Holsworthy soldier survives after grenade lands on his head

A Holsworthy soldier serving in Afghanistan has told of an incredibly narrow escape after he survived a grenade landing on his head. Lance Sergeant Richard French from the Coldstream Guards said his new helmet and body armour saved his life when the explo

A Holsworthy soldier serving in Afghanistan has told of an incredibly narrow escape after he survived a grenade landing on his head.

Lance Sergeant Richard French from the Coldstream Guards said his new helmet and body armour saved his life when the explosive bounced off his head as he manned the radio at a new Command Post in Babaji, Helmand.

Initially he simply felt a thump on his helmet and heard something drop to the floor:

"I thought the blokes on stag (sentry) were throwing stones at me as a joke, so I started to shout some friendly abuse at them," he said.


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Then, in an instant, I realised what had happened. I shouted 'grenade' and dived on the floor to my right. It was not clear where it had landed, I just dived right because that's what my instinct told me to do."

He hit the floor a split second before the grenade detonated, less than a metre away from him.

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Incredibly he escaped with minor injuries, but later dug three pieces of deadly shrapnel from his helmet and body armour.

He said he and his men have gained a new found respect for their equipment - the recently issued Mark 7 Combat Helmet and Osprey Assault Body Armour.

"The new helmet and body-armour probably saved my life," he said.

"I could have been killed. We were all wearing our helmets and body armour because we had some IDF (indirect fire) earlier on. It was just as well!"

Following the close encounter, he suffered a few facial scratches, some ringing in the ears and blurred vision, which is steadily improving and doctors have assured him there is no permanent damage.

LSgt French has been in the Army for 10 years and has only spent one full year in the UK not on operations. He has served two tours of Northern Ireland, one in Iraq and this is his third deployment to Afghanistan.

The public can contribute to the support of the wounded men of the Coldstream Guards by visiting www.justgiving.com/ShinyCapstar.

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