A helicopter winchman from Helston who risked his life to rescue a sailor from treacherous seas has been honoured at a national ceremony recognising the bravest of the brave.
The skills of Corporal Justin Morgan, together with the whole of RNAS Culdrose’s search and rescue squadron, were recognised at the ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Cpl Morgan, of 771 Squadron, won the outstanding sailor/marine of the year category at this year’s Sun Military Awards.
Known as The Millies, the awards are organised by The Sun newspaper in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and honour the professionalism and bravery of men and women working in the armed forces around the world.
Cpl Morgan beat two other contenders to take his award, which recognised a daring rescue of a yachtsman carried out in August this year.
The rescue operation was carried out with the help of fellow crewmembers Lieutenant Commander Adam Jones, first pilot; Lieutenant Commander Andy Knight, 2nd pilot; and Lieutenant Commander Martin “Florry” Ford, observer.
Cpl Morgan said: “I am so very pleased to receive this award as recognition of the work that we at 771 Naval Air Squadron provide day in, day out and to my fellow aircrew, engineers and all the support staff.
“It was truly a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without them. It has been fantastic to actually meet the yachtsman we rescued, catch up on what happened and provide some closure to the event.”
In a citation, the crew of the helicopter were said to have “acted commendably as a team” throughout the “testing rescue.”
Cpl Morgan was praised for being “cool headed and fearless, displaying extreme determination and fitness in heavy seas in order to rescue a desperate sailor.”
The citation added: “This rescue was completed in the most demanding of conditions using the highest standards of crew co-operation, flexibility and determination. An injured mariner in imminent danger was safely recovered from his badly damaged yacht in the most appalling conditions.”
The awards ceremony, held at London’s Imperial War Museum, will be shown on ITV1 this Friday, December 14, at 9pm. The broadcast will including unique footage of shortlisted individuals and teams at work, as well as reconstructions of the acts of heroism for which the award winners were nominated.
The winners were chosen by a celebrity panel of judges that included former SAS member Andy McNab, England and Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard, television presenter Jeremy Clarkson and musician/presenter Myleene Klass, as well as a number of military figures.