A soldier from Leeds told today how he cheated death after a bullet hit his radio during a firefight with Taliban insurgents.
Corporal Paddy Dyson, from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, was pinned down in a field after his patrol came under fire in Helmand Province.
The 28-year-old crawled 50m under fire to make it to cover where his comrades from 6 Platoon B Company and the Afghan police returned fire at the insurgents.
Cpl Dyson, the platoon’s second-in-command, said: “The Taliban fire had been accurate all day. As the patrol came to an end we extracted north and were shot at from two different firing points simultaneously.
“As the last man in the patrol I found myself pinned to the ground in the middle of a ploughed field with the nearest cover being a wall 50m away.
“The rounds were landing very close, and one even hit my backpack radio antenna.
“I just flipped onto my side to fire back and then began crawling for my life. Somehow, I made it without a scratch and launched myself over the other side and into cover.”
Cpl Dyson said the incident happened after the British soldiers and their police colleagues patrolled deep into a village known to be held by the Taliban after a police commander was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED).
The patrol had pushed right into the heart of the village - after being attacked three times by insurgents - and came under fire for a fourth time as they left.
Platoon commander Captain Joe Stanton said: “When I heard the fire I looked over to the rear and saw a single figure face down in the field - there was what looked like a dust cloud surrounding him, and bullets were kicking up the dirt just feet away from where he was lying.
“All we could do was fire over his head at the insurgents and scream at him to keep crawling towards us.”
Once Cpl Dyson was safe, the soldiers and the Afghan police fired mortars against the enemy positions and the insurgents fled.