Brave British soldier immortalised in painting depicting the moment he was gunned down in a hail of bullets

Bursting out of a cornfield with his rifle blazing the paratrooper charges towards an enemy position. The insurgents fall in the hail of gunfire but one manages to raise a rifle towards the lone soldier hinting that it is about to unleash a fatal burst of gunfire.

Celebrating the heroism of the soldier in unabashed style, the painting shows the courage of Corporal Bryan Budd as he stormed a Taliban position in Afghanistan.

Cpl Budd was hit by a stray bullet during hand-to-hand fighting with the insurgents in Helmand province three years ago after he had killed three of the enemy.

A member of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, 29-year-old Cpl Budd was awarded the first posthumous Victoria Cross since the Falklands War.

painting of Corporal Bryan Budd who was killed fighting in Afghanistan

Honour: A painting of Corporal Bryan Budd, 29, was commissioned by The 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment after he was killed in Afghanistan storming a Taliban position in 2006

His widow Lorena collected the medal from Buckingham Palace two years ago with the couple's two children, the youngest born after Cpl Budd was killed in action.

To honour his bravery officers at the regiment's HQ, in Colchester, commissioned the oil painting.

It was painted by military artist Stuart Brown, who interviewed fellow soldiers who had been on Cpl Brown's last mission near Sangin.

During the battle with the Taliban, he led his section of men around a cornfield to cut them off but they were spotted and came under heavy fire.

Two of his men were injured, and realising their position was perilous and they were likely to be captured or killed, Cpl Budd ran through the corn firing his rifle.

Corporal Bryan Budd awarded Victoria Cross for rushing Taliban position
Corporal Bryan Budd

Brave: Cpl Budd, who was attempting to protect men in his section, was awarded the first posthumous Victoria Cross since the Falklands War. The soldier, who had two children, was killed when a stray bullet hit him during hand-to-hand fighting

The oil painting depicts him bursting out of the cornfield and killing three armed insurgents.

But seconds later he was to be hit and killed himself.

Mr Brown, from Southampton, said: 'Cpl Budd was obviously an exceptional soldier and I wanted to depict him in that light.

'I knew what the scene was and it was up to me to capture the spirit and courage of the man moments before he died.'

The type of heroics shown by Cpl Budd are thought to be some of the reasons behind a surge in new recruits to the British armed forces.

Young people inspired by patriotism and the threat of joblessness have lead to a 25 per cent jump in Army applications this year, with more signing up now than at any time since 2005.

Colonel Jonathan Calder-Smith, who helps run the army unit responsible for recruitment, told the Guardian many young recruits have been inspired to join the armed forces, despite casualties continuing to rise in Afghanistan: 'We are seeing gatekeepers – teachers and parents, mothers particularly – who are less keen to see their sons and daughters joining the army and that is understandable'.

'(But) there are more people who come in and say something along the lines of 'I want to do my bit' – people who have seen what is happening and want to step up to the plate', he said.