,’ he said.
From Northern Ireland to Afghanistan and Iraq: Sergeant Deacon Cutterham’s service medals explained
The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross is one of the highest awards given for gallantry and leadership.
It can be given posthumously in ‘recognition of an act or acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy’.
The medal is given to people serving in all ranks of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army, and Royal Air Force.
It is so difficult to get one only around 60 are thought to have been given out.
Mr Cutterham was awarded the medal for lobbing a Taliban bomb out of a ditch to save others’ lives. But he has been forced to deny it was actually his own grenade.
His colleagues came forward and alleged he did not deserve the award and claimed the ‘Taliban grenade’ was actually one of his own.
The General Service Medal (1962) was introduced in to replace both the General Service Medal (1918) and the Naval General Service Medal (1915)
General Service Medal – 1 clasp, Northern Ireland
The General Service Medal (1962) was introduced in to replace both the General Service Medal (1918) and the Naval General Service Medal (1915).
It was awarded until 2007, when it was replaced by the Operational Service Medal.
That in turn was replaced by the General Service Medal (2008).
The 1962 GSM was awarded to Cutterham for his service in Northern Ireland, hence why his medal includes a clasp inscribed ‘NORTHERN IRELAND’.
The medal was never awarded without a clasp. There were 14 in total. Other clasps include those given for service in the Cyprus Crisis of 1963-4; in Borneo; in South Vietnam and Lebanon.
The NATO medal was introduced to recognise those who had served on NATO missions
NATO Medal 1994
This medal is awarded to soldiers serving in the militaries of various different countries.
It was introduced to recognise those who had served on NATO missions.
There are differing styles of the medal which distinguish between those awarded as part of Article 5 operations and those awarded for Non-Article 5 operations.
NATO’s Article 5 provides that if a member country is the victim of an attack, every other member will consider this an armed attack against all members and will take appropriate action.
The treaty was first invoked after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in September 2001.
Mr Cutterham’s medal includes a ‘Non-Article 5’ clasp, meaning it was awarded for an operation where Article 5 was not invoked.
The Iraq Medal
The Iraq Medal was issued to members of the British Armed Forces who served in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.
Mr Cutterham served as part of Operation TELIC – the name given for all of Britain’s operations in Iraq until forces’ withdrawal in 2011.
He served in Iraq before going on to serve in Afghanistan.
Operational Service Medal
The Operational Service Medal (OSM) is the name given to a group of campaign medals awarded by the British armed forced.
The medal is awarded for four separate campaigns: Sierra Leone; Afghanistan; Democratic Republic of Congo; Iraq and Syria.
Mr Cutterham was awarded his OSM for his service in Afghanistan.
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
This medal – which bears the full name of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal – is a commemorative award which was created in 2012 to mark the monarch’s sixtieth anniversary of her accession to the throne.
There are three versions: one is issued by the UK, the other by Canada and the third for Caribbean realms of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
In the UK and its overseas territories, 450,000 of the medals were awarded to members of the armed forces who had served longer than five years; members of HM Prison Service and members of the emergency services who had completed five years of service.
Accumulated Campaign Service Medal
The Accumulated Campaign Service Medal is awarded to members of the armed forced to recognise long campaign service.
The medal is awarded to members who have completed at least 1,080 days of service in regions which would have merited a General Service Medal, such as in Northern Ireland or Iraq.
In Mr Cutterham’s case, the medal was awarded for service in Afghanistan.
The Accumulated Campaign Service Medal is awarded to members of the armed forced to recognise long campaign service