A WIRRAL war hero who fought off insurgents despite suffering a broken back in combat has sold his collection of medals for £130,000.

Corporal Josh Griffiths, of the 1st Battalion, Mercian Regiment, was presented with five medals following his extraordinary act of bravery while serving with British forces in Helmand, Afghanistan, in 2013.

The soldier, who is from Eastham, was just 23 days from the end of his tour and preparing to eat his evening meal when a pick-up truck packed with half a tonne of explosives was driven by a suicide bomber through the wall of Patrol Camp Folad.

The resulting explosion tore a 40m gap in the perimeter wall and was the signal for an an all-out attack that was to last for several hours.

Corporal Griffiths said: “I was thrown around as well as everyone else and the next thing I remember it was dark and I was on my back. I heard one of the lads scream out.”

The cookhouse was utterly destroyed by the blast, as was the operations room with Corporal Griffiths’ back left broken and grenade fragments embedded in his face, just millimetres from his left eye.

"My first instinct was to see who was hurt and help," he said. "One of the lads was shouting that another was badly injured. We had to crawl through the debris in the dark to get him out.

"I heard one of the lads scream out, so I approached him and helped and then I climbed out of the tent to see if there were more casualties. When I did that, there were rounds snapping past and I thought, 'That's a bit close."

Still disorientated, dressed in a combat shirt and fatigues and without protective equipment, Corporal Griffiths grabbed a light machine gun and leaving the collapsed cookhouse, he confronted a group of insurgents inside the walls of the base who were launching grenades and assaulting his position with automatic weapons less than 50m from him and the other casualties.

He engaged the insurgents in a prolonged close-range fire fight, which allowed the wounded to be evacuated before leading an assault on the insurgents and clearing them from the base, only afterwards accepting medical treatment for his wounds, the seriousness of which necessitated his evacuation to the UK.

Corporal Griffiths originally joined the British Army in September 2006 at the age of 17. Having served previously in Afghanistan as well as Iraq and Northern Ireland, Griffiths was deployed with C Company (Cheshire), 1st Battalion, Mercian Regiment to Afghanistan as part of Herrick 17 on October 6, 2012. He recently left the Army at the age of 32 and made the decision to sell his medals in order to support his young family.

Following the sale at Dixon Noonan Webb auction house in London, Christopher Mellor-Hill, head of client liaison (associate director), Dix Noonan Webb, said: “We are pleased to once again to find a good home for another Conspicious Gallantry Cross (CGC) collection.

"The medals in today's auction were awarded to Josh Griffiths, one of Britain’s most gallant soldiers for recent operations in Afghanistan. The proceeds will enable him to provide a new home for his young family as he embarks on a life outside the army. His CGC was acquired by a collector of modern gallantry medals and who is also a good supporter of our brave young soldiers.”

Corporal Griffiths, who attended the sale, added: "Attending was an amazing experience and everyone who has helped guide me through the sale has been fantastic, especially Christopher who dealt with the sale for me.

"It was made extra special as the team allowed my partner to come into the auction with me and my baby girl.

"I was rather nervous at first but also emotional as I went through a lot to get that medal, but at the same time I am very grateful to the buyer as I can start a new chapter in my life and give my daughter and family a head start for our future together.”

The medals were sold with a variety of letters and photographs, including a letter of congratulation from H.R.H. Prince Charles and a photograph of the recipient receiving his CG. from the Prince at the investiture held at Buckingham Palace on February 7, 2014.