Scots SAS expert warns war toll will rise by 400

By Michael MacLeod

ANOTHER 400 British troops will be killed in Afghanistan according to a former SAS deputy commander.

Clive Fairweather warns that by the time UK forces pull out of the country in 2014, they could have lost many more due to rising numbers of seriously wounded soldiers.

The defence analyst spoke out after Greenock solider Lance Corporal Stephen Monkhouse, 28, died along with Corporal Matthew Stenton, 23, while trying to rescue a wounded comrade.

The pair were serving in the country’s Helmand province, where UK troops will stop fighting by 2014 according to the latest statement by defence secretary Liam Fox.

By then, Mr Fairweather fears Taliban fighters will have claimed hundreds more lives.
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Adventure seekers sign up for army

By Cara Sulieman

FED UP ex-office workers seeking an adventure break from their day jobs were among 1,000 new army recruits unveiled at Dreghorn Barracks yesterday (Weds).

As the force celebrated a 30 per-cent enrolment boost, many of the new troops said they joined to escape the monotony of normal jobs.

Head of the recruitment drive Brigadier David Allfrey said the new soldiers had “a desire for an edgy life, to crave something exciting.”

Among them was Glasgow’s Anthony Murray, who was inspired to enlist after watching Ross Kemp in Afghanistan and seeing coffins coming back from war.

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Mother of Scots hero Tam Mason pays tribute to her son

Corporal Tam Mason

Corporal Tam Mason

By Cara Sulieman

THE mother of hero Scots soldier Tam Mason who died six weeks after being injured in Afghanistan has paid tribute to her son, saying he told her: “Don’t worry about me – I’ve got God on my side”.

Linda Buchanan described how her “wonderful son” used to tell her it would be an “honour” to die doing the job he loved.

The 27-year-old died six weeks after being injured in a blast in Kandahar despite attempts by specialist medics to save him.

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Former Army chief Sir Richard Dannatt accused of being Tory stooge as Labour Peer goes on the attack

By Shaun Milne

THE FORMER head of the British Army has been branded a “Tory stooge” after it emerged he stands to become a junior minister should David Cameron’s party be swept to victory at the next General Election.

Labour reacted furiously to news that General Sir Richard Dannatt may be handed a Peerage to allow him to enter a Conservative administration as adviser on defence if they can seize Downing Street.

UNDER FIRE: General Sir Richard Dannatt

UNDER FIRE: General Sir Richard Dannatt

Mr Cameron, who is expected to unveil the appointment in Manchester tomorrow (thur), fuelled the speculation when he said: “He is a man of great talent and ability.

“He has been a great public servant and I think he has more to do.”

Such a move would be lauded by the Tory Party faithful – but fiercely rounded upon by angry Labour figures.

General Dannatt has recently pounded the current Government with claims soldiers on the front line are being forced to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan with “at least part of one arm” tied behind their backs.

Stretched

He said Prime Minister Gordon Brown has left troops exposed by refusing to allow 2000 extra soldiers into theatre on grounds of cost.

It follows a previous volley from the General in January where he said a lack of equipment had “seriously stretched our soldiers”. Continue reading

Ditch the Viking and take to the skies to save lives, says ex-tank commander

StuartCrawford05 (Large)By Michael MacLeod

A FORMER tank commander is calling on the MoD to scrap all road travel in Afghanistan by British troops saying they should travel only by air – even if it means commandeering civilian helicopters to make up a shortfall in military choppers.

Military expert Stuart Crawford, a retired lieutenant-colonel in the 4th Royal Tank Regiment who served in the 1991 Gulf war, spoke out after the deaths of two soldiers in vulnerable Viking vehicles.

Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe and Trooper Joshua Hammond were killed at the weekend when their Viking struck a Taliban roadside bomb, bringing the vehicle’s death toll to 20.

The Viking vehicles are due to be replaced next year by more than 100 larger and more heavily armoured tracked vehicles, known as Warthogs.
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Hero soldier gets Mention in Despatches

Mentioned In Dispatches

A HEROIC soldier has been commended for his bravery and courage while serving in Afghanistan.

