Marine tells of Afghan blast horror

A ROYAL Marine from Suffolk has spoken for the first time of the moment he survived an horrific explosion which killed a close friend and injured another while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Anthony Bond

A ROYAL Marine from Suffolk has spoken for the first time of the moment he survived an horrific explosion which killed a close friend and injured another while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Martyn Williams, 19, from Nacton, near Ipswich, said he still felt dazed by the tragic events of Friday December 12 - one of the darkest days in the recent history of the Royal Marines.

He suffered a broken foot in the blast which tore through the Jackal armoured vehicle he was driving. It claimed the life of Lance Corporal Steven “Jamie” Fellows, 26, and seriously injured his colleague, Marine Alex “Lenny” Lenaghan.


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Later in the day three other Royal Marines were killed by a 13-year-old suicide bomber, two of which Mne Williams also knew.

He said: “I am still dazed about being home and everything feels weird. Jamie's death was hard to deal with and it still really upsets me. I do not think of him as being dead. It will be when I get back to work and with all the lads and he is not there that it will hit me.”

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It was a clear sunny day when Mne Williams left his base at 8am in the Sangin area of Helmand province in Afghanistan.

A member of 45 Commando, he had been driving a Jackal armoured vehicle with his close friend and room-mate L-Cpl Fellows at his side, and Mne Lenaghan in the back manning the gun, when disaster struck.

They followed another Jackal ahead, and after travelling across the open land they soon drove down a dry river bed.

Mne Williams followed the track marks of the vehicle ahead - but he had no idea it had activated an improvised explosive device laid by the Taleban.

When the left tyre of his Jackal went over the 35lb explosive device, a huge explosion threw all three clear of the vehicle.

Mne Williams was left unconscious. He was taken back to the base in Sangin before he was flown by helicopter to the main British base at Camp Bastian.

Heavily sedated on morphine, he was woken by a padre and told he had broken his foot. He asked how his friends were.

He was told Mne Lenaghan had dislocated his jaw, but his close friend L-Cpl Fellows, 26, was killed.

Last Thursday he was flown back from Afghanistan to Selly Oak Hospital near Birmingham, which treats injured personnel.

And on Saturday night he was back at his parents' home in Nacton. He had an extremely lucky escape and broke four metatarsal bones in his left foot. It will be a year before he is fully fit again.

He said: “I am annoyed at what happened and upset and angry but I still find it strange that I am here and Jamie was killed and all the lads are still out there. I still wake up every day and think that I should be in Sangin. I feel angry at the Taleban because they put it there but that is there way of fighting.”

A former pupil of Nacton Primary School and Kesgrave High School he joined the Royal Marines two years ago. After being based at the 45 Commando base in Arbroath in Scotland, he was sent to Afghanistan in September for a six month deployment - his first posting abroad.

And despite being heavily involved in one of the darkest days for the Royal Marines in recent times, and knowing three of the four men who died that day, he wants to go back.

“It is an absolute hell-hole,” he said. “But if you give me the choice of having this injury or being back there with the lads I would choose to be there so it can't be that bad.

“Somebody said to me that I picked a good time to be blown up and that is true because I am home over Christmas, which I would have otherwise missed. But despite what has happened I would still be far happier there.

“I know three of the four killed that day and Jamie was one of them. I only knew about it when I saw on the news afterwards but the other three dying on the same day, that really did hurt.”

The three other Royal Marines killed on December 12 were Sergeant John Manuel, Corporal Marc Birch and Marine Damian Davies.

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