Military Cross, EIIR issue, officially dated 2003, officially engraved to reverse, with original case of issue, Iraq Medal 2003, bar ‘19 Mar to 28 Apr 2003’, Campaign Service Medal, bar Northern Ireland, 25148134 Guardsman Anton Liam Branchflower, Irish Guards.
Guardsman Blanchflower recalling the day:
“I’d never seen such a scary face in all my life. He had wide, staring eyes and a terrible grimace. I felt physically sick. It was either him or us, me and my mates. So I shot him.”
Military Cross Announced in the London Gazette, 31st October 2003, his full citation reads:
“Guardsman Branchflower joined 1st Battalion, Irish Guards in February 2003 at 19 years of age on completion of his recruit training. Within days he deployed to the Gulf on Operation Telic as a Machine Gunner within No. 2 Company, 1st Battalion, part of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Battlegroup.
Following a successful initial attack into Basrah on 6 April 2003 by the Battlegroup, a short pause ensued whilst orders were issued for subsequent objectives. At this stage Guardsman Branchflower’s Section Commander was ordered to dismount his Section and clear and enemy bunker position that had already been engaged by tanks and Warrior Fighting Vehicles. The position was believed to have been cleared of enemy and his Section was asked to collect the enemy’s now redundant weapons.
The approach the bunker and the Section Commander busied himself issuing arcs of fire to his men. Suddenly, wholly unexpectedly, they were engaged by machine-gun fire from the bunker, now no more than 25m away. Surprised, the Section Commander spun around to face the bunker and saw an enemy soldier in the process of throwing a grenade at the Section. All took cover as quickly as possible, less Branchflower who stood his ground and engaged the enemy grenadier. Branchflower hit and killed the enemy soldier, who dropped the grenade. The subsequent detonation also killed the enemy machine-gunner who had been engaging the Section.
Branchflower’s bravery, professionalism and presence of mind in these circumstances were truly remarkable for a soldier barely three months out of training. Undoubtedly, his decisive action saved his fellow Section members from severe injury.”
An exceptional Iraq War Military Cross to a young 19 year old soldier of the Irish Guards, the only non N.C.O. of the Irish Guards to earn the Military Cross, 1 of only 3 awards to the regiment for Iraq.
According to, at the time, US President George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair the full scale Allied Invasion, was aimed to “Disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.”
One of the most distinguished regiment in British Military History, the Irish Guards, were mobilised as part of the 7th Armoured Brigade and they led the British advanced into Basra during March 2003.
Amongst them was Guardsman Branchflower who had joined the Irish Guards the previous year at the age of only 18. Shortly after his 19th Birthday, he was posted to 1st Battalion Irish Guards in February 2003 and the Battalion prepared to depart for war.
Military Cross named on reverse: “25148134 GDSM A L BRANCHFLOWER IG”
Iraq Medal and CSM both officially impressed: “25148134 Gdsm A L Branchflower IG”
All 3 medals are court mounted for wear, also sold with his Original Royal Mint MC case of issue, his named card box for the Iraq Medal.
Many photographs of the service, a DVD and extracts when he was invested by the Queen.
Eleven letters of congratulation from Senior Officers and Commanders.
A large archive of photos and additional research.
Provenance: J. B. Hayward, 2005, when bought from recipient.
Anton Liam Branchflower, was born in January 1984 and raised in Irlam, Salford, Manchester. Not long after his 18th Birthday he had enlisted with the Irish Guards in 2003.
Having earned his Military Cross for the action around the old Basra Technical College in Iraq early into the war, he would next be posted for further active service in Northern Ireland, where he would spend the Christmas of 2003 on duty.
The next year he went to Buckingham Palace to be invested with the Military Cross by H.M. The Queen on 25th February 2004.