THE family of hero Sheffield soldier Liam Riley gathered at Sheffield Town Hall to be presented with his posthumous award for his “bravery and selflessness”.
Corporal Riley, aged 21, from Killamarsh, died a year ago today in a bomb blast while coming to the aid of a colleague who was blown up by an explosion moments earlier, while on foot patrol near Malgir, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Graham Shaw, the soldier he was trying to save, also died.
Cpl Riley, of the Third Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, was awarded a Mention In Despatches, one of the Army’s top honours for gallantry, last Autumn. His citation read: “In an act typifying Corporal Liam Riley’s indomitable offensive spirit, bravery and selflessness, he sacrificed his life fighting to protect his men and to reach one of them who had fallen.
“Eschewing the safety of cover he did not hesitate to attack forward into the heart of an enemy ambush with complete disregard for the enemy fire and the threat underfoot from improvised explosive devices.
“His conduct was in the finest traditions of the British Army and for his selfless commitment and this extraordinary act of bravery in the face of the enemy, Cpl Riley deserves special and public recognition.”
After his death, tributes included one from Prince Harry, who served with Cpl Riley on a training exercise in Canada, and hailed him as a “legend”.
The certificate for Cpl Riley, was presented to his parents Cheryl Routledge and Mick Riley by Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Coun Alan Law.
Also in attendance were numerous relatives and colleagues from his regiment.
Following the soldier’s death, his family have been active raising a large amount of money for charity Help For Heroes, which supports wounded troops.
Cpl Riley’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tom Vallings, said: “At only 21-years-old, he had been identified as one of our stars of the future.
“He was an inspirational leader of men and was the youngest Corporal in the battalion.
“I have little doubt that he was heading to the top of his unique profession. He led by example, with boundless energy and an infectious smile that would spur his team on when life got tough.”
Prince Harry said: “I remember Liam Riley so well. He was a legend. A really special man who got us all going.”