Posts Tagged ‘Paul Fox’
THE patrol set off in darkness. Through fields of poppy and wheat, 100 men from the Brigade Reconnaissance Force stumbled towards their target, a strip of compounds that had been used by the Taliban to fire on British troops.
“Right, lads, the Taliban are waking up. They’ve already pinged our position,” said Captain Andy Breach, the BRF’s intelligence officer, as he listened in to the insurgents’ radio under a moonless sky.
Then the mine exploded. With an enormous, ear-piercing bang, a cone of earth and rock hurtled towards the heavens 40 yards in front of me in a flash of purple from the phosphate in the home-made improvised explosive device.
“Contact IED!” Breach shouted into his radio.
An eerie pause followed as a plume of smoke spiralled away on the breeze above the dirt and gravel track we were following beside a canal. One of the soldiers shouted for a medic. As men raced past me, barking out orders in rasping voices, I sat on a bank in shock, an image of the explosion frozen in my mind.
“Foxy, get your vallon [mine detector],” said Colour Sergeant Stew Cain, grabbing the nearest medic and running towards the seat of the explosion. “Start clearing the area in case there are more devices.”
But Foxy never replied. In the gloomy, pre-dawn light, a group of soldiers found him on the track. They dragged him on to a stretcher, each man taking a corner, and sprinted towards a landing zone being cleared for a helicopter in a wheat field.
Breach, co-ordinating the medical evacuation from a ditch 10 yards away, asked for news of Foxy’s condition. Cain looked back at him and shook his head twice.
Sergeant Paul “Foxy” Fox, 35, from Manchester, married with three children — the youngest barely more than a year old — had died instantly.
I HAD known Foxy for only a month, but I fought back tears as I watched the two men stare at each other across the field, shocked by the loss of a friend. Read the rest of this entry »