Pictures: PA // Dominic Troulan awarded the George Cross by the Queen

First Civilian Recipient Of George Cross In More Than 40 Years

Pictures: PA // Dominic Troulan awarded the George Cross by the Queen

The George Cross has been awarded to the first civilian recipient in over 40 years today.

Major Dominic Troulan repeatedly risked his life to save 200 people, including a baby, in a terrorist attack on a Kenyan shopping mall.

The retired Major, who had previously served for two decades in the Special Forces, returned 12 times to search for and save people from the scene of the attack.

The 54-year-old described the rescue attempts as:

"One of the hardest six hours of my life".

The 2013 attack by al-Shabab extremists killed 67 people during a siege of the shopping mall in Nairobi.

Dominic Troulan being awarded George Cross by Queen
Pictures: PA // Dominic Troulan being awarded the George Cross by the Queen

The Queen presented him with the UK’s highest civilian honour for bravery, at Buckingham Palace earlier. 

Speaking after the ceremony he said:

"While I take this award - and very humbled and honoured I am to receive it from Her Majesty - it is definitvely (from) a position of custodian for all the victims not only of Westgate but of terrorism generally." 

Maj Troulan was based in Northern Ireland where he was a Sergeant in the Royal Marines.

During that time, he won the Queen’s Gallantry Medal in 1993.

He continued his military career by returning to Ulster in 2002, where he was a Warrant Officer in the Parachute Regiment and awarded with the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.

A few years later, in 2008, he was promoted to Captain and then Major.

When asked about his experience during the shopping mall attack, he said he had "never really got over it", but that he is "more humbled than words can say."

Nairobi shopping mall attack 2013
Shoppers fleeing from the Westgate attack in 2013

In a statement before receiving his award, Maj Troulan dedicated the George Cross to victims of terrorism while urging continued action:

"I would urge political leaders around the world to continue to work together to defeat terrorism.

It is a good moment to remember the words of Edmund Burke, who pointed out that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Let us give the police, security services and specialist military units the resources and legal framework they need to keep our societies safe and defend our democratic ideals."

The bravery award is second only to the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom honours system.

George Cross
Awarded 'for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger'

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