Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

LUCKY TO BE ALIVE; Brave Ex-Gazette Reporter Leads Platoon to Safety: LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Teesside Officer Takes: Charge of Luckiest Platoon

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

LUCKY TO BE ALIVE; Brave Ex-Gazette Reporter Leads Platoon to Safety: LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Teesside Officer Takes: Charge of Luckiest Platoon

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH JUDD

HERO: Lieutenant A BRAVE Teesside soldier cheated death, coming within seconds of stepping on a deadly Taliban bomb, while leading a platoon dubbed the "luckiest in Afghanistan."

Lieutenant Will Sutton, 29, platoon commander of 12 men from The 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, led his comrades safely back to Britain and the arms of their loved ones after several lucky escapes in Helmand Province.

But Will, from Saltburn, says several brushes with death never prevented his brave band of brothers "getting on with the job." His own near-death experience came when a Taliban bomb went off early because of heavy rain, exploding just seconds before he nearly stepped on it.

Another member of his troop escaped with a bullet graze despite being shot at three times, while another was shot in the neck - yet still escaped with his life. Little wonder then the former Gazette journalist, who swapped his pen, notebook and desk in Borough Road, Middlesbrough, for Army life three years ago, was happy to admit they all felt "very lucky and grateful" to escape the perils of war-torn Afghanistan with their lives. Today, his proud mum Gill Sutton, 62, told the Gazette: "

We went down to meet him march back into the barracks last month and they were told they were the luckiest troop in Afghanistan. "He'd lied to me completely while he was away. I was told there was no danger where he was. I thought, 'he's gone through all that training and he's really quite well out of it.' "Now I know there were at least 12 incidents where it could have gone really badly." Gill explained how Will's platoon was attached to the Third Rifles, who have suffered heavy losses. Gill said: "We were quite shocked at just how near he, and the men with him, came to being injured. "When he tells you about some of the injuries of some of the troops, it's just horrendous - and those are some of the milder stories. …

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