Sunday, 4 July 2010

Welcome home parade in Stonehouse for injured soldier

Story from the BBC News website. Stonehouse is very near to where I live, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make the parade.

A village in Lanarkshire has held a welcome home parade for a soldier who was badly injured in Afghanistan.

Sgt Gary Jamieson, 30, of 1st Battalion Scots Guards, lost his legs and left arm after being caught in an explosion in April.

About 200 residents in the village and a pipe band greeted him as he returned to Stonehouse.

He said the difference that troops were making for the local population made the mission in Afghanistan worthwhile.

Sgt Jamieson was only four days into his first tour of Afghanistan when he was injured by an improvised explosive device while on patrol.

He was left close to death but survived thanks to the swift actions of his fellow soldiers.

He has returned home to his wife and children for a couple of weeks, following a series of operations at Selly Oak in Birmingham and a month of rehabilitation at a military hospital in Surrey.

He said: "I was told there was a barbecue and I was trying to surprise them by walking in but obviously I got surprised first by a pipe band round the corner."

He said it was good to be home and to be getting back to the normality of his own house.

Recalling the incident in which he was injured, Sgt Jamieson said it had been a normal day on patrol until he was suddenly "on the deck".

"There was an explosion and the boys on the ground, and my friend, it was his quick actions that got the tourniquets on that saved my life," he said.

"It is the first five minutes that's keeping the boys alive, everybody's getting trained well enough for it."

He added: "You know the Taliban's not going to stand and fight any more because they know they're just getting shot.

"So it's quite easy to dig a hole in the ground and stick a bomb in it and kill a soldier that way, so it's a cowards way of doing it."

Medical praise

Sgt Jamieson praised the medical staff in Afghanistan and the UK for his treatment in surgery, intensive care and the wards.

He still has to be fitted with prosthetic limbs and faces having to learn to walk again.

But he said the difference that troops were making for the local population made the mission in Afghanistan worthwhile and that he hoped to stay in the Army if a position can be found for him.

"I've got 10 years left on my contract and I want to serve it, hopefully with the Scots Guards," he added.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Remembering Scotland at War

Another interesting post from Chris Paton, about a new online venture:

Remembering Scotland At War, a pioneering online museum with a social networking area particularly aimed at ‘capturing memories’, has been launched today by Museums Galleries Scotland.

The culmination of a three year project led by Museums Galleries Scotland, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and supported by the Imperial War Museum, Remembering Scotland At War features over 200 exhibitions, interviews, photographs and footage spanning from the Second World War to more recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan. Accounts include personal stories of individuals, families and local communities.

To view the site visit at

RAF Museum podcasts

An interesting post recently from Chris Paton's blog, with some information on podcasts from the RAF Museum. I hadn't been aware of these podcasts before, so I'll be checking them out.

Chris also has some stories of his experiences meeting some Battle of Britain relatives.

Read his post here.