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Iraq war hero Johnson Beharry has received the Victoria Cross from the Queen at Buckingham Palace who told him he was "very special."

He is the first recipient of Britain's highest award for valour since the 1982 Falklands War.

Private Beharry said: "She said that she doesn't get to present the VC very often."

Twice, the young soldier cheated death to save his colleagues and was left in a coma with serious head wounds.

"When I hear what I did, I can't really believe it was me," he said at the Buckingham Palace investiture.

"But what I did was my choice - I knew I had to get everyone out because I wouldn't have been able to live with myself otherwise."

Private Beharry, 25, was seriously wounded twice saving colleagues caught in enemy fire.

Pte Beharry was struck by a bullet as he guided a Warrior armoured convoy through the flashpoint town of Al Amarah last May.

A month later, he saved more lives in a second ferocious exchange.

But he then suffered serious head wounds in a rocket-propelled grenade attack that left him in a coma.

Still recovering from his injuries, he said recently: "Maybe I was brave, I don't know. I think anyone else could do the same thing.

"At the time I was just doing the job, I didn't have time for other thoughts."

Serving with the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, Pte Beharry joins only 13 other living holders of the prestigious medal.

Born on the Caribbean island of Grenada, he came to the UK in August 1999.

He enlisted in 2001 and has served in Kosovo and Northern Ireland as well as Iraq.

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I've also head today that Pte Beharry is among a select group of VC recipients in that, he is the first living soldier to be given the award for 40 years.

An act of honour by an honourable man it would seem.

The same cannot be said for al of the civilians involved i fear.