Blind veteran Simon to parade with veteran who helped save his life this Remembrance Sunday.
10 November 2016 16:32
Blind veteran Simon joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1997. He was serving in Iraq when he was tasked to recover a vehicle which had broken down with six of his colleagues inside.
The mission was successful and all six were rescued but as they withdrew from the area the group came under attack. The thick dust meant it was impossible to see through the front screen. The group were trapped. They were still under heavy fire but they were unable to drive to safety.
The only option was for Simon to reach out of the Warrier vehicle to see the road ahead. When he put his head out the window he was hit by a sniper. A bullet entered his left cheek and exited through his right. He was severely wounded and his life was at risk. Incredibly Simon was able to perform his own first aid for 25 minutes before his injuries took over.
Immediately, fellow Corporal Warren withdrew Simon from the heavy fire and drove him to safety whilst towing the recovered vehicle. Warren drove Simon straight to the medical facilities in Basra Palace where Simon was put into a drug-induced coma. He didn’t awake until 18 days later.
Simon credits Warren as influential in saving his life. He says: "Warren got us both out of the killing zone. He got me to the medical facilities and helped saved my life."
"Warren wasn't supposed to be driving on that day. If I hadn't had such an experienced driver by my side it could've been a very different story."
Warren adds: “The adrenaline takes over and your training kicks in. As soon as I saw Simon had been shot I knew I had to get him to safety. The journey was incredibly difficult as I was towing the recovered vehicle with six other colleagues inside.”
Warren was serving in Iraq with the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster Regiment. He joined the Army in 1991 and had served in Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo, Canada and America before serving in Iraq.
Less than six months after saving Simon’s life Warren was still serving in Iraq. He was in Basra Palace when his group came under mortar attack. He was hit and suffered two punctured lungs, brain damage, and became paralysed from the neck down.
When he returned to the UK he was told he would never walk and use his hands again.
Incredibly, Warren is now walking and is able to live independently.
This Remembrance Sunday will prove very special to the pair. For the first time both will parade together at the National Remembrance Commemorations in London.
Warren says: “I am so proud to be marching alongside Simon, I am looking forward to the commemorations and thankful we are finally able to walk side by side.”
This year there will be more than 100 other blind veterans marching to the Cenotaph.