10th February

I can’t believe what has happened……… I’m not in Qudrat anymore and I’m laying on a bed in Bastion crying my eyes out right now, as I’ve had to leave the lads at Qudrat and I hate not being able to sit with them and talk about what’s happened. I feel like I’ve jacked massively.

So what happened, the Tiger Team flew in on the 8th which we thought great, more boots plus we had the patrols lads with us so we went out yesterday looking for a scrap, and we defiantly found one. So I was tasked from the boss that the RPG man in the Tiger Team was a new bloke and that I should show him how to use HE rounds, i.e. hitting trees to create more fragged etc etc, so what I did was to have this bloke attached with me as I was the UGL gunner, and we went out on patrol into W6H, and I remember all the time, it was stop start stop start, going into such a dense area with a big call sign, we were staying static for too long and not taking ground quick.

So as a tom I didn’t say anything as I was just a buckshee tom, not in command not done anything apart from this. So as we got to W6H we started getting the i-com hits straight away, ‘we can see them, we going to attack’, and now we knew the sharpshooter was still out there after 7th, and we didn’t even push out far at all, the mot would have been 1.5k, I mean we’ve been further before with a lot less men.

So Con was point man, Lewis his cover man, and that day I was on big blue, and we got to a bit of a choke point which was like a waist high wall but needed to be got over. So we started getting over, covering the bloke as he did checking the arc’s just like on an assault course back home. I remember when it came to my turn to get over, the first shot came in and ‘BANG’, hit the wall and I fell back on Franek, and I think at first everyone thought that one of us got shot but we were both okay, people shouting ‘are you both alright’, ‘yeah yeah’, and besides being a bit shaken up because that was the closest and I mean mm away we were both okay, so we were like where the fuck did that come from, and I was struggling to get back up as I had big blue on, and not fucking 10 seconds later the second shot came in and heard the second shot, ‘BANG’, and at first didn’t register what had happened but I saw Lewis fall back onto the 1 Para bloke and just thought he just lost his footing or whatever.

But as I started to come out not 10-15-20 seconds later, it was like fuck we had man down. Like fuck man down…man down, then all hell just broke lose, I was like 20 meters away from it, and I had F’s on the other side of the wall open up with the GPMG, and he just started hammering everything he could see, I mean if it blew in the wind he shot it, and that just set the tone for that, I was banging UGL’s down range and every single murder hole I could see, every alleyway, I would watch Flanner’s fall of shot and if I could reach I then I would bang one down there to.

So at this time the medic T, was sorting out the casualty on the ground, and as time went on, the fire fight was evolving, word came down to us that both Conrad and Lewis had been shot, and I was like fuck…… it was one pissing shot how the fuck are they both down? We heard that they were going to crash the Jackal out from Qudrat as the lads had to get back quick the MERT was in bound and we had to get these lads , the fuck out of dodge now.

The boss was quality, he was on the radio to every one feeding up the information to everyone coordinating everything, and at first there was confusion over who got shot you know, because Conrad Lewis, Lewis Hendry things were lost in communication so at first they thought we had one when in fact we had two. The Jackal came steaming out to us, I mean it was rapid, I think J was driving it, and the lads were loaded onto the Jackal, and they both looked in clip, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, I just couldn’t recognize who they both were, there was so much blood, and just shit everywhere, and I never thought I would see any of the lads like this. That will haunt me forever the way I saw them yesterday.

So they were loaded on, and all this time we were still in the fire fight, rounds coming in rounds going back, we were smashing every fucking thing. Then the Jackal started speeding back to Qudrat, and we were like we’ve got to get back now we all have to get the fuck back to Qudrat not prepare to move. So 50/50 getting ready, rounds still coming in and going back, I’m in the firefight and put a UGL down, and I see F’s shooting a target, so I turned my head to see his fall of shot, and all I see out the corner of my eye was the rear of the RPG come like an inch away from my face, and I just remember thinking oh shit.

Then the next thing I knew, I’m on the deck wake up a couple of seconds later, dazed and all that, thinking fuck me, my ears were ringing, had blood in my mouth and nose and couldn’t hear a thing, and I don’t know if anyone had seen what had happened because they were concentrating on the lads on the Jackal, and to right they were the main concern to get them sorted, then D came running over to me and pulled me up and I basically had a blast to the face, and I didn’t want to become like the third casualty of the day, so yeah I was just cracking on trying to keep in the fire fight, then D came running up to me and started shouting, ‘WE’RE RUNNING BACK TO QUDRAT NOW, WE’RE RUNNING BACK’, and I could see hips lips moving but couldn’t hear a fucking thing. ‘STAY IN THE TRACKS OF THE JACKAL, STAY IN THOSE FUCKING TRACKS’, I was like ‘YEAH ALRIGHT MATE’, all dazed.

So everyone popped smoke and we started doubling back fast, obviously the Jackal got back sharpish, and I remember running across the 50-60m of open ground in front the CP to get back and looking up and seeing the super sanger, firing the GPMG, like waving me in, and when I looked back I realized, I was running across open ground on my own, lads were screaming at me to stop but I was just in clip, couldn’t hear a thing and was just running hell for leather for the gate and didn’t realize I just crossed the ground getting shot at with no cover. But I got in the gate and just collapsed as soon as I got in.

The MERT came in a few minutes later and Con and Lewis were loaded on the back, and that was the last we see of them. From what we were told they both still had an output when they were on the MERT so that means that Tim did an amazing job on the ground getting both of them stable and Jay in the Jackal getting them back so quick. But unfortunately………… we got the news that both lads were KIA.

I just couldn’t believe it when I heard it, I mean not two weeks ago we were all sat watching X-Factor having laughs, this morning we were all eating scoff before the patrol, and now they’re gone. I just don’t understand how it happened, I mean we have all had some close calls but I never thought this would happen to any of us.

I’m just so sorry.