Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Heroic pilot raises money for his fellow comrades
British troops conduct IED training in dusty conditions at Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
British troops conduct IED training in dusty conditions at Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Blown up by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and shot at twice by the Taliban - former army helicopter pilot Matthew Brown has had some terrifying experiences.

The 41 year old has since been invalided from the army after six tours of Afghanistan.

He is dedicating the next three years of his life to raising cash for his fallen comrades.

Matt is walking the entire UK coast path - day and night - aiming to break the world speed record.

Soldiers patrolling outside Bagram airbase 50km north of Kabul
Soldiers patrolling outside Bagram airbase 50km north of Kabul

With a stab wound, two bullet wounds and shrapnel from an IED in Afghanistan, Matt knows of the dangers his fellow comrades face on a daily basis.

He is in Cornwall on the first leg of a mammoth 11,000 mile record breaking fundraising walk and has already raised half a million pounds for Help for Heroes.

"When I was going through discharge my commanding officer told me that written down in the red discharge book would be the fact that I had rescued over 88 soldiers in combat and it occurred to me that once I fly them back to Camp Bastian for treatment I never see them again.

"The next thing I know they are in MOD hospitals in places such as Birmingham.

"I want to try and raise some funds for the guys that I've seen from one end of the scale and now.

"With the help of some of the money I have raised - I can see them put through rehabilitation, getting the proper care and treatment they deserve."

Doing this walk solo, gives me time to think, gives me time to recollect, gives me time to...and I hate to say this...but to think about how lucky I am that I am still here.
Matt Brown

Matt himself has been greatly affected by what he has witnessed over the years.

"On a personal level, even when I'm out camping, or in the luxury of a hotel, I haven't had a proper night's sleep since about 2003 and there are still times when I wake up in the night, so yes, it's bad.

"There was an American soldier who was working with the British soldiers out there in North Kabul.

"There was an SOS call and an IED had gone off, three guys had gone down in it.

"I managed to land the helicopter in heavy gunfire whilst getting shot at and I had a profile view of one of the soldiers, so I could only see the right side of him.

"When he turned around I realised that his left arm had been completely blown off and basically we had to spend the next five minutes in gunfire looking for his arm before we took off because he was desperate for it to be sewn back on."

"Doing this walk solo, gives me time to think, gives me time to recollect, gives me time to...and I hate to say this...but to think about how lucky I am that I am still here."

Matt Brown walk the UK coast path for charity
Matt Brown walks the UK coast path for charity

"I only have the mental images of what happened".

Even knowing he has also been physically scarred by what has happened, Matt explains: "I haven't been affected like some soldiers have, who when looking down at their feet realise they have an artificial limb or an artificial hand and in that aspect I am extremely lucky."

When asked what keeps him going, Matt said: "Since I have set off I think another seven soldiers have been killed and knowing there will be another family in mourning, it just spurs me on to keep going and going and going."

"The fact that I meet a lot of the guys, a lot of squaddies come out to meet me because they know what I am doing due to my connections, it's like one big family, even after 22 years, even after you are retired you'll never lose that camaraderie between you, it's always there for life."

On Sunday 21 November 2010 Mr Brown was arrested by Devon and Cornwall Police on suspicion of fraud in Newquay, Cornwall. He was bailed to return to a police station on 5 May, 2011. On 23 November Mr Brown appeared before magistrates in Scarborough charged with two counts of false representation. Legal proceedings against him are continuing.




SEE ALSO
Interactive Coastpath Map
18 Nov 09 |  People & Places
Combating IEDs in Afghanistan
01 Apr 10 |  UK
How to end the war in Afghanistan
02 Feb 10 |  South Asia

OTHER RELATED BBC LINKS

ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific