Brave Royal Marines return from injury to the frontline
Two Royal Marines from 45 Commando Royal Marines who were badly injured in Afghanistan are back on duty in Helmand, thanks to the excellent medical treatment they have received both on operations and back in the UK.
Marine Mark Hendry from X-Ray Company was badly wounded when his patrol was ambushed in Sangin during Operation HERRICK 9. The 20 year old says he’ll never forget it:
“I was point man on a routine patrol and as we were moving along, we knew that something was not right as all the locals started leaving the area. We immediately started pulling out but it was too late. The insurgents opened fire and I was hit in the leg.”
The bullet went into his thigh and exited through his lower leg. Immediately, the medical drills his colleagues had trained for time and time again were put into action. They administered first aid and called in a Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) to transport Mne Hendry to Camp Bastion.
“I just remember that it all happened so fast. The medical care was brilliant and after a few days I was back in the UK, being treated in hospital in Birmingham.”
Mark underwent two operations in Birmingham to repair the damage the bullet had caused to the muscles and bones in his leg. After two courses of physiotherapy at Headley Court, Mne Hendry returned to 45 Commando and joined Harden Troop, the Unit’s rehabilitation troop where injured Marines are given support to rebuild their strength and fitness.
Mne Hendry says he can’t believe the change from the last time he was in Helmand:
“Things are completely different now, we all feel much safer and the atmosphere is nothing like it was that day I was hit two and half years ago. You can see the progress happening here every day. Since I arrived in Saidabad I have seen the local bazaar re-open and turn into a popular and thriving marketplace. The local people are on-side and really friendly; this makes the job much more rewarding.”
Mne Hendry isn’t the only Marine in 45 Commando showing such determination and commitment to get back to the front line.
Just weeks after deploying to Helmand earlier this year, Mne David Coleman was out on patrol with Yankee Company 45 Commando when they came under attack from insurgents. The Marines had been walking through a village when suddenly; out of nowhere, a grenade landed just 3 metres away, blowing 19 year old David off his feet.
“I remember hearing a noise that sounded like a ‘ping’ and the next thing I knew I was lying on the floor. The lads were great – they immediately made sure it was safe and there weren’t any more grenades and then they started first aid on me.”
Just minutes after the explosion, Mne Coleman was on board a MERT helicopter. He was airlifted to the hospital at Camp Bastion, where he was immediately prepped for surgery.
David, from Altrincham in Cheshire, had five operations to remove shrapnel from his neck, thighs, shins and arms. Despite his injuries, Mne Coleman was determined to recover and get back to work with the lads of Yankee Company.
After spending a few days on the ward allowing his wounds to heal, David began an intensive physio programme to get him back to fitness. His determination and the support of the medical team meant that only a few weeks later, he was able to pass the necessary tests to return to duty.
“It was great to get back to the lads although I had to return with a few crates of soft drinks from the NAAFI in Bastion to make up for my absence and of course to say thank you. The medical care I received from the medics at the Role 3 hospital was first class and all the support I got from the Unit and my family made me all the more determined to get back to the lads. They all seemed quite pleased to see me but this was probably partly because it meant I could help them out with their duties.”