Injured Medic treats comrades.

John A Silkstone

Mi General
MI.Net Member
Jul 11, 2004
An army medic in Afghanistan treated seven comrades following a Taliban attack, despite having shrapnel in her back.

Lance Corporal Sally Clarke, 22, of Cheltenham, overcame intense pain to deliver care to the other soldiers and refused to leave her patrol for treatment of her injuries.

She and her colleagues from the 2nd Battalion the Rifles were on patrol south of Sangin, Helmand province, when one discovered an anti-tank mine.

While they waited for experts to deal with the mine, they came under fire from insurgents, who shot a rocket-propelled grenade over a wall.

It struck one of the soldiers on the back of his rucksack before landing in the middle of the patrol. The soldiers dived for cover as the device exploded three times.

When L/Cpl Clarke got up, she realised that shrapnel from the grenade had become lodged in her back and shoulder.

However, she saw that seven other soldiers had been injured and immediately began working. She later said: "I couldn't leave them when they didn't have any spare medics, and my injuries weren't that bad."

Corporal Paul Mather, 28, was most seriously hit and had large wounds to his legs and buttocks. L/Cpl Clarke said: "He had taken wounds to his left bicep and had very bad shrapnel wounds across the lower part of his body.

"One of the pieces of shrapnel had torn a fist-sized hole through his skin."

"I applied field dressings and a tourniquet to one of his wounds, while we waited for the Medical Emergency Response Team to arrive."

While injured, Cpl Mather managed to co-ordinate a strike by British jets flying overheard on the area from where the grenade had come.

He told a colleague to throw a smoke grenade into the compound. "The pilot immediately picked up the smoke signal and I gave directions for a strike on to the compound," he said.

L/Cpl Clarke continued to treat the other soldiers, patching them up and helping to move them to a nearby helicopter landing site so that they could be evacuated to a hospital at Camp Bastion, the British base.

When it arrived, she refused to get on herself, insisting that the patrol must not be left without a medic.

"I didn't feel like my injuries were bad enough to go back to the hospital particularly as I was the only medic on the ground at the time," she said. "I didn't want to leave them on their own."

L/Cpl Clarke was later treated by a doctor in a medical aid post. She is due to return home from Afghanistan in the next few weeks.

She said she was looking forward to seeing her parents, Chris and Rosemary Clarke, and her friends. Cpl Mather is recovering at home.

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