Navy diver awarded bravery medal for recovering fisherman from upturned boat

A Royal Navy diver has been awarded a bravery medal after he entered an upturned boat to retrieve the body of a fisherman killed when his vessel capsized.

Leading Seaman Simon Wharton, 37, collected the Queen’s Gallantry Medal from the Duke of Cambridge on Tuesday, in recognition of his actions in 2017.

Mr Wharton recounted the incident after picking up the award at Buckingham Palace.

He said: “I was on duty with a bomb disposal unit and we were tasked to Hinkley Point to go and dispose of an unexploded bomb and on the way we got turned around because of the capsized fishing vessel.

“We were tasked to find the missing fisherman.

“We went under the vessel to try and find the man and came across the fisherman who unfortunately had died, so I indicated to my buddy that I was going to go in and get him.

“Because of the conditions of the water I had to go in through the heavy fishing gear to recover the body.

“We brought him back through the trawling equipment.”

Mr Wharton, from Fareham, Hampshire, was proud of his achievement, but said that the accolade was “bittersweet”.

He added: “It’s an absolute honour to have been recognised, however it’s bittersweet because of the situation.

“It was tragic for that individual and the family and friends of that individual, but it’s nice to have been recognised.”

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