A soldier who suffered life changing injuries from an Improvised Explosive Device while serving with the Army in Afghanistan has been found dead at his home in Manchester.
Pte Bradley Paul, 23, who served with 1 MERCIAN, was deployed with his Battalion to Helmand province in 2012 where he suffered injuries including a severed artery in his neck and multiple fractures, the Manchester Evening News reports. Pte Paul, who was the ‘point man’ for his platoon, leading the patrol with a metal detector to search for deadly IEDs, was in the country for two months before the explosion happened at a river crossing after Private Paul had led a team of soldiers to a base to collect supplies.
He struggled to come to terms with life after he was airlifted from Camp Bastion to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham and then onto Headley Court for rehabilitation. He spent twelve months in the tough military medical facility, battling back to fitness.
But his commanding officer said that Pte Paul was living with a ‘silent struggle’ as he fought to come to terms with the incident and that his career in the Army was over. He was medically discharged from the Army last year, meaning that he became the responsibility of the NHS and local mental health services which have been slammed for their long waiting lists and insufficient care.
His grieving family want to raise awareness of mental illnesses such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which research has found to be more prevalent in those who have served or are still serving with the Military – although the Ministry of Defence is reluctant to admit this.
Captain Chris Middleton, Private Paul’s infantry platoon commander, said: “He was struggling with coming to terms with everything that had happened. It was a silent struggle.
“He was a great character in the platoon. He was one of the guys that the other lads looked up to and respected. He was physically and mentally very strong and he had a very good sense of humour. As the front man of his patrol everyday, Brad carried the weight of responsibility for lives of his mates on his shoulders every time he stepped out the gate.”
Another of his former commanding officers also paid tribute to him.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ellwood MBE, Commanding Officer 1 MERCIAN, said: “I was saddened to learn of Brad’s tragic passing. He made a lasting impression on all those that knew him, and he will always be remembered for his larger-than-life character and his wicked sense of humour.
“Perhaps, most importantly, he is remembered for the huge personal sacrifice he made in the service of his country when serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
“He was a selfless and courageous soldier who instinctively put the needs of others before his own. Though he suffered life-changing injuries, he demonstrated immense courage, resolve and strength of character throughout his long recovery.
“He has earned a special place in the hearts of the Mercian Regiment and his memory will never fade.
“As a Regimental family, we will rally to support Brad’s mother, brother, and wider family and friends at this most difficult time to honour this most courageous veteran, and our thoughts are with them.”
The death is not being treated as suspicious.
A police spokesman said: “Police were called to an address on Brentwood Avenue in Timperley to reports a man had died. Officers attended and found the body of 23-year-old man. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding this man’s death.”
Campaigner Diane Dernie, the mother of L/Bdr Ben Parkinson MBE, told Breitbart London, “I don’t believe that anyone realises (or wants to realise) the long term implications to the guys who have life changing injuries- not necessarily like Ben’s- be they physical or mental.”
“They loose their career, their home, their ‘military’ family, everything they have known. Their family may be uprooted, kids have to change school etc.
“This on top of everything they have seen and done; suddenly to be cut adrift- because that’s EXACTLY what it is. Once you are out you are on your own. Thank God for charities because there is precious little else out there except for family support and public good wishes, which successive governments give lip service to.”
Anyone wanting to donate can visit the website here.
You can visit the website for Combat Stress, a military charity which is currently helping 740 Afghanistan Veterans.