Kylie Watson (British Army soldier)

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Lance Corporal
Kylie Elizabeth Watson
Born Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 2006–present
Rank Lance Corporal
Service number Q1060658[1]
Unit Royal Army Medical Corps
Battles/wars Afghanistan
Awards Military cross BAR.svg Military Cross

Lance Corporal Kylie Elizabeth Watson MC is a British Army medic from Northern Ireland. She was awarded the Military Cross on 25 March 2011 in recognition of gallantry in Afghanistan.[1] She is only the fourth woman ever to have received the Military Cross.[2]


Watson joined the Army in 2006 and after basic training and studying battlefield medicine, she joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in September 2007. After her first six-month tour of duty in Basra, Iraq in 2008, she returned to the UK and qualified as a Class One medic.[2]

In 2010, Watson was on her first tour as a fully qualified battlefield medic, serving alongside 9 Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, based mostly at Checkpoint Azadie in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. While out on patrol Watson undertook the actions for which she was awarded the Military Cross. An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier, about 70 metres (230 ft) ahead of Watson received two bullet wounds in the pelvis.[3] The soldier, who was in shock, was being tended by a sniper. Watson ran forward under heavy fire to take over but his Afghan comrades tried to stop her because they did not want a woman to treat him.[4] She managed to stem the bleeding and splinted his pelvis. He was then evacuated by Chinook to hospital at Camp Bastion.[2]

On another patrol, Watson put herself in "mortal danger" to attend to a wounded Afghan soldier while under heavy Taliban fire.[5][6] Another ANA soldier was hit in the chest and had stopped breathing. Watson tried to resuscitate him for 20 minutes but was unable to do so.[4]

Her citation read:

"Watson's immense courage, willingness to put her own life at risk and absolute bravery saved the life of one warrior and acted as an inspiration to her platoon and their Afghan National Army partners."[3]

The Military Cross is the third highest award for gallantry in the UK.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Watson was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, one of five children.[2]

She was engaged to be married to Lance Corporal Jacques Swanepoel, a combat medic in 16 Air Assault Brigade, who proposed to her when she returned to the UK from Afghanistan on leave.[2]


  1. ^ a b "No. 59737". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 March 2011. p. 5640.
  2. ^ a b c d e Oliver, Sarah (9 April 2011). "'Oh, Kylie! What did you do? Next time, please don't...': What mother told Military Cross hero daughter who twice braved hails of bullets to tend war wounded". MailOnline. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Army medic Kylie Watson awarded Military Cross". BBC News UK. 27 March 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Female medic awarded Military Cross for bravery". The Daily Telegraph. 27 March 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  5. ^ Lynagh, Catherine (28 March 2011). "Northern Ireland army medic Kylie Watson earns Military Cross". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Military Cross winner Kylie Watson 'shocked by award'". BBC News Northern Ireland. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2014.

Further reading[edit]