THE FAMILY of a Barnsley soldier who was killed in Afghanistan last year have today received a medal in his honour.

Matthew Thornton, 28 died in Afghanistan in November last year. He was part of a patrol that was sent out to engage with the Arghan people but it came under fire – it was while he was returning fire that he was caught in the blast of an improvised explosive device and killed.

His family travelled to York today to pick up the Elizabeth Cross at a ceremony for the fourth battalion the Yorkshire regiment.

On its website, explaining the meaning of the Elizabeth Cross, the Ministry of Defence described it as an emblem to show national recognition. It said: "The Elizabeth Cross are granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice."

Private Thornton went to Darton High School and went on to work at Premdor. He joined the army in 2004, left in 2007 but re-enlisted into D Company in September 2009. He was one of the first to volunteer his services for deployment in Afghanistan.

He left behind a father, Michael, his mother, Susan, his sister, Sarah, and his brother, Nathan.