Nicki Lund was with her one-year-old son Jacob Desborough at a McDonald's restaurant in Hartlepool when her little boy suddenly started to choke on a piece of food on Saturday afternoon.
As Nicki, 25, started to panic at the sight of her son turning blue, wheelchair-bound Glenn 'Geordie' Kidman, reacted quickly.
The 42-year-old, who is a trained combat medical technician and had been visiting the fast food restaurant with his family, shouted 'pass him to me' before lying Jacob over his knee and banging him firmly on the back to dislodge the trapped piece of food.
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A grateful Nicki, form Hartlepool, said: "He saved Jacob’s life there is no doubt about that. He was blue and he couldn’t breathe. I can’t thank him enough. If it wasn’t for Geordie, Jacob wouldn’t be here now.
"He just knew exactly what to do and took over because I had frozen with shock.”
"Jacob was just eating a chicken nugget, which I’d cut up, but it just went down the wrong way. It was the worst experience, I’ve never felt anything like it."
Dad-of-three Glenn, of Horden, has served in the forces for 21 years, having been on duty across the world including Bosnia, Macedonia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Kenya, Canada, and the Falklands.
He is wheelchair bound after having had his leg amputated recently and is due to end his stint with the armed forces next year.
The modest lifesaver said: "I just saw a commotion at another table but because everybody was in shock nobody seemed to be doing anything.
"So I just pushed my way in and said them to pass him to me. Because I’m an army medic, it’s one of the things I was trained to do.
"I’ve had to do it before a couple of times on adults and children before so I know what to do when something like this happens.
"Since it happened, people keep saying that what I did was heroic, but it wasn’t anything. I think anyone would have done the same in the circumstances."