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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 January, 2004, 17:31 GMT
Amputation soldier seeks answers
Soldier (generic)
The soldier was serving in Iraq
A Scottish soldier who lost a leg in Iraq said he would be "disgusted" if allegations that he was a victim of equipment shortages are true.

Colour Sergeant Albert Thomson, of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, said he first read the claims in a newspaper article.

The 36-year-old, originally from West Lothian, said he was currently taking the reports with "a pinch of salt".

But he said he would be "rather upset" if medics lacked basic supplies which could have saved his limb.

Colour Sergeant Thomson, who hails from Whitburn, lost his leg after a shooting incident near Basra last year.

He is now back with his regiment at its base in Warminster.

Select committee

On Saturday, a newspaper reported allegations that army surgeons at a dressing station could not save his leg because they did not have a crucial piece of equipment to control bleeding.

It is claimed that a senior army reserve officer reported concerns to the Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who also sits on the defence select committee.

Mr Hancock said the whistleblower had since given evidence in closed session, which is now being investigated.

Albert Thomson
If it is true that they did not have the proper equipment I am going to be rather upset
Colour Sergeant Albert Thomson
Colour Sergeant Thomson told BBC Scotland that the first he knew was when he read the allegations in the newspaper.

"I was quite disgusted at it, but you have to take into consideration, is it true?" he said.

"I was treated in a dressing station which is a first port of call, where they would do what they can for you initially then pass you on to the hospital.

"Everything has got to be done quite quickly."

He said that he had no complaints about his treatment at the time because he did not know anything different.

"I heard one doctor saying that we can either save his leg or his life," he said.

'Pinch of salt'

Colour Sergeant Thomson said he would like to believe that the proper equipment was available.

"I am a great believer in that if the military need it, they have got it," he said.

"I am taking the newspaper article with a pinch of salt as it stands at the moment."

However, he added: "If it is true that they did not have the proper equipment I am going to be rather upset.

Vascular equipment

"Me going out and giving my life to my country, I would like to think that they have the support and the equipment that they actually required."

He said he was now waiting for the findings of the investigation.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said there were no reported shortages of vascular repair kits, which are used to clamp blood vessels and stop bleeding.

A spokesperson said a formal investigation had not been launched because the MP did not provide any detailed information - and that an investigation would have been launched immediately if such an incident had occurred.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Gillian Millar
"The MoD said there were no reported shortages"



SEE ALSO:
Hoon 'sorry' over soldier's death
16 Jan 04  |  Politics
Hoon must quit, says Iraq widow
15 Jan 04  |  Politics
Hoon accused of neglecting duty
13 Jan 04  |  Politics


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