A young Royal Marine from Birmingham who threw himself on an exploding grenade to save his comrades said that he was "very proud" to donate his George Cross to a museum on the 70th anniversary of the medal.
Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher, who was serving with 40 Commando, took the split second decision to shield his fellow servicemen from the explosion after he unwittingly triggered a trip wire during a night-time reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan.
He was awarded the medal - the highest honour for bravery without the enemy present - by the Queen in October 2008 and has loaned the medal to a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. September 24, is the 70th anniversary of the gallantry award.
L/Cpl Croucher, from Birmingham, said: "It is a great honour to be awarded a George Cross. One is only given out every four or five years so it is a very prestigious award to be given.
"I do not think it does it justice to be sitting at home in a top drawer of a cupboard and I'm very proud to loan it to the museum. It also brings the museum up to date with modern war history. It is really exciting to hand it over on the anniversary of the medal."
L/Cpl Croucher triggered the booby-trap device in Sangin, Helmand Province, in February 2008. He said: "I tripped the wire and there were three guys behind me and it was my duty to shield them."
Miraculously, he escaped with only minor injuries and his fellow servicemen emerged almost unscathed, save for a minor shrapnel wound.
The 26-year-old has also donated the kit he was wearing on the day, his helmet which has bits of shrapnel lodged into it, his extensively damaged daysack which took the brunt of the force and other items he was wearing including his boots.
L/Cpl Croucher now works as a director of a security and risk management company in Birmingham but is still a Royal Marine reserve and could be going back to Afghanistan within the next 12 months.
The George Cross was instituted by Royal Warrant on September 24, 1940, to recognise the brave actions of civilians as they came under intense air attack that during the Second World War.
The prestigious award is given to both civilians and military personnel for gallant actions carried out away from enemy fire. To date, 158 George Cross medals have been handed out.
Imperial War Museum director general Diane Lees said: "We're delighted to accept the loan of Matt Croucher's precious George Cross and miraculous kit.
"The aim of the Lord Ashcroft Gallery is to intrigue, inspire and amaze and Matt's story does just this. We hope it captures the public's interest and they'll visit the gallery to learn more about the extraordinary things some people can do."