Heroic marine throws himself on grenade By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent Last Updated: 2:02am BST 31/03/2008 A Royal Marine could receive the highest award for gallantry after he saved the lives of his comrades by throwing himself onto an exploding grenade in Afghanistan, it has been reported. Lance Corporal Matt Croucher amazingly survived the incident despite shrapnel peppering his helmet during the explosion. L/Cpl Croucher's backpack was thrown more than 30ft in the explosion His extraordinary courage, which could lead to a citation for the Victoria Cross, came after a tripwire booby-trap was stepped on during a nighttime mission outside the town of Sangin, Helmand province. A live hand-grenade was released threatening to blow up L/Cpl Croucher, 24 and the rest of the patrol. The marine shouted "grenade" and as his friends dived for cover L/Cpl Croucher lay with his back on the lethal device. The patrol commander, Corporal Adam Lesley threw himself to the ground and another man got behind a wall, but one marine had frozen and was still standing when the grenade detonated. "My reaction was, 'My God this can't be real'," said Cpl Lesley. "Croucher had simply lain back and used his day sack to blunt the force of the explosion. You would expect nine out of 10 people to die in that situation." With fuses that can last several seconds the men waited for what "felt like a lifetime" before the grenade blew up. The marine's backpack, thought to contain ammunition, was thrown more than 30ft and sent a burning radio battery flying through the air. advertisement L/Cpl Croucher, who suffered a bleeding nose and shock, was saved by the special plating inside his Osprey body armour. He almost certainly saved the life of Marine Scott Easter who had "just completely frozen". "All I could hear was a loud ringing and the faint sound of people shouting 'are you ok? Are you ok?'" L/Cpl Croucher, a reservist from Birmingham, told the News of the World. "Then I felt one of the lads giving me a top to toe check. My head was ringing. Blood was streaming from my nose. It took 30 seconds before I realised I was definitely not dead," he added. Cpl Lesley said: "He had shrapnel in his helmet, in the plate of his body armour, but he was basically okay. "His day sack had taken the blast." The action happened on Feb 9 as the reconnaissance troop from 40 Commando went to search a bomb-making factory in a compound out Sangin. A Ministry of Defence statement said: "L/Cpl Croucher has displayed incredible bravery in his action in Afghanistan. His bravery could well be recognised through some form of gallantry award in due course along with other personnel from the latest deployment to Afghanistan." __________________ holy shit! This man deserves the VC and to be Knighted.