Corporal Dean McMenamin, 22, was serving in the Royal Highland Fusiliers 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland when they were ambushed by Taliban soldiers.

But despite being showered with bullets and mortar from the enemy – some just 10 metres from him – the brave soldier leapt from the armourer vehicle to launch a missile and allowing the team to withdraw safely.

And yesterday his efforts were honoured by Major General Euan Loudon, the Battalion’s Representative Colonel.

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Scottish postie scoops national bravery award

Iain MacDonald with Christine Bleakley

Iain MacDonald with Christine Bleakley

By Alexander Lawrie

A HEROIC Scots postman who was severely injured fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan has won an award for outstanding bravery.

Iain Macdonald, 38, was on tour with his TA unit in the Helmand province last year when he was hit by flying shrapnel during a rocket-propelled grenade attack.

The injured Sergeant brushed off his injury by refusing to fly home and was back in the front line helping his mates within 10 days of the attack – complete with the shrapnel still embedded in his chest.

On his return from the war-zone the postie was then nominated for the Royal Mail’s 1st Class People Awards.

“To have won is fantastic”

And the delivery man has now won the national accolade for bravery at a ceremony in London yesterday – collecting his £1000 prize money from Christine Bleakley and Royal Mail Managing Director Mark Higson.

Thilled Iain said: “I was happy just to have been nominated, but to have won is fantastic.”

Iain, from Burntisland, Fife, was posted out to the troubled war zone with fellow members of the 15th Company – 4th Paratroopers in May last year.

And, while on duty on the Helman front line as a Guard Commander, ‘Sgt Mac’ and five regular soldiers were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades.

The married dad-of-two was struck in the chest by a large piece of flying shrapnel and was rushed back to the unit’s base for treatment.

Leave the shrapnel inside

He was transferred by helicopter to a nearby medical centre where army surgeons decided to leave the shrapnel embedded in the soldier’s chest because it was too close to Iain’s major organs.

After 10-days recuperating from the attack Iain demanded to be flown back to the front line to complete his tour of duty.

The proud, but modest, soldier has admitted he is delighted to have won the bravery gong, but says he was only doing his job.

He said: “I really enjoy the work I do with the TA and just did what any of my colleagues would have done under the same circumstances.

“When I first joined the Territorial Army in 1996 I didn’t really expect to be sent to a war zone. But with all the first class training I’ve received it didn’t faze me when I got the call.

Iain McDonald

“I remember the incident when I was injured very clearly. I was on guard duty and was speaking to a few other soldiers when we came under fire.

“I knew instantly I had been struck, but I was more worried about my colleagues who were more seriously injured than me.

“At the time I didn’t realise it was shrapnel, I thought I’d actually been shot.

“It was incredibly painful, but the adrenalin pulled me through.

 

The brave squaddie added: “I had no hesitation in heading back out there.
Afterall, all my mates were still there and they needed all the help they could get.”

Service and commitment

Iain’s Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Frazer Smith, paid tribute to brave Iain’s service and commitment.

He said: “Daily ambushes and intense firefights at close quarters with Taleban insurgents were the daily rhythm of life for Sergeant MacDonald and his fellow paratroopers, and it pushed every man to his limit.

“Iain is approachable, pragmatic, reliable and determined. Sgt Mac gets on with the job.

“I think he displayed that whilst fighting in Afghanistan. Just over a week after being injured, he was back with his comrades.”

“Worthy winner”

Ian McKay, the Royal Mail’s Director of Scottish Affairs, said: “Iain is a worthy winner of this award.

“His selflessness and bravery demonstrate exactly why our postmen and women are such highly valuable members of their communities.”

Christine Bleakley said: “In the UK our postmen and women are a group of very remarkable people who contribute so much, with acts of kindness, a huge amount of fundraising, and a commitment to volunteering which makes such a difference to the local communities where they live and work.”

And Marilyn Livingstone, Labour MSP for Kirkcaldy, added: “His family, friends and the local community will be proud of the commitment he has shown in the face of adversity.

“This is a well deserved award.”

As winner of the Scottish Bravery category Iain also walked off with a £500 cheque and a trophy.