George Cross for retired major who rescued 200 during Kenyan terror attack

A retired special forces officer awarded the George Cross for repeatedly risking his life to save around 200 people during a deadly Kenyan terrorist attack has dedicated his gallantry medal to all victims of such atrocities.

Major Dominic Troulan said he was just the "custodian" of the honour after the Queen presented him with the UK's highest civilian honour for bravery.

He added that many "good human beings" have "amazed" the world by standing up for democracy during similar incidents.

Maj Troulan, who served for two decades in the special forces, returned a dozen times to the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi in 2013 to search for survivors and lead them to safety after al-Shabab extremists stormed the centre armed with machine guns and grenades.

Speaking after the ceremony he said: "Whilst I take this award - and very humbled and honoured I am to receive it from Her Majesty - it is definitively (from) a position of custodian for all the victims not only of Westgate but of terrorism generally."

The retired special forces officer was presented with his George Cross by the Queen ( Yui Mok/PA Wire)
The retired special forces officer was presented with his George Cross by the Queen (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

Maj Troulan, the first civilian to receive the George Cross in more than 40 years, added: "The world over the last few years has got worse, arguably.

"And when you see all the incidents in the UK and in Kenya on that very day, and in other parts of the world, it is the good human beings that amaze people how they stand up and help - medically, logistically - and stand up for the right and good of democracy."

Maj Troulan, who moved to Kenya 12 years ago with his family and works as a security risk manager, had been asked by a friend to find his wife and daughter who were in the shopping complex, and he went in armed with just a pistol.

The George Cross is the UK's highest civilian honour for bravery (PA)
The George Cross is the UK's highest civilian honour for bravery (PA)

His George Cross citation was read out to the investiture guests, who were told: "He managed to bring two women to safety and decided to stay to help others.

"Over the course of several hours, despite getting increasingly exhausted, dehydrated and being fired at, he went into the building at least a dozen times and managed to bring many innocent civilians to safety."

The harrowing incident ended after a number of days with 67 people killed.

Dominic Troulan is the first civilian to be awarded The George Cross for 40 years - the 2nd highest award in the honours system.

-- The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) October 13, 2017

Maj Troulan said his familiarity with the mall, where he regularly shopped and relaxed with his family, put a different slant on events.

He said: "In this instance there were some other courageous people with me and around me and when you go into somewhere, where you've taken your family for a few years to do weekly shopping, see the cinema, use the cafes, it puts a different context on the situation developing in front of you.

"And the situation developing is quite graphic and horrific in what is a sterile shopping centre with clean floors, clean walls and you've got young children and families killed.

"The horrific carnage that the terrorists managed to conduct in pretty short order really will live with all of us that were involved there, both the hostages, the victims' families and extended friends who were actually in there and saw it first-hand."

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