British soldier reunited with SA80 rifle that saved his life

#1


Hero Black Country soldier Luke Cole has been reunited with the rifle that saved his life in battle.

The SA 80 rifle took three bullets that otherwise would have killed the 24-year-old West Midland Territorial Army Private in a battle that claimed the lives of two comrades and won him the Military Cross.

The first 7.62 mm Kalashnikov round hit the weapon head on, narrowly missing the barrel and tearing apart the bodywork, while the second blew the sight off and the third smashed into the side, ripping through the inside of the gun and blasting out of the pistol grip.

Miraculously none struck Pte Cole, already wounded twice in the battle, and last night he saw the remains of the weapon for the first time since it saved his life in the Taliban ambush two years ago.

The rifle still worked and Pte Cole, from Bradmore, continued to shoot with it for a further hour as he lay trapped in the killing field. And the rifle that fired 360 rounds during the fire fight will now serve as a constant reminder of the bravery shown by Pte Cole in the battle near Garmsir in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

It has pride of place at the HQ of the 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment in Fallings Park, Wolverhampton where he was based and will hang on the wall of the bar that last night was renamed The Cole in his honour.

Former forklift truck engineer Pt Cole said: “It is a shock to see the state it is in. It makes you realise how heavy the firing was. It saved my life. Any of those three bullets would have killed me instantly if it had not taken the blows.

“When you remember that I had the rifle braced on my shoulder at the time and was sitting up you realise those rounds would have hit me in the head or throat.”

Pte Cole was on a six-month tour of duty with the regular army 2 Mercian Regiment when he was hit in the stomach and leg, losing five inches of thigh bone, during the attack in September 2007.

The former Smestow School pupil was on his last mission before redeployment.
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#2
I wonder which 'bar' they mean?

It would be nice to see this gat in a place where many can see it, not squirreled in the command corridor.
 
#3
How jammy was he, eh? I wonder if he filled out a Lotto chitty that week.

MsG
 
#4
I think it is in a fitting place in his Units' Bar, where it will be seen and appreciated by many in the future. No doubt if he wants the framed rifle to place elsewhere they will grant his wishes.

A remarkable story and one very brave and very lucky young man...
 
#5
I should imagine he won't be cussing the SA80 and telling people to f*ck off when they whine about a stoppage.

Slightly confused about this statement though?

"The former Smestow School pupil was on his last mission before redeployment. " :?
 
#6
Show this to the "SA80 never works" crowd
 
#7
Gundulph said:
I think it is in a fitting place in his Units' Bar, where it will be seen and appreciated by many in the future. No doubt if he wants the framed rifle to place elsewhere they will grant his wishes.

A remarkable story and one very brave and very lucky young man...

What he said.

Good on you Coley.
 
#8
I wonder if the QM made him pay for a new one?
 
#10
Mongoose said:
I hear mixed things about the man himself, but no taking away from his actions.

I gather he still has various problems from his injuries too :/
I have known Luke for a while and never heard mixed things about him...

His injuries were pretty severe and he still walks with the use of a stick.
 
#11
Very lucky and brave man to continue firing with a weapon in bits.

Mongoose I don't think hearing mixed things about the man has anything to do with the thread.
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
Well done, wouldnt mind a look at that myself.

Random question then, this weapon is mounted in the 4 Mercian HQ building. I assume its deactivated etc? If not then they have a presumably working weapon hung up on the wall :)
 
#14
Mongoose said:
I hear mixed things about the man himself, but no taking away from his actions.

I gather he still has various problems from his injuries too :/
You obviously have picked up a bit of idle gossip and do not know the man (so in fact you are as much an authority to comment on him and his character as I am, because I have never met him either) so why bother to post something as snide as this comment?

Ickle bit jealous?
 

BBear

LE
Kit Reviewer
#15
chocolate_frog said:
I wonder which 'bar' they mean?

It would be nice to see this gat in a place where many can see it, not squirreled in the command corridor.
I can confirm that it is in the all-ranks bar, "The Cole Bar" no less. It is shared with the cloudpuncher battery there, so everyone can see.

For those who are not aware, during a night time contact he was wounded but continued to fight the battle and administer aid to those wounded around him. For hours he was unreachable by friendly forces, who were throwing magazines forward to keep him from being overun. A genuinely modest and unassuming man, who I wish was in better health.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#17
chrisg46 said:
Well done, wouldnt mind a look at that myself.

Random question then, this weapon is mounted in the 4 Mercian HQ building. I assume its deactivated etc? If not then they have a presumably working weapon hung up on the wall :)
Gen dit, RFA Fort Victoria had fully working Argie GPMG which had been handed down from a Falklands era ship. It was mounted on a plaque in the Wardroom for quite sometime until the ship was re-fitted and someone had a play around with it and realised with a bit of a clean it would work fine.

Oops.

Back on thread: Lucky man and nice that his unit have named the bar after him.
 
#18
Mongoose said:
I hear mixed things about the man himself, but no taking away from his actions.

I gather he still has various problems from his injuries too :/
Excellent post.

Not.
 
#19
Fallschirmjager said:
Why was he 'unreachable' if blokes were close enough to lob him mags?
You have to get a brew on at some point. :)
 
#20
old_n_fat said:
Mongoose said:
I hear mixed things about the man himself, but no taking away from his actions.

I gather he still has various problems from his injuries too :/
You obviously have picked up a bit of idle gossip and do not know the man (so in fact you are as much an authority to comment on him and his character as I am, because I have never met him either) so why bother to post something as snide as this comment?

Ickle bit jealous?
You might well be right there. The man had already stopped a couple of rounds (one of them obviously shattering his femur) and he still kept firing when he realised his knacked weapon was still up for it. That's fuckin' nails, that is!

MsG
 

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