A SOLDIER who ran through a hail of bullets to rescue a child being shot at by Taliban fighters was praised yesterday by the Prince of Wales.

Lance Corporal Andrew Wardle, 22, reacted without a thought for his own safety when he saw the boy had wandered into a fire fight between British and Afghan soldiers and insurgents in Musa Qala, Afghanistan.

He left his position and ran across open ground, while being fired at, to gather up the Afghan youngster who had been wounded in the back.

L Cpl Wardle made it to safety, where his unit was able to get the boy airlifted to the main British base Camp Bastion for treatment.

The soldier, of the 2nd battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, was recognised for his bravery with a Military Cross presented to him by Prince Charles at a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony.

L Cpl Wardle, from Sunderland, said after the presentation: “The prince said how brave I was and said he could never have done what I did.”

A Military Cross was also presented to L Cpl Wardle’s team commander while in Afghanistan, Captain Colin Lunn, 26, from Doncaster.

The officer, also from the Yorkshire Regiment, was presented with the bravery award for charging two Taliban machine gun posts in January with two men from his unit, killing the insurgents.

Meanwhile, two other soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment were also recognised for their bravery, both receiving the Queen’s Gallantry Medal from the prince.

Sergeant John Swithenbank, 32, from Middlesbrough, was decorated for going to the aid of an Afghan soldier who had stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) last autumn, in Sangin.

The serviceman, who risked setting off more explosions to go to the aid of the foreign soldier, said after the ceremony: “He lost both his legs and an arm in the blast.

“The explosion had uncovered other devices, but I quickly concluded I could take the risk and go and help him as he was in a bad way.”

Corporal John Hardman, 32, from Scarborough, received his Queen’s Gallantry Medal for going to the aid of a British soldier who had stepped on an IED while on a patrol near Gereshk, in November last year.