A former royal marine who left the service after 16 years in 2018 is selling his Conspicuous Gallantry Cross to raise funds for a rural retreat in the Scottish Highlands for like-minded soldiers to use and experience a different way of life.
37-year-old Brad ‘Bugsy’ Malone is selling his ‘Operation Herrick IX – Afghanistan’ Conspicuous Gallantry Cross that was awarded when he was section commander with 45 Commando Royal Marines. The C.G.C was awarded for his involvement on three separate occasions in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2008 and will be offered for sale by Noonans in a sale of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on July 26. It is estimated at £100,000-£140,000.
Born in Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, the former marine now lives near Loch Lomond. He joined the marines at the age of 16 and has been on tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. Malone was rewarded for his ‘fighting prowess and gallantry’. When he was invested with the C.G.C at Buckingham Palace on December 11, 2009, he chose that auspicious day to successfully propose to his girlfriend.
In 2010, he was interviewed for Esquire magazine, where he said: “You have to respect the Taliban to a degree because they can be ingenious and adaptable, but we’re 10 times better soldiers and fighters than they are. If they fight us, we will win. We proved it time and time again in our area of operations.”
Malone, as part of Zulu Company, operated out of the British-manned Forward Operating Base ‘Gibraltar’ in Helmand Province next to the Helmand River, near the town of Sangin, which was used to monitor and intercept enemy forces between Gereshk and Sangin. The base being described by the Taliban as the ‘mouth of hell’, or the ‘devil’s place.’ He distinguished himself on no less than three occasions while on patrols, including: leading a bayonet charge to repel an ambush; rescuing his pinned down troop sergeant from the ‘Killing Ground’ and lastly when on the receiving end of an IED-initiated ambush.
The final time was on December 31, 2008, when 10 Troop was moving north of FOB Gibraltar along a narrow but deep waterway. They knew the Taliban were in the area: their task was to seek them out, draw them out, and then take them out. Shortly after midday, the patrol was caught in an immense explosion. The leading section commander was killed instantly, while in front of him, the point marine was blown across a ditch into an open field, very seriously wounded. The third man was ‘Bugsy’ Malone who, still clutching his general-purpose machine gun, was hurled backwards off his feet. Shaken and bruised but otherwise OK, he collected his wits, shouted for two men to come forward to help and then grabbed a radio set to call for support. Malone organised the evacuation of casualties and called down artillery and air support whilst effecting the timely withdrawal of his section, all under the heaviest of fire from the enemy.
The news of the award of his CGC reached Malone in a most unusual fashion. As can be seen from the London Gazette entry, a certain Marine James Malone was also serving in 45 Commando at the same time as Bradley Malone. Due to a typographical error (that made it all the way to the London Gazette), James Malone was called into the CO’s office and informed of his award of the CGC – with champagne celebration and all. It shortly became clear, much to the bemusement of all concerned, that the wrong Malone was being decorated. By the time everything had been rectified there was no champagne left for ‘Bugsy’ to celebrate with.
As Mark Quayle, Medal Specialist (Associate Director) Noonans, commented: “The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross was instituted in 1993 following the review of the British Honours System and is awarded ‘in recognition of an act or acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy and his gallantry award ranks second only to the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the face of the enemy. To date 60 have been awarded.”