Soldiers try to save colleague's life

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:34 25 May 2010

TWO valiant Weston soldiers have told how they fought to help their colleague who was badly injured in action in the field.

TWO valiant Weston soldiers have told how they fought to help their colleague who was badly injured in action in the field.

Despite their best efforts, lance corporals Hayden Birks and Dan Gough were unable to save the life of rifleman Aidan Howell when he was caught in an explosion last month.

L/corp Birks had been on a patrol with rifleman Howell when his friend was injured by an explosive device on a hilltop near their Helmand base in Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old, who grew up on the Bournville estate, drove the badly wounded soldier to a helicopter landing site, where 23-year-old medical technician l/corp Gough was on hand to help.

The pair, who are both serving with C Company 3rd Battalion The Rifles, fought to save the life of their colleague, but he died.

L/corp Birks said: "Aidan was my little protégé.

"As an infantry soldier we are trained to just deal with it. I know that it will hit home when I get back.

"We will have a few beers and remember him."

The l/corporals, who are both still in the field and are expecting the birth of their first child shortly, say the reality of what happened to them has hit them in different ways.

L/corp Birks said: "I know that we did everything that we could to help Aidan but it really hits you when you get back to the base.

"When you go on tour you think it's not going to happen to you. This just proves it can happen to anyone."

While L/corp Birks added: "Over here we haven't got time to worry. We're constantly busy and have to get on with the job.

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