A BARNSLEY soldier who ‘undoubtedly saved lives’ after a suicide bomb was detonated during the evacuation of British nationals and eligible Afghans from Kabul has been awarded for his outstanding bravery and selflessness.
Corporal Daniel Hoyland, of the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, was one of three soldiers to be recognised in the operational awards list.
He received a Mention in Despatches (MiD) for the evacuation effort last year as the Taliban occupied the area of Afghanistan.
During Operation Pitting – the British mission to support the evacuation effort of Kabul at short notice – Corporal Hoyland helped people flee safely.
The three men – Private Ahmad Fahim, Corporal Jamie Found and Corporal Hoyland – were cited for their roles in the evacuee handling centre at Kabul Airport as a suicide bomb detonated, killing dozens including US troops.
The 31-year-old is a Rifle Selection Commander with C Company 3 PARA, and was one of the first to respond to the suicide attack near to where the British soldiers were operating.
He said: “I felt lucky to be involved in it because I’d just come back from ITC Catterick, where I was training recruits.
“The last Afghanistan tour I did was in 2010 to 2011 so to get out there for the last part of it was good.
“When the IED went off, my section were the closest to it out of the British Forces.
“I was about 60 metres away – I had a burst eardrum.
“There were a lot of casualties, and I was dealing with the crowd and trying to save as many people as possible.
“That’s the things I will remember forever.
“People were working round the clock and sleep deprived but everybody was doing a good job.
“It was short and sharp, but it was a pretty hard thing to get done.
“I didn’t expect to receive this award.
“I thought I was just getting a ‘well done’ from my Commanding Officer.”
He has previously served on tours of Afghanistan and Bosnia, but only found out he was going to be deployed to Afghanistan whilst he was attending his friend’s wedding – just 36 hours later and he was on a plane.
His citation stated: “He immediately left the secure zone inside the main gate of the evacuee handling centre to rush towards the blast, despite the potential for a further explosion.
“Without hesitation he searched for explosive devices and, undeterred by the carnage, began to triage the injured and direct medical assistance to those most in need.
“His immediate actions undoubtedly saved lives.”