Sunday, 15 February 2009

The day my tour came to an end

The "War and Medicine" exhibition at the Welcome Collection ends today.

One aspect of the exhibition was: Remembering War - Your Memories
Here's one of them.

The date is 07/07/08 and I leave foward operating base Gibraltar for a routine patrol. I am serving with the parachute regiment and proud of it. As soon as we leave the front gate it begins again, another day another ambush the taliban 200m away on the other side of the canal. Time slows, no emotion, no surprise just a sinking feeling of "here we go again". I have already lost 3 friends in similar contacts around the base. "not me, not today". The weight of fire going in both directions is massive. I've learnt to hate the sound of incoming fire, the crackle and the thump. The first 2 elements have crossed the bridge and are in cover on the opposite bank, "rapid fire" is called, now its my turn to move, no hesitation just doing my job, doing it for my muckers not for anyone else. I'm running towards the engineers bridge, i'm getting there, then the explosion, BANG, 5 meters to my left in the tree. I keep running. I'm in the open I stop I die!! Get accross the bridge. I'm lead man, why can't I run properly. I spot cover and go firm. I tell my platoon sgt I need a minute to sort myself out before we move as my leg is hurting. Then I hear "MEDIC"!! "who's that for"?? I look down....... shit its me. Everything slows but the memory remains vivid. I'm bleeding from my right thigh, its pretty bad. The medic is with me already, I look back at the base, I've only managed to get 30 meters from the front gate. the bleeding is stopped, I'm on a stetcher and on my way back to the base. I keep hold of my weapon, I can't lose my weapon. One thought keeps playing over in my mind...... the guilt that I'm leaving my friends behind in the "the mouth of hell".

Welcome Collection: War and Medicine