Soldiers praised for trying to save colleague

A British soldier bled to death after being shot in an ambush by Taliban forces in Afghanistan, an inquest heard today.

A British soldier bled to death after being shot in an ambush by Taliban forces in Afghanistan, an inquest heard today.

Private Damien Jackson, 19, of A Company, 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, was among a party of soldiers securing a helicopter landing site when he was hit in the pelvis by a bullet on July 5 last year.

He died a short time later despite his colleagues’ best efforts to save him, the coroner’s court at Oxford’s Old Assizes was told.

Pte Jackson, of Callerton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was in a group of 150 soldiers deployed to Sangin, Helmand Province, to protect the local government base in the town.

Major William Pike said in evidence that Sangin was ``dominated by a nexus of Taliban and narcotics traders", numbering up to 1,000.

The government compound where the Paras were based was coming under fire regularly, he said.

Pte Jackson was fatally wounded as he and colleagues prepared for a helicopter to deliver supplies.

Taliban forces were expecting the flight too and ambushed the Paras as they secured the landing site - a drill the men had been carrying out since their arrival in Sangin the previous month, the inquest heard.

Sergeant Quintin Poll said there was confusion when the fire came in because no-one knew where it was coming from.

He and Private Adam Randle, on realising Pte Jackson was injured, dragged him into a ditch to administer first aid before rejoining the fight.

``He was fading away," said Pte Randle, who later learned of Pte Jackson’s death.

Of the ambush, he said: ``It went a bit hectic. We did not know where it was coming from."

Andrew Walker, assistant deputy coroner for Oxfordshire, commended Sgt Poll, Pte Randle and Corporal Stuart Giles, the company medic, for their bravery in trying to save their colleague while under fire.

Giving the cause of death as gun shot wounds to the pelvis, the coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

``This was a terrorist attack and nothing short of murder," he said.

``That soldiers like Pte Damien Jackson are prepared, with bravery and consummate professionalism, to face this type of threat with unthinking courage and bravery is a credit to them and the British Armed Forces. We can have nothing but admiration for them."

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