A former Army commanding officer and a soldier who led his unit through ground littered with explosives are among troops being honoured for acts of courage while serving in Afghanistan.
Colonel Edward Fenton, who led the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS), through a tour of duty in the war-torn country receives a Distinguished Service Order in recognition of his "gallant leadership".
The 43-year-old commanded the largest combined force in Helmand province during the six-month operation from October last year, with 1,500 troops including his own battalion. His plan in the Nad e-Ali district was said to have put the transition for security responsibility to the Afghan forces six months ahead of schedule.
The announcement of his award was made with the release of the latest operational honours list. The citation said his "courageous leadership" inspired and reassured his soldiers.
Col Fenton, who recently handed over command of the Black Watch at their base at Fort George, Inverness, paid tribute to a "tremendous team effort". The father-of-one has now taken up a staff officer post in Warminster.
Also being honoured is Sergeant Daniel Buist, who has been awarded a Mention in Despatches (MiD) for his "truly exceptional" courage. Sgt Buist, 37, was patrolling with 3 SCOTS in November when they were attacked by machine gun fire and grenades. Hemmed in 400 metres from their base by a barrier of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the platoon was pinned down. He stood up to draw fire, with shots narrowly missing him, and identified enemy firing points while allowing the men to find better cover.
But the fight continued and, after a third day of attacks, Sgt Buist realised the company needed to breach enemy lines, which involved creeping along a 300-metre compound through ground filled with IEDs.
Sgt Buist led his platoon forward, fighting the insurgents in the alleyways of the compound while the enemy launched a counter attack with machine guns and grenades. With shooters just 80 metres away, he charged on to lead his men through the danger so they could take control of the ground. His actions were said to have secured a buffer zone around Loy Mandeh, turning the tide against the insurgents in the northern Nad-e Ali area.
Colour Sergeant Ian Smith, 32, was also awarded an MiD for his actions which foiled an enemy ambush. The soldier, from Cowdenbeath, Fife, was serving with the Black Watch when their patrol was attacked several times from multiple firing positions over a period of two hours. With the troops stuck in the open and pinned down by enemy fire, two armoured vehicles came to help but were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.
Standing up from his position of cover, CSgt Smith ordered another soldier to follow him with his machine gun to bring the extra firepower forward. They manoeuvred more than 300 metres across uncleared ground under enemy fire to reach the stricken patrol. He moved along the line of troops and issued target indications to focus their defence while identifying a route to safety.