A former soldier is selling the Military Cross he received from the Queen for risking his life in a firefight in Iraq to help provide for his young family, it has been disclosed.
Ryan Copping, 25, formerly of 1st Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, hopes to use up to £22,000 from the sale to help secure the future of his five-year-old daughter.
Mr Copping, from Folkestone, Kent, received the honour at Buckingham Palace in 2007 after putting his life in peril for the sake of his team in Basra a year earlier.
He was the driver of the lead Warrior armoured vehicle at the height of the state of emergency when they came under intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire.
With the crew struggling to identify the enemy and the route to push on to, former private Copping opened his driver’s hatch, stuck his head out and began steering through streets strewn with obstacles.
The official citation said he “remained calm and continued to keep the hatch open despite the enormous amount of fire he received as lead vehicle”.
Now working in the security industry, he said he reached the decision to sell the MC and his Iraq medals so he and his daughter, Faith, could lead a happier life.
He said: “I don’t look at them and see pound notes, but if I don’t sell them, they will just pass down through my family and some day, somebody else will sell them. So I thought I may as well benefit from them. I have a daughter from a previous relationship to look after and bills to pay and I just want us to have a happier life.”
Also included with the lot is a framed copy of the citation, 11 original photographs, newspaper cuttings and photocopies of congratulatory letters from senior military personnel and the mayor of his home town.
The medals will be sold at Sotheby’s in central London in a sale conducted by London-based coins and medals specialists Morton & Eden on November 30.