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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 11:11 GMT
Bullet-proof helmet saves marine
Royal Marine Eric Walderman
Marine Walderman was fighting Iraqi forces in Umm Qsar
A Royal Marine has revealed how he escaped death by an inch after taking four head shots in his helmet.

Royal Marine Commando Eric Walderman's life was saved by his tough Kevlar helmet after he was fired on by Iraqi forces in the port of Umm Qsar.

The 25-year-old, of Fleetwood, Lancashire, would probably have died if the bullets had hit him just one inch lower.

His mother Brenda, 47, said on Wednesday: "I'm shocked. I just want him home."

Marine Walderman joined the marines three years ago and was awarded the Commando Medal for being an outstanding recruit.

He is part of the 40 Commando's Alpha Company, based at Taunton, Somerset.

'Devastating news'

The former welder lives with girlfriend Lindsey - a hotel receptionist in Blackpool - and their two-year-old son Danny.

His mother added: "We have just had some news from Eric this morning (Wednesday).

"Three of his colleagues were seriously burnt and have been flown home.

"One of them telephoned Lindsey with a message.

"He said Eric had asked him to phone her just to tell her he is fine and missing her.

"I'm just happy but a bit devastated by this news. I want him to come home now."

The Kevlar helmets are 25% to 40% more resistant to projectiles than their steel predecessors of equal weight, according to its manufacturer DuPont.

The light plastic-based material was developed in the mid-1960s and, under water, it is 20 times stronger than steel.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"Eric Walderman's helmet was struck by four Iraqi bullets"



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