Tuesday, March 30, 2010

British soldier's miracle escape after Taliban grenade bounces off his HEAD

A soldier who dived for cover after a grenade bounced off his head escaped with just a few scratches, blurred vision, and a ringing in his ears.

At first when Lance Sergeant Richard French, 28, from Holsworthy in Devon, felt a thump on his helmet he thought his friends were playing a trick on him. But the Coldstream Guard, who was manning the radio at a new command post in Babaji, Helmand, suddenly realised what had happened and hit the dirt.

He said: 'I thought the blokes on stag were throwing stones at me as a joke, so I started to shout some friendly abuse at them.

'Then, in an instant, I realised what had happened.

'I shouted "grenade" and dived on the floor to my right.

'It was not clear where it had landed, I just dived right because that's what my instinct told me to do.'

A split second later the grenade detonated.

It was less than a metre away, on the other side of a 6-8cm mound of dirt, which may have helped protect the soldier from the blast.

L/Sgt French recovered three pieces of shrapnel from his newly issued Mark 7 combat helmet and Osprey assault body armour, saying: 'The new helmet and body armour probably saved my life.

'I could have been killed. We were all wearing our helmets and body armour because we had some IDF (indirect fire) earlier on. It was just as well.'

Despite the ringing in his ears, which lasted a few days, blurred vision and scratches, the military doctor said there was no lasting damage.

L/Sgt French, who has spent 10 years in the Army, is a veteran of Northern Ireland and Iraq and is on his third tour of Afghanistan


  1. Amazing story, glad to hear you're safe Richard!

  2. Wow. After watching the armed forces air ambulance/hospital program the other night, YOU dear man are very lucky. Some of those things I saw made me weep.
    Stay safe guys and girls. thinking of you all, always.
    Sarah x

  3. You are one lucky fella - thank God...read about this somewhere else - you saved not only your life but that of your colleagues...Take Care All - Proud Of You x