Pte Cole

Below is a story of Luke Cole a guy from 4 mercians who served in Afghanistan recently. When i read this article it made me proud to be a member of the T.A. Knowing that we have got some excellent soldiers going on ops and performing well.

Get well soon Coley

Soldier Private Luke Cole today described how he lay wounded and helpless in an Afghanistan ‘killing area’ having been shot twice and holding a gun that had jammed.

The TA soldier, a forklift driver by trade, was eventually dragged to safety by two comrades following the terrifying night-time ambush by the Taliban.

Luke, who had volunteered to go on a six month tour with the Mercian Regiment, had emergency surgery in the field and a further seven operations after being flown to Birmingham’s Selly Oak Hospital.

His tale of incredible heroism under intense fire is testament to the actions of thousands of soldiers who will spend Christmas at war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Luke, aged 22, of Wolverhampton, lost five inches of bone after being shot in the left thigh and was also hit in the right hip by a bullet that exited his body through the stomach. Two comrades were killed and six others wounded during the eight hour firefight with the Taliban three months ago.

He crawled back into the line of fire to tend to an injured colleague after being shot the first time and was hit again as he successfully battled to stop the Taliban snatching the body of a dead friend from the combat zone as a sick ‘trophy.’

Luke, a former pupil of Swestow School, fired up to 360 rounds during the fierce battle. He refused to be rescued until a more seriously wounded comrade had been evacuated. He was lying alone under heavy fire in the ‘killing area’ just yards from where the enemy was dug in when his SA 80 rifle was shot out of his hands and jammed.

He said: “That was when I thought it was all over. I did not think that I was going to get out alive. The only thing I had to fight with was my bayonet. Luckily at that moment two of our lance corporals ran out behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. They said: ‘We’ve come to get you out’.”

The soldiers who died in the battle on September 8 were named as Sergeant Craig Brelsford, who died a week before his 26th birthday, and Private Johan Botha, aged 25.

Luke now faces months of rehabilitation in the the new year. He still hopes that he can continue his career in the Army.

He recently received a special delivery from Prince Charles, a personalised bottle of 1995 Duke of Rothesay Laphroaig whisky sent in a presentation box carrying the distinctive Prince of Wales feathers.

The Prince, in charge of the recently formed regiment, also sent Luke a touching get-well-soon message. He told Luke: “I was greatly concerned to hear of the horrific injuries you sustained in Afghanistan and as the new Colonel-in-Chief I have been wanting to write and wish you a swift a recovery as possible.

“I have nothing but the greatest sympathy for what you are having to endure. This letter brings you many healing thoughts together with a small bottle of ‘medicine’ which I hope may help you through the coming months. Yours most sincerely”

Luke, whose older brother Michael is a full time soldier and whose father was also in the TA, said: “The package came out of the blue and was much appreciated. It was a nice gesture. I am not a big whisky drinker but I am told that a special presentation bottle like this is worth £1,000 so I would be a fool to start knocking it back.”

Luke, who met up with members of his unit at a memorial service for the Mercians at Westminster Abbey last Monday, said the future was now on hold .

He added: “It is too early to say what will happen but I would love to sign up full time with the Mercian 2nd Batallion with whom I served in Afghanistan. The Army is looking after me very well and I have been looked after well at Selly Oak. I did my bit but it was nothing exceptional compared to what everybody else was doing.

“I was no more courageous than the rest – I would do it all again if the opportunity came. We all did a great job that night.”
I may mess around and knock the STABs but what a guy, respect to him and the others who do get off their ar#es and do their bit!
A fine chap who does the regiment with which I serve very proud indeed.

Truly an example to us all, Reg and TA alike.
Hats of to him
I'm sure his CinC will keep in touch
God Speed and Merry Christmas Pte Cole
Well done Pte Cole, you are the wright kinda guy
You got balls Pte Cole, big'uns made of steel. Have a good crimbo.
Merry Xmas and a quick recovery we need guys like you in our Armed Forces.

'The only thing I had to fight with was my bayonet' shows you have guts lots of them
I can't really express how proud and humble this makes us old and bold feel. I hope he is properly recognised.
Made me very proud, well done and god bless, speedy recovery, will raise a glass for you and your comrades
BernardMcCabe said:
Well done soldier. The one Army concept becoming more off a reality every day
Not whilst he in being singled out as a TA soldier it aint.

Well done to a fine member of "THE BRITISH ARMY" May you heal quickly, and get yourself back to training so you can be a Fantastic example to the soldiers you work with.

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