RELATIVES of a South Yorkshire soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice have received the Elizabeth Cross in his honour.
Private Matthew Thornton, 28, of Barnsley, lost his life in the line of duty when he was caught up in an explosion in Afghanistan in November last year.
His family travelled to York to collect the Elizabeth Cross at a special ceremony.
The medals are presented to relatives of servicemen and women killed in action or through terrorism, in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice.
Pte Thornton – a Territorial Army soldier with 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, who had volunteered for service in Afghanistan – is survived by father Michael, mother Susan, sister Sarah and brother Nathan.
He was described by the Ministry of Defence as a ‘gifted, hard working and determined’ soldier.
He spent his civilian life working for Premdor near Barnsley, which manufactures door and window frames.
The former Darton High School pupil signed up for the Territorial Army in 2004 and left three years later, only to re-enlist in 2009, eager to deploy to Afghanistan.
Lieut Col Ian Crowley MC, commanding officer of 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, described him as ‘a true Yorkshire warrior’. He was killed in a blast in Helmand after coming under gun and grenade fire.
Meanwhile, the parents of a Chesterfield soldier killed in Afghanistan have unveiled a plaque in his honour.
Pte Ben Ford, from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment Worcesters and Foresters, was 18 when he was killed in 2007 on a routine patrol.
It was Pte Ford’s first overseas deployment with the Army.
The plaque was added to the war memorial in Newbold, where the fallen soldier lived.