19 Aug 2009

Afghan veteran widow first to get Elizabeth Cross

9:45 am on 19 August 2009

The widow of a British soldier killed in Afghanistan has become the first person to be presented with an emblem named after the Queen that honours families of fallen armed forces members.

Karen Upton received the Elizabeth Cross at the funeral of her 35-year-old husband Warrant Officer Sean Upton at a church service in Catterick, Yorkshire.

The silver emblem in the shape of a cross and a wreath, as well as a memorial scroll signed by the Queen, will be granted to about 8,000 families of armed forces members killed in operations, or as a result of terrorism, since 1948.

It is the first time the name of a reigning monarch has been given to a new award since the George Cross in 1940, introduced by King George VI for acts of bravery by civilians and the military.