Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 19:22 UK

Soldier tells of Taliban ordeal

Pte Robin McDermott
Pte Robin McDermott could be returning to Afghanistan

A soldier has spoken of his ordeal after being shot by the Taliban while on patrols in Afghanistan.

Pte Robin McDermott, 19, of Inkberrow, Worcestershire, was injured during a six-month tour of duty with the Mercian Regiment's Second Battalion.

He was injured in an ambush and found himself without a gun stuck between his platoon, who did not know where he was, and the Taliban.

He was stuck in an irrigation ditch for 10 minutes before being rescued.

Pte McDermott said he was shot through the leg during an ambush on a night patrol and his section commanders pulled out, still thinking he was with them.

He added: "I was still there right in front of the ambush and they had stepped up.

"So I opened fire on the position, because I could see where the flash was coming from.

"I rolled over to the right and as I did I fell into an irrigation ditch which actually saved my life, because I was in cover.

"As I rolled in, unfortunately I dropped my weapon and all I had left was two grenades and a bit of a med kit."

He applied a tourniquet to his leg and tried to radio for help, but despite being able to hear his comrades, they could not hear him.

Pte Robin McDermott's injured leg
Pte McDermott was injured in the leg

He added: "In the same ditch I was in, they were about 50m away and the Taliban were about 20m the other way, in another ditch.

"I was in the middle of both, stuck on my own, which is quite scary."

But he was saved after finally after reaching his platoon on the radio.

He was rescued and carried up to 3km (1.9 miles) to a helicopter pad from where he was taken to safety.

He said: "I had two feelings in my head at the time. I was scared but I was also thinking to myself 'get yourself out of this ditch'.

"That blocked out the fear until afterwards, until I was safe in the chopper.

"That's when I started to think 'OK, I'm a lucky guy'."

Pte McDermott is currently training at a base in Northern Ireland in preparation for a possible return to the front in Afghanistan.

Soldiers prepare for more combat
23 Sep 08 |  Nottinghamshire

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