Welsh Guard shot in the back is saved by his body armour 10 June 2009

Lance Sergeant Daniel Collins, Lance Sergeant Daniel Collins

The bullet mark where Lance Sergeant Daniel Collins was shot.

Lance Sergeant Daniel Collins, from 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, has survived a bullet in the back during a recent operation in Afghanistan, thanks to the body armour he was wearing.

LSgt Collins, who is serving on operations in southern Helmand, was on a Company level operation to clear insurgents from a village when he was hit by the enemy bullet.

Ceremic body armour with the bullet hole

The 26-year-old, Fire Support Group (FSG) Section Commander, from Cardigan, West Wales, described the lead up to the incident: "We were coming under sporadic fire from insurgents to our rear, as our Section moved back to the Company RV, at the end of the day's clearance operation.

"I knelt down in an irrigation ditch in partial cover, as the rest of the FSG re-grouped along it, when I was hit in the back by a single shot.  It must have been from about 2-300 metres away.

"The round knocked me down in an instant, it felt like being hit by a sledge-hammer at full swing.  I slammed into the dirt face down.

"I shouted to the FSG Platoon Sergeant, Grant Lewis, 'I've been shot in the back.' He replied somewhat in disbelief 'yer what?' So I said again, 'seriously Grant, I've been shot in the back.'

Severe pain

"At this point everybody was on their belt buckles in the ditch, the shot had initiated very accurate machine gun, and small arms fire onto our position. We were pinned down."

The insurgent fire was eventually suppressed by B Company mortar fire, and LSgt Collins, who was in severe pain from the impact of the shot, was extracted by his team.

 

LSgt Daniel Collins recovering

He recalls: "I was in agony, I certainly couldn't walk on my own.  But they had to get me out of the ditch.  I was pulled out by some of the others lads, and stumbled between two of them to the HLS (helicopter landing site) about 500m away."

High calibre bullet

The Lance Sergeant, who is serving a six month tour of duty in Afghanistan, was air-lifted to Camp Bastion hospital. 

He described where the bullet struck: "The bullet hit the very bottom right-hand side of my ceramic body armour back plate, literally right at the edge.  Any lower and the doctor said that it would have gone straight through me, hitting my kidneys.

"I think it was a 7.62mm round.  That's a high calibre bullet to be hit by, but it shows you that the body armour works.  I wouldn't be sitting here now telling you this story, if I wasn't wearing one.

"Thank you to whoever designed the body armour.  If I ever meet them, I'd like to buy them a pint.

"I hope to be back with my Section and the lads at the Patrol Base by the end of the month."