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Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 19:16 UK
Irish Guard's Captain Lamb tells of war wounds
By Amanda Dellor and Faye Harland
BBC Berkshire Reporter

Captain Lamb from the Irish Guards
Captain Lamb says he is leaving the army in August

It was a day in Afghanistan that would change his future forever.

Captain Chris Lamb from the Irish Guards, based at Victoria Barracks in Windsor, was injured on active duty.

As a young soldier moving up through the ranks, Captain Lamb put himself forward to go on a tour of Afghanistan in 2009.

"I was desperate to go out to Afghanistan and went out with the Welsh Guards. I really wanted to do it," he said.

"I had been to Iraq and it didn't fulfil my need for wanting to know what it was like. I'd been up to Catterick to train recruits and it really wasn't what I joined the Army for," he said.

Captain Lamb was soon drafted in to an operation run by the Welsh Guards in the volatile Helmand Province.

"We were in the south of Helmand Province and as a Company Second in Command, it was one of the first times I'd been out on the ground."

War wounds

Unfortunately I managed to get myself shot through my right knee.
Captain Lamb

"Unfortunately I managed to get myself shot through my right knee."

Kelly Cadman is Captain Lamb's girlfriend. She is a 22-year-old teaching assistant and was travelling at the time she found out he was going to Afghanistan.

"I was in an internet cafe in Vietnam when I found out. He phoned saying the Welsh Guards were going out and they needed him. Four months after that I tried to be more positive - that if he gets it over and done with then he wouldn't have to go out again with the Irish Guards.

"It was described as a desk job, so obviously I knew he was over exaggerating on the safe parts but really I had no clue what he was doing.

She was working in school when she found out Captain Lamb had been shot.

"He said to me before he left, 'If anything happens to me, you'll not hear about it on the news, you'll never hear it on the radio'.

"If anything was to happen his parents would get a phone call they would ring his sister. It was Katherine's job to call me.

Don't worry but he has been shot
Kelly Cadman

"I was at school. I checked my phone and had three missed calls from Katherine which obviously set my heart racing thinking 'What has happened?', what's going on.

"She said straight away, 'Good news, is he is absolutely fine, you're going to see him in five days, he is absolutely fine, don't worry but he has been shot'."

Rehabilitation

A long rehabilitation process followed, where Captain Lamb was sent to Selly Oak Military Hospital in Birmingham. The specialist hospital treated over 1,300 injured soldiers last year.

Then it was off to the defence rehabilitation centre at Headley Court in Surrey for three weeks.

The centre can accommodate around 60 people and is looking to expand. The charity Help for Heroes was initially set up to try and fund improvements at the centre.

"Selly Oak is the most humbling place. You walk in and actually his injury was just, I hate to say insignificant, but really compared to a lot of the other guys on the ward, that really made me feel lucky and I think him as well.

Getting out

Faye Harland in Kenya
Faye Harland with children and the Irish Guards in Kenya

Captain Lamb has now recovered from his injuries, but feels his future no longer lies with the army.

"I have been in the army seven and a half years. I've ticked all my boxes", he said.

"Some individuals love it, they love the excitement and I do as well. But it's not just me I have to think about it's everyone else who's involved - my family.

"I liken it to having nine lives. Once you have used them all up you don't take any more risks. It's my choice and it's not just me I have to think about."

As for his life after the army, Captain Lamb is still thinking about what he'd like to do.

"I've been in the army since I was 18 years old so I have no experience of another kind of life.

"I have no idea what I am going to do. Not even a small inkling. But it will be something away from the military. Setting out on a new path.

"Some people think I'm mad as they are desperate to get out again, but I was given the option to get out and I'm taking it."

Captain Lamb is leaving the army in August.

As the Irish Guards continue their preparation for their next tour of Afghanistan, BBC Berkshire has had exclusive access to their training base in Kenya. Listen to special reports on the breakfast programme daily from Monday 29 March - Friday 2 April.




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