WARNING – GRAPHIC PHOTOS. Lance Corporal Simon Moloney was convinced he was about to die after a bullet hit him in the throat during a firefight in Afghanistan – but after five minutes he was back on his feet
A soldier who miraculously survived being shot through the neck before carrying on fighting for 90 minutes is selling his bravery medal for £100,000 so he can buy a house.
Lance Corporal Simon Moloney, an army sniper, was convinced he was about to die after a bullet hit him in the throat during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2013.
The bullet entered the left side of his neck, missed his trachea and carotid main artery and exited through the right side.
Blood was pouring everywhere but after about five minutes of treatment the soldier was back on his feet.
He said he spent 10 minutes preparing for death until a medic stemmed the bleeding and stabilised him.
Minutes later he was back on his feet and fought the Taliban in searing 40C heat, pinning down enemy snipers and helping to save his colleagues.
A surgeon who later operated on Moloney told him the bullet had missed his vital arteries and airways by millimetres and put the odds of that happening at a trillion-to-one.
Moloney, 27, left the armed forces last December after 10 years service.
He said he has made the ‘logical’ decision to sell the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross he was awarded for the action to give him a better future, which includes getting on the property ladder.
Moloney lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, which is one of the worst places in Britain outside London for first time buyers, with the average property price at £390,000.
He said: “I am incredibly proud of my medals and what they represent. It has been a big decision to sell them but also a logical one.
“The money I hope to raise by selling my medals is life changing for someone in my position and is purely to give me and my future family a better life.
“I will 100 per cent use it to get on the property ladder.
“I rent at the moment and I will look to buy somewhere, a house.”
The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross is the second highest award for gallantry in battle, with only the Victoria Cross ranking higher.
His is one of only 59 CGCs awarded since the decoration was instituted in 1993.
It will be sold along with his Operational Service Medal with an Afghanistan clasp by London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb who have given it a pre-sale estimate of between £80,000 to £100,000.
Moloney was serving with the Blues and Royals, part of the Household Cavalry, on his second tour of Afghanistan when he was nearly killed in July 1993 in Helmand province.
He was part of a 12 man troop flown into a Taliban stronghold to seek out insurgents.
The sniper and a machine gunner positioned themselves on the roof of a building to provide a watch and cover fire.
But an enemy sharpshooter picked him out and shot him through the neck.
The near-fatal blow knocked Moloney off the sloping roof. He plunged 8ft towards the ground but luckily a goat broke his fall.
Medic Wesley Masters risked his life to dash 400 metres under heavy fire to provide first aid. One grenade went off just 12ft away from them.
He was later awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.
Moloney said: “Looking back it was one of the best days of my life but for five or 10 minutes I was pretty sure I was going to die.
“It felt as though I had been punched, there was blood pouring from my neck. Adrenaline had kicked in so I wasn’t in pain. I was annoyed I had been shot because I knew who had shot me.
“I did genuinely think death was on the cards and I had accepted that if I was going to go I wasn’t going to go out crying, I was going to go out with respect.
“It was the longest 10 minutes of my life. But then the medic said I was going to be alright and I had absolute faith in him.
“I should be dead by now but I am in the position I am now because of everybody else who was there that day. I had good blokes around me.
“I was bleeding quite a bit but after about five minutes of treatment I was back on my feet and was back on it.
“The surgeon later told me that he couldn’t make the same incision with a scalpel as the one the bullet that hit me did without killing me.”
Pierce Noonan, managing director at Dix Noonan Webb, said: “Simon Moloney is a quintessentially British hero who talks about his extraordinary brush with death in Afghanistan with a calm, modest detachment that fills me with admiration.
“The story of how he fought on for an hour and a half after receiving treatment for a wound that came within millimetres of killing him is truly inspirational.”
Part of the citation for Lance Cpl Moloney’s CGC reads: “Shouting through the effects of his throat injury and over the crack of enemy sniper rounds, Moloney passed critical target information to win the fire-fight.
“Moloney continued fighting for a further 90 minutes until, against his will, he was extracted by helicopter.
“Without his gallantry and skill in the ruthless suppression of the enemy, it is likely his troop would have sustained multiple casualties.”
The sale takes place in London on May 9.
CREDIT: THE MIRROR