Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Video: Injured soldier supports EADT’s Shoulder to Shoulder campaign and says the Royal British Legion’s work is “as important today as it has ever been”.

06:00 27 January 2014

Sam Jack, of Stansted, was shot in the eye while serving with the Army in Afghanistan and received guidance from the Royal British Legion.

Sam Jack, of Stansted, was shot in the eye while serving with the Army in Afghanistan and received guidance from the Royal British Legion.

A soldier who lost an eye to a stray bullet while serving in Afghanistan has praised the “life-changing” support the Royal British Legion gives to wounded servicemen and their families.

shares
Sam Jack serving in Afghanistan.Sam Jack serving in Afghanistan.

Sam Jack, from Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex, served with the 33 EOD Engineer Regiment in Helmand Province in spring 2009 as part of a team tasked with clearing mines and improvised explosive devices.

But he had only been on tour for six weeks when a colleague’s bullet ricocheted off a wall and hit him in the head.

As well as losing his right eye in the freak accident, he suffered brain damage, the results of which he is still living with today.

Mr Jack, now 26, spoke of the “brilliant” work of the legion, which is being backed in the EADT’s Shoulder to Shoulder campaign. The aim of Shoulder to Shoulder is to support the RBL in their work to help servicemen and women who have served their country but now need assistance because of money troubles, physical injuries or psychological scars.

Mr Jack said volunteers working for the organisation gave invaluable advice when his family applied for compensation and provided a reassuring presence to him, and his mother and father, in the dark times following his injury.

“I don’t remember anything about being shot, “ said Mr Jack. “My last memory is having a cigarette with a pal and then I woke up in the military hospital in Selly Oak in Birmingham, and my mum was beside my bed.

”At that point they didn’t know the extent of my injuries and both my eyes were covered up with bandages.”

He added: “I had to have the front of my skull removed to ease the swelling in my brain and later they told me I would have to lose an eye.

“I was still in denial – I thought I’d be back in Afghanistan in six months’ time.”

In the difficult months that followed, advisers from the RBL worked with Mr Jack’s father to ensure his compensation claim was all in order.

Calls and visits were made to ensure the family was bearing up and later to find out whether Mr Jack needed any adaptations made to his home and to discuss his options for retraining once he had left the Army.

“Its not something you think about – how to go about claiming compensation or retraining – until it happens to you and then it can be a complicated procedure but the legion helped us through it,” added Mr Jack, who considers himself “lucky” compared with some of his fellow servicemen.

One colleague lost both legs and an arm to a mine attack while several others have had “serious injuries”. The support they received from the Legion, he describes as “life-changing”.

The brain damage suffered by Mr Jack, who today has an artificial right eye, means he is sometimes unco-ordinated and prone to memory loss. He also has sporadic bouts of exhaustion which means he cannot work full-time.

This he finds the most frustrating element of his injury, considering what an active young man he was before the accident.

But he is still able to get out and promote the work of the Legion. He has helped launch the annual Poppy Appeal in his community on several occasions and has also given a talk to Army cadets about the good work carried out by the organisation.

He added: “A lot of people assume the Royal British Legion is to do with older veterans from the Second World War but they help out serviceman from all conflicts right up to recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Their work is as important today as it has ever been.”

shares

0 comments

A charity footbal match at Mildenhall Town Football Club raising money for Simon Dobbins who is in a coma after he was attacked by football hooligans in Essex.

Hundreds attended a match in support of a “loving” family man from Mildenhall, who was nearly killed after a “vicious” attack by football hooligans.

Colne Valley Railway

An award winning tourist attraction says it will have to leave its home of 40 years because its landlord is selling up.

Great Finborough Church is one of 18 across Suffolk which will receive grants towards roof repairs

Eighteen of Suffolk’s much-loved medieval churches have been awarded a total of more than £800,000 between them to repair their roofs.

From The Archives West


Remembrance Day Parade  in  Sudbury 

November 1994

Do the pictures in our gallery bring back any memories for you?

The new Ufford Recreation Ground playpark was officially opened on Saturday, 21 March by Polly Durrant, committee member for the park, Catherine Barrett, 9, Suffolk Coastal District Cllr Richard Kerry, design competition winner Lauren Barrett, 7, Sophie Barrett, 11, and Ufford Parrish Council's Deputy Chair Jane Hawthorne.

Children, parents and community leaders have celebrated the completion of an “impressive” new play area in an east Suffolk village.

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker

A man has been taken to hospital after crushing his leg between two pallets in Stowmarket.

Abbey Gardens - are you proud of Suffolk's green spaces?

Welcome to Suffolk Says – your opportunity to give your views on a range of important issues in our county.

The land on Church Lane, Claydon where planning applications have been applied for to install caravans and an amenities building. Photograph Simon Parker

Planning officers have recommended representatives in Mid Suffolk refuse an application for a travellers’ site in the district.

Indecent images found on pensioner's laptop

A 74-year-old Ipswich man whose name was given to Suffolk detectives as part of a worldwide inquiry has been given a caution for child pornography.

A14

The A14 westbound is reopen after a lorry broke down this morning.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages