The widow of a British soldier killed in Afghanistan last month has become the first person to be presented with an emblem named after the queen that honours families of fallen armed forces members.
Karen Upton, 32, received the Elizabeth Cross at the funeral of her husband Warrant Officer Sean Upton, 35, at a church service in Catterick, Yorkshire yesterday.
He was killed in an explosion while on foot patrol near Sangin in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on July 27, Reuters reports.
“I will wear this Elizabeth Cross in his honour with pride and treasure it always,” she said.
“Sean and I grew up together, were childhood sweethearts and soul mates. He was a loving husband and devoted father.”
The silver emblem in the shape of a cross and a wreath, as well as a memorial scroll signed by the queen, will be granted to around 8000 families of armed forces members killed in operations or as a result of terrorism since 1948.
It is the first time the name of a reigning monarch has been given to a new award since the George Cross in 1940, introduced by George VI for acts of bravery by civilians and the military.
It follows a precedent set after the first and second world wars.
Families of those killed in World War One were given a scroll and a memorial plaque, while a scroll was given to families of those who died in World War Two and the Korean War.
Pic: First Elizabeth Cross