Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Honoured soldier's inquest opens

Captain David Hicks
Capt David Hicks was awarded a posthumous Military Cross

A Berkshire soldier who died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan pleaded with medics to allow him to return to the battle, an inquest heard.

Captain David Hicks, 26, of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, suffered shrapnel wounds in an attack at his base in Helmand in August 2007.

He was flown to a medical facility but did not survive.

A Home Office forensic pathologist said cause of death was fragmentation wounds to his chest.

Capt Hicks, of the C (Essex) Company, who was acting as company commander at the time of his death, was posthumously awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.

He was seen to remove his mask and shout, 'get me back up there'
Coroner David Masters

Coroner David Masters, opening the inquest at Trowbridge Town Hall in Wiltshire, said he climbed to the top of a sangar - an observation platform - to determine the location of enemy firing positions, when the Inkerman base came under attack just after 1300 GMT.

"I will want to know more about the availability of medical staff at the base," he added.

"I will want to know more about its protection."

He said that after the explosion Capt Hicks was seen lying on his back obviously injured but was breathing.

"He was seen to remove his mask and shout, 'Get me back up there', while drifting in and out of consciousness," added Mr Masters.

A Chinook helicopter arrived and Capt Hicks lost consciousness at the landing site to where he had been taken, the hearing heard.

The medical team began to undertake CPR on board the helicopter but he was in cardiac arrest. He was flown to the medical facility at Camp Bastion for treatment.

The inquest heard Capt Hicks from Wokingham, who planned to buy a house with his girlfriend in Surrey, had been deployed on Operation Herrick 6 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, since March last year.

Five others were also injured in the incident.

His parents, Alun and Lesley Hicks, also from Wokingham, both attended the inquest.

The hearing continues.

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