Private Neil Edwards

{ Eddie }

  • Operational Service Medal Afghanistan
  • Iraq Medal (2003 - 2009)

I was born and raised in Bangor, North Wales and joined the Army in November 2003, aged 24.

I completed six months of basic training at the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick, North Yorkshire this included the Combat Infantry Course (PARA) Training and Pre-Parachute Selection course (P Company) before moving on to RAF Brize Norton for my jumps course.

After qualifying, I was posted to The 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) in 2004, serving as a rifleman in 9 Platoon, C Company. In 2005, I spent three months in Basrah Province, Iraq as part of Op Telic 6 doing border patrols along the Iraq-Iran border preventing insurgents from smuggling weapons into Iraq.

Following 12 months with C Coy, on returning to the UK I then participated in an overseas exercise with 4 PARA in the Czech Republic earning my Czech wings, I then returned to my Battalion and went on to do the Machine Guns Cadre. After completion of the course, I spent the next 18 months in the Machine Guns Platoon also deploying to Oman in March 2006 on Exercise Desert Eagle to conduct pre-Afghanistan deployment training. In 2006, I was attached to A Coy 3 PARA for Op Herrick IV. 

Four months into the tour, on 27 July 2006 during a routine foot patrol in Sangin, I was shot in the upper left leg sustaining heavy blood loss, with severe injuries which risked the loss of my leg. My Section Commander Brian Budd VC helped save my life that day. One month later, Cpl Budd was Killed In Action whilst once again acting as the courageous leader that he was, and again saving more lives in his selfless act of courage. He was the perfect role model for all that was under his command, a man I respected and looked up to. A true hero and the bravest man I ever had the pleasure of meeting he will be sorely missed by everyone that knew him. 

My injuries ended my tour of duty, and I returned to the UK. Over the best part of the next two years, I underwent intensive rehabilitation at the Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey, which was a difficult time in my life mentally as well as physically.

Finally, in 2008, I had rebuilt enough strength in my leg to attempt an expedition with Headley Court with the aim of climbing Mount Kenya, which I did successfully. The story made the papers, and the Daily Mail account can be read at the address below.

Following the expedition I returned to 3 PARA, and spent three years in the Motor Transport (MT) Platoon as a Driver. During this time I returned to Kenya for 6 weeks in January 2010 for the pre-deployment training for Afghanistan. I was never able to regain full fitness to parachute again, or go back to full active duty. Store work or driving duties was all that was available for me, which didn't fulfil my aspirations. I was no longer able to return to soldiering again.

As a result, I decided to sign off in April 2010. Sadly I left 3 PARA in April 2011.

Profile photo taken in the grounds at Headley Court, 2008

Further reading

The Daily Mail website account of the Headley Court expedition to Mount Kenya

Neil Edwards

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Service History

Decorations

Neil  Edwards

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