Bravery of soldiers at Patrol Base Almas

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TRIBUTES have been paid to the bravery of soldiers in Patrol Base Almas.

The inquest heard moving accounts of heroism, as explosions rained down in the terrifying after-dark attack.

L/Cpl Johnny Cassell, one of the troops under fire from the Apache crew, said he remembered his platoon leader telling the operations rooms to call off the attack.

“I could hear Captain Winstanley literally crying down the net, ‘stop the Apaches, stop the Apaches’.

“Once the Apache had stopped firing, everything went quiet. I started hearing the cries of ‘man down’.”

Platoon medic L/Cpl Emma Henderson said L/Cpl Roney was unrecognisable when he was brought in for treatment.

“I talked to Chris throughout because I knew he could hear me,” she said.

“With every treatment I was doing, I told him what I was doing so he would not feel alone and know what treatment he was getting.”

She said she stayed by his side until a specialist helicopter arrived to fly him to Camp Bastion, where he died the next day.

A statement was read from Cpl Lee Brownson, who died in an IED explosion a month after the Patrol Base Almas attack.

He was posthumously awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his bravery during the attack.

He shouted out a warning of a “blue on blue situation” and said there was “chaos” in the Ops room where they were battling with a damaged communications system to get a message through to call off the helicopters.

He heard shouts of “man down” and found L/Cpl Roney, who had been manning a corner of the base, known as a sangar.

He pulled out injured Rifleman Daniel Wildman before turning his attention to L/Cpl Roney, who was covered in blood and not moving.

Rifleman Denver Fedee told the inquest in Sunderland civic centre he thought he was going to die as the helicopter’s fire rained down.

The sniper was hit in the arm and hand by shrapnel, but with others continued to fire on the enemy positions. Despite his injured arm, he helped stretcher some of the seven badly injured men.

Major Timothy Harris said “true courage” had been demonstrated by L/Corp Roney and the rest of the platoon.

Platoon commander Captain Palmer Winstanley added: “He set an example to the rest of the platoon and that memory will go on with the rest of the guys.

“It was a great shock losing a comrade and not just a comrade, because we are a family down there.”

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