Alnwick soldier tells how colleague saved his life in Afghanistan

Corporal Richard Jobson was injured in Afghanistan in 2013 when a rebel opened fire in his Army base

Royal British Legion/PA Wire Corporal Richard Jobson
Corporal Richard Jobson

Soldier Corporal Richard Jobson thought he wouldn’t survive when he was shot six times at his army base.

The Royal Engineer, from Alnwick, Northumberland, was serving in Afghanistan in January 2013 when a member of the Afghan National Army (ANA) opened fire inside a patrol base.

The attack killed one of his colleagues, a good friend, and injured another five men.

Cpl Jobson, 33, remembered: “He shot seven of us, killing one, Sapper Richard Walker, a friend of mine. I was shot six times - in the arm, the chest and the abdomen.

“I can remember lying on the floor, I looked over at my mate, he was asking ‘Jobbo, what are you doing on the floor?’.

“I said ‘I think I’ve been hit’. He ran over, dragged me into cover - he basically saved my life.”

As his friends performed emergency medical treatment, the father-of-two said all he could think about was making it back to Camp Bastion.

“That’s all that was going through my head - ‘Make it back to Bastion’,” he said.

“Once I got there I remember them cutting my clothes off and lying there naked on the table, and all I can remember doing was trying to cover up my private parts.”

He next woke up in hospital in Birmingham, where he underwent a series of operations on his arm and his stomach, as well as having one kidney and 30% of his large intestine removed.

“I was in intensive care for five weeks, then went up on to a ward. I had lost loads of weight, I looked like a prisoner of war.”

He then spent 10 weeks being treated at rehabilitation centre Headley Court run by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) back in the UK.

Now, as he tries to get back to normality, Cpl Jobson is taking part in a course at he MoD’s Battle Back Centre.

The centre, part of the MoD’s wider Battle Back programme, is based at the National Sports Centre in Lilleshall, near Telford, and helps around 600 Army, Navy and RAF personnel every year.

Funded by Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion, it provides day courses or week-long residential multi-activity courses helping people through activities like climbing, watersports, wheelchair basketball and archery, as well as personal development coaching.

The centre’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Thomas, said the courses give servicemen and women the confidence to face up to the changes in their lives.

He said: “Many of them have had life-changing injuries, many are having to face up to leaving the service, so what we’re trying to do is give them the confidence to face up to what they need to do in terms of that recovery.”

Many servicemen and women hoping to take part in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games this September will have been through the Battle Back Centre as part of their recovery, he added.

For Cpl Jobson, the course has helped him achieve things he thought his injuries had made impossible.

“They’re good here at adapting things, so you know you can do it where you might have thought you couldn’t,” he said. “It makes you realise what you can still do, and what you can’t.”

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