Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 13°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

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.

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.”

0 comments

Ben Gummer and David Ellesmere at Ipswich Wet Dock.

Plans for major government investment in the East of England could be hit by the decision to withdraw from the European Union, Suffolk MP Ben Gummer has warned.

St Helen's Primary School - demand for places is high

Plans to launch a free school in Ipswich have been unveiled in a bid to meet an increasing demand for primary school places.

Former county council leader Mark Bee.

Proposals for East Anglian devolution could be thrown out as early as today in the wake of the referendum vote.

Keith Senior is pictured at Jacobs Allen in Bury St Edmunds

Concerns have been raised about how Thursday’s decision to quit the EU will affect mortgage rates and foreign travel.

Suffolk Rape Crisis is a small charity in Ipswich that supports female victims of sexual violence. 
It is facing a major financial shortage and may have to stop its services unless it can get some extra funding. 
Some of the staff have pulled together and decided to launch a crowdfunding appeal, which will start on Monday. 
L-R Helen Taylor,Louise Hayward,Selina Wagstaff,Shane Begby,Chris Nightingale.

The only charity in Suffolk that supports women and girls who have experienced sexual violence is today launching a crowdfunding appeal as it faces a looming financial crisis.

The A134 in Alpheton.

A collision involving two vehicles blocked a stretch of the A134 in the Suffolk village of Alpheton, near Sudbury, this morning.

Inspector Julian Ditcham with the Drager Alcotest tests a motorist.

A drink-driver was more than four times the legal limit when police caught him in Bury St Edmunds, a court heard.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24