Tweed Daily News - - NEWS -

Newkirk, a medic with 2nd Com­mando Reg­i­ment.

Some­times the medics’ ex­per­tise would ex­tend even to Tal­iban fighters wounded in bat­tle with their own units.

“When it comes to medics ... ar­guably they’ve seen the worst of it,” said Mark Don­ald­son, the for­mer SAS cor­po­ral and Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent.

He worked closely with — and was patched up by — the medics in his mul­ti­ple tours.

“Some­times they’re fix­ing up the en­emy who’s been shoot­ing at them and try­ing to kill them, or civil­ians, or the guys that they work with day in and day out, try­ing to keep them alive — and some­times they haven’t.”

The guer­rilla na­ture of the fight­ing in Afghanistan, with the en­emy blend­ing in with or­di­nary cit­i­zens and road­side bombs one of their key weapons, meant many ca­su­al­ties were non-com­bat­ants.

Watts said civil­ians were brought to the hos­pi­tal al­most ev­ery day hav­ing suf­fered “hor­rific trauma”.

“See­ing lit­tle kids and fam­ily units de­stroyed were pretty in­tense mo­ments,” he said.

“The main mech­a­nism of in­jury for us while we were there was IEDS cou­pled with gun­shots.

“There was a lot of blood around a lot of the in­ci­dents, and that metal­lic smell — once you’ve smelt it – never leaves you.”

Brad Watts tends to non­com­bat­ants in hos­pi­tal (main im­age and be­low cen­tre) while Cpl Tom Newkirk treats peo­ple in the field (be­low left and right) Pic­tures: Sup­plied

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