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Last Updated: Friday, 22 April, 2005, 23:31 GMT 00:31 UK
Broken leg ends woman's Para bid
Paras
Lt Hands would have been Britain's first female Para
A soldier's attempt to be the first female member of the Parachute Regiment ended in agony when she broke her leg.

Lieutenant Jenny Hands, 23, of Birmingham, suffered two fractures to her right leg during the entry course.

The 5ft 3in fitness fanatic had been impressing instructors at Catterick, Yorkshire, before she was hurt.

Lt Hands, who serves in the Royal Logistics Corps' 13 Air Assault Support Regiment in Colchester, Essex, said she intends to take the course again.

She began her attempt to become a Para on Monday in honour of her grandfather George, who died of cancer 18 months ago.

Mr Hands had served in the Seventh Battalion of the First Parachute Regiment, between 1945 and 1948.

Lt Hands said: "I have been withdrawn from the All Arms Pre Parachute selection due to injury. I sustained a stress fracture to my right leg on day 5 of the course and was unable to continue.

"I am understandably disappointed at this time but it is my intention to attempt the course again when the injury has healed."

She is understood to have completed an eight-mile march on Monday but struggled with an endurance march - a 20-mile hike over five hours during which soldiers carry a 35lb pack and rifle.

Lt Hands had been warned to expect punishing trials such as a frantic one-minute boxing match known as "milling" and an aerial obstacle course.

But even if the logistics expert completes the course in the future she will not be able to serve in the infantry.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that for reasons of "combat effectiveness" women were not employed in posts where the enemy were at close quarters.

Female soldiers do serve in frontline units, but most commonly in ground combat support roles, such as engineering and logistics.




SEE ALSO:
Soldiers 'came under fire'
08 Oct 03 |  Northern Ireland
Into Basra with the Paras
07 Apr 03 |  Middle East



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