A HERO soldier who saved an injured policeman from a crashed helicopter has been killed in a motorcycle accident.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Wayne Cuckson, 44, died after his bike was in collision with a car in Fox Lane, Wootton, last week.

The soldier, who lived in Willow Tree Close, Shippon, was a member of 12 Logistic Support Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, based at Dalton Barracks, near Abingdon.

WO2 Cuckson was presented with the Queen’s Gallantry Medal at Buckingham Palace after he freed the policeman from the burning wreckage of the helicopter shot down by the IRA in Northern Ireland in 1994.

He leaves his wife, Wendy, and a daughter, Aimee.

In a statement, his family said: “He was an extremely courageous young man who served his country all over the world with everything he had — the Army was his life.”

WO2 Cuckson, who was nicknamed Cookie by comrades, came from Retford in Nottinghamshire.

A military funeral will take place at St Swithun’s Church, Retford on Thursday, April 21.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Chris Fletcher said: “He had served his country for 22 years.

“The thoughts of his colleagues within Abingdon Garrison are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Abingdon’s mayor Duncan Brown said: “It is a tragic loss of an incredibly brave man. We have a very close relationship with the barracks and our thoughts are with all the people that knew him.”

Jim Lewendon, vice-president of the Royal British Legion in Oxfordshire, said the Queen’s Gallantry Medal was a rare honour.

He said: “It is one of the higher awards and never given lightly. He is a hero. To receive an award like that he has to be an exceptionally brave, and to lose his life like this is an absolute tragedy.

“It is a tragic loss for his family and for the service.”

WO2 Cuckson was riding a blue and white Suzuki motorcycle when it was involved in a collision with a black Fiat Punto at 4.50pm last Wednesday.

He was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, where he died of his injuries.

The road was closed for more than three hours as police investigated the accident.

If you have information about the accident call the police on 08458 505505 or the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555111.