This good news story revealed how George Cross Hero Matt Croucher had a previously unknown girlfried called Victoria Cross.

After being tipped-off about the story we contacted Matt- who has been working with our publicist Jonathan Hartley- who was happy to reveal his secret girlfriend.

The story was sold to the Daily Mail newspaper and Matt and the 'source' are both delighted with the article.

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George Cross for hero who's already got a Victoria Cross (That's his girlfriend's name!)


He claims to be the first person ever to hold both the George Cross and Victoria Cross.

One, Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher wears around his neck. The other he keeps close to his heart.

But as the Royal Marine was presented with the George Cross at Buckingham Palace on Thursday for his valour in Afghanistan, his girlfriend, Victoria Cross, was sadly absent.

Couple: Matt Croucher, who was presented with the George Cross for his bravery in Afghanistan, with his other Cross, girlfriend Victoria

Couple: Matt Croucher, who was presented with the George Cross for his bravery in Afghanistan, with his other Cross, girlfriend Victoria

The 24-year-old from Birmingham, who threw himself on an exploding grenade to save his comrades, said he was 'honoured' to receive the highest civil decoration from the Queen.

However, the marine from 40 Commando was a little disappointed not to have his girlfriend on his arm.

Unfortunately, Miss Cross, pictured here with her arms around the hero at a Spring ball to raise money for members of the armed services injured in recent conflicts, was not able to attend.

The 21-year-old student from Northamptonshire is currently in Australia as part of a marketing management course at Oxford Brookes University.

Hero: Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher received the George Cross today for throwing himself on a grenade to save his comrades

The couple, said to be smitten after meeting in a bar last December, have been the subject of much amusement amongst his unit.

A friend of the couple said: 'Victoria is really proud of Matt and very disappointed that she couldn't be there to see him receive his George Cross medal.

'As a student she couldn't justify the expense of flying home from Australia to go the ceremony.

'Everyone thinks it's really funny that Matt's been awarded the George Cross and goes out with a Victoria Cross.

'Victoria and her family are great supporters of the armed forces and they all think Matt is great.'

Lance Cpl Croucher was initially recommended for the Victoria Cross after his heroics on February 8 this year.

During a night raid on a Taliban compound, he stepped on a tripwire triggering a grenade. Instead of fleeing he deliberately smothered the explosion, twisting on to his back to let his rucksack take the full force and thereby prevent all four members of his patrol being killed by the blast.

The explosion hurled him across the compound leaving him stunned, bleeding from the nose and almost deaf, while kit from his shredded backpack was sent flying through the air in flames.

But within minutes the soldier was on his feet again and demanding to be allowed to continue the patrol.

He even helped set an ambush - knowing that the Taliban would come and investigate the blast - and shot dead an armed insurgent during the subsequent firefight.

Stunned by his bravery, his comrades urged commanders to put him forward for Britain's highest honour for valour on the battlefield.

But it was decided to award him the George Cross as the Victoria Cross is only awarded for outstanding bravery 'in the face of the enemy'.

The VC is often regarded as more prestigious, although the GC recognises the same level of gallantry in cases where no enemy is present.

Afterwards his friends joked with the lance corporal: 'It's just as well that you got a George Cross, because you've already got a Victoria Cross.'

Today as the marine was presented with the medal during an investiture ceremony, he resisted the urge to joke with the Queen.

He said: 'It was an incredibly proud day. I feel very humbled by the occasion.

'The Queen asked me what it was like in Afghanistan and I told her it was pretty hair-raising and quite dangerous.

'She also asked if I still had any injuries from the explosion and when I told her that my hearing was still not very good and she wished me a speedy recovery.

'The Queen asked what I was up to at the moment and I explained that I was part of a risk management company but hoped to go back to Afghanistan in 18 months to two years.'

'I don't really think about what I did. I don't tend to dwell on it. There is a lot of other people in Afghanistan who have done similarly courageous acts who haven't been recognised.

'When you are in the heat of a gun battle there are always people doing heroic things and they don't always get picked out for it. They are just doing their job.'

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