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Barnsley Army Captain's Family Praise Rescue Attempt

Monday October 10 2011

Captain Martin Driver Captain Martin Driver

THE FAMILY of a local army captain who died in Helmand have praised his colleagues who braved enemy fire to try to say him.

An inquest into Captain Martin Driver's death - which was held in Birmingham Coroner's Court on Friday - heard that his comrades came under enemy fire as they attempted to treat him when he wounded by a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

Captain Driver, 31, died of his wounds in hospital three weeks after suffering severe injuries while on patrol in Helmand.

The officer was flown back to Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital in February last year after undergoing initial surgery in Afghanistan but died of multiple organ failure on March 15, 2010.

Giving evidence on the first day of the inquest, men under Captain Driver's command described how they came under attack from rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire around a minute after the explosion.

Captain Tim Hearne told the Birmingham Coroner that the early morning patrol was forced to return insurgents' fire as a Chinook helicopter arrived to evacuate Captain Driver to Camp Bastion.

The platoon commander said a number of improvised explosive devices had been found before the fatal blast which happened close to a compound at about 7.45am on February 21.

The officer added: "As soon as that blast went off we saw insurgents coming out of a mosque. The insurgents then opened fire on the Chinook and at that point we returned a lot of fire and protected the helicopter."

Another soldier also suffered shrapnel wounds in the explosion which occurred on a track which showed no signs of disturbed ground.

Bombardier Gary Sides, who witnessed the blast, told the coroner: "I was looking directly at Captain Driver and almost immediately after he had turned round in my direction I heard an explosion and saw a large cloud of dust. About one minute after the explosion our location was contacted by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. The next thing I remember is looking towards Captain Driver and seeing (a combat medic and two other soldiers) treating him."

Pathologist Russell Delaney confirmed that Captain Driver, a member of 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, died of organ failure caused by blast injuries which could have resulted in death in the field.

Captain Driver's family attended the inquest and praised the rescue effort.

** This article and photograph has been reproduced with the kind permission of the British Forces News Organisation **

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Reply Posted by jayne on Tuesday October 11 2011 at 18:05
Every soldier out there is a hero keep safe god bless you all xx