I Wanted World to Witness War UNCENSORED; PICTURES OF TALIBAN BOMB HORROR THE MoD TRIED TO STOP YOU SEEING

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevan Christie ; Stephen Stewart

A SCOTS soldier crippled by a Taliban bomb wanted these shocking photos published to show the true horror of war.

Black Watch private Stephen Bainbridge lost both legs after being caught in the blast from an IED while on patrol in Afghanistan.

The dramatic aftermath of the explosion, showing Stephen's comrades giving him first aid, were captured by a photographer embedded with the unit.

Defence chiefs did not want the photos published but the 25-year-old insisted.

Stephen, who only joined the Army last October and was on his first tour of Afghanistan, said: "The public should get to know everything about the horror faced by our troops over there.

"They should be shown more of this and told the truth - there are a lot of things they don't know."

This is the first time in the 10-year long campaign that pictures showing the immediate aftermath of an improvised explosive device attack on a British soldier have been published.

Stephen was injured early on Remembrance Day last year. His unit - commanded by 2nd Lt Robert Weir - had been dropped off three hours earlier to clear the area of insurgent activity.

DETECTOR Their mission was to clear a series of Taliban compounds but as they entered one they felt something was wrong and called forward Private John Cameron, 21, to use his mine detector to sweep a doorway.

He decided it was safe and pushed on through, followed by several others.

The IED exploded as Stephen went through.

Stephen, from Kirkcaldy, said: "I was blown into the air, I felt the heat blast.

"As I was coming back down, it didn't feel like I was falling, more like floating. That was until I hit the ground."

In the aftermath of the explosion, 2nd Lt Weir said: "I was hit by a wave of sound and debris.

"It seemed to be moving in slow motion. I got launched a few metres and landed on my back.

"For an instant I thought maybe no one was injured but then thought that was silly because these things don't just go off "I saw Bainbridge lying just inside the doorway.

"One of his legs was missing, his hand was very swollen and he was missing the tip of one of his fingers.

"I saw the other leg was definitely damaged but it was still there at that point. I called for a medic and then started giving my initial first aid.

a f "Wh n Pa When I got up to Bainbridge I had never seen anything like it in my life. "Part of me thought, 'Good Lord, what am I going to do here?'" Stephen's life was saved by squad's medic, Coroporal here St the Joh nev ca John Goode, 21, who had never dealt with a battlefield casualty before.

aasa He ordered Lt Weir to apply pressure to the arteries in Stephen's legs to stop him bleeding to death and tied tourniquets to them until a Chinook rescue helicopter arrived. Stephen regained consciousness nine days later.

He said: "Before I woke up, I pretty much knew the legs were gone. I suppose I was conscious of the doctors talking.

"It still hit me when I woke up but not as badly as if I believed I was still all there. It wasn't a pretty sight."

HOTSPOTS Stephen's grandad Alfie, 65, who spent 14 years with the Black Watch in hotspots including Northern Ireland and Cyprus, said he was glad the pictures had been released.

He said: "It's about time people knew the truth and are not just fed whatever the likes of David Cameron want them to see. I'm immensely proud of Stephen. His spirits are good and he's well on the way to recovery. …