Monday, April 20, 2009

I take my hat off to... Private Leon 'Willy' Wilson... the luckiest soldier in the Brtish Army

I just had to add this one to my series of posts were 'I take my hat off...' to people who have distinguished themselves in some way... at least in my humble opinion!! smile

This is the amazing story of Private Leon 'Willy' Wilson... who just has to be THE luckiest soldier in the British Army!

Private Wilson, a Territorial Army soldier currently serving in Afghanistan, has survived a shot from a Taliban sniper which went through his combat helmet, straight through the forehead pad and out the other side! eek

Private Leon 'Willy' Wilson, aged 32 from Manchester, is currently deployed in Afghanistan on attachment to 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) [2 MERCIAN].

An hour after his miraculous escape, he had found another helmet and carried on fighting!

On 10 April 2009, the unit was involved in a fierce battle with Taliban insurgents in the village of Khowshhal Kalay, to the west of the capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah.

Pte Wilson was on a roof with Afghan soldiers, as well as an artillery fire controller, and another officer directing the Apache helicopter gunships overhead.

Pte Wilson said:

"I got engaged by an enemy machine gun. Someone popped a smoke grenade to show the Apaches where we were. As the smoke billowed out the shot hit me in the head."
He had been hit in the head by a 7.62mm bullet, which passed in one side of his helmet, travelled around the armoured shell, and out the other side about four inches (10 centimetres) away, the impact of which threw him on his back.

Pte Wilson, who is normally a self-employed electrician, said:
"I was on the roof of a compound, sitting on an ammo box to fire the GPMG [General Purpose Machine Gun] over the wall. I took my finger off the trigger and the shot hit my helmet.

I was knocked clean off my position and landed on my back; I had my eyes shut. Private Wayne Withers was next to me - I asked him if I'd been shot. He was just staring at me in amazement and swearing, and he said 'yes'. The medic was looking queasy - I don't think anyone wanted to take my helmet off."

Pte Wilson was completely untouched by the bullet!

His commander Captain Rob Agnew dubbed him the 'luckiest private', adding:
"Willy's a good lad - and a good soldier."
Now isn't that absolutely amazing? Brilliant... and naturally, I take MY hat off to 'Lucky 'Willy' Wilson! Good luck to him and his fellow comrades in arms... I hope they all stay safe and well for the remainder of their deployment!

You can read more about Private Leon 'Willy' Wilson's story here:

Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Military Operations | TA soldier survives head shot from a Taliban sniper