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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Iraq attack survivor speaks out
Major Matthew Titchener
Maj Titchener was among the soldiers who died in the ambush
The sole survivor of an insurgent attack on British forces in Iraq has spoken of the ordeal at an inquest into the deaths of his three colleagues.

Royal Military Policemen Maj Matthew Titchener, WO Colin Wall and Cpl Dewi Pritchard died in Basra in August 2003 when gunmen shot at their vehicle.

Cpl Richard Lay, 40, who was in the same Nissan Pathfinder vehicle, described being injured in the ambush.

"I heard gunfire but didn't know where it was coming from," he said.

Describing the attack, he told Oxford coroner Nicholas Gardiner: "There was no warning at all, nothing was said. I heard gunfire but didn't know where it was coming from.

"When the glass came in I shouted to Dewi (the driver) to put his foot down but I got no response at all."

I would not swap a single day of my experience out there for anything apart from that particular day
Cpl Richard Lay

Witnesses to the attack travelling in an Army Land Rover behind described how a group of men in a truck pulled up close to the car and opened fire with what appeared to be machine guns.

Cpl Pritchard, 35, a father-of-two from Bridgend, in Wales, suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The Territorial Army volunteer would have died almost instantly, Home Office Pathologist Dr Ian Hill said.

Maj Titchener, who was commanding the 150 Provost Company operation when he died and came from Southport in Merseyside, also suffered a number of gunshot wounds.

The 32-year-old had been expecting his second child.

WO Wall, 34, from Crawleyside, County Durham, who was the company sergeant major of 150 Provost Company, was killed when the vehicle veered off the road and crashed into the side of a house.

Hospital treatment

The father-of-three was also a Territorial Army volunteer and a train driver in civilian life.

Corporal Lay told the inquest he would give anything to turn the clock back.

He said: "I was due to leave Iraq but decided to stay because they were short of men.

"I would not swap a single day of my experience out there for anything apart from that particular day."

He spent two days in a field hospital before he was flown home to England where he has received extensive medical treatment for deep lacerations sustained in the crash, in addition to counselling.

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