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The widow of Hampshire bomb disposal expert Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid has paid tribute to her husband as she received his George Cross.
Christina Schmid, from Winchester, was presented with the military honour at a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, and dedicated the decoration to the ''sacrifice'' made by British forces fighting in Afghanistan.
Her husband, 30, known as Oz, was killed by an improvised explosive device on the last day of a five-and-a-half-month deployment to Afghanistan last October. Following the presentation, a spokesman for Mrs Schmid released a statement on her behalf, in which she said: ''The George Cross serves as a reminder of the endurance and sacrifice of all our servicemen and women out there on the ground now. In heralding and awarding Oz, one soldier, I hope it serves to raise the status of each and every one of them.''
She described the day as one of ''mixed emotions'' as her husband would have celebrated his birthday next week and seeing him collect the honour would have been a cause for celebration.
Mrs Schmid, who was joined by her son Laird and parents, said in the statement: ''I humbly stand before you today to receive the George Cross on behalf of my husband, Oz. Today is a day of truly mixed emotions for myself and Laird. Oz's birthday is June 11 and to have seen him receive this award in person would have been a wonderful experience and truly a cause for celebration. The image of him pointing to it on his chest and grinning cheekily would have brought tears of pride. This award recognises the commitments made by Oz during his life. However, I am certain that if Oz were here today, he would insist it represented far more. He'd argue it's not solely his achievement. It is a reflection of key people who helped him in his career and during his tour.''