An RAF hero is to receive a top honour from the Queen for saving a woman’s life in Westminster.
Senior Aircraftman Shane Mitchley will receive the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his act of courage, as well as a prestigious award from the Royal Humane Society, after he dived into the Thames to rescue a drowning woman.
He was part of a team from the RAF’s 54(R) Squadron visiting London in June last year to learn about the RAF’s history when the team heard cries for help from a woman stricken in the Thames near Westminster Bridge.
Ignoring all risk to his own safety, SAC Mitchley dived in to the choppy waters, and swam against a strong current to reach the woman while she struggled to keep her head above the water.
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At one point he had to dive beneath the water to secure the woman to a life buoy so that other RAF colleagues could haul her to safety.
SAC Mitchely, who is based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, said: “I’m very honoured and very proud. I’m no hero; it was a spur of the moment decision, but not one I regret in the slightest.
"If I came across a similar situation I’d do the same again without hesitation.”
As well as the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery, SAC Mitchley is to receive the Royal Humane Society’s prestigious Testimonial on Vellum, signed by HRH Princess Alexandria, for his actions.
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RAF Waddington’s Station Commander, Group Captain Al Marshall, said: “SAC Mitchley is an outstanding airman and a credit to the Service. His response in entering the Thames to save a member of the public was an act of outstanding courage in the face of very dangerous river conditions.
"His actions were exemplary and selfless. He is truly deserving of his commendation from Her Majesty the Queen.”