Swansea soldier flown home after injury
A SWANSEA soldier whose best pal was killed in Afghanistan has had to be flown home after being injured on the frontline.
Guardsman Paul Arnold ended up in hospital in Camp Bastion after the road he was driving along gave way 200 yards away from a checkpoint in Babaji.
The Mastiff vehicle being driven by the soldier from 2 Company of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, ended up in a ditch and the 23-year-old had to be airlifted to the main British base after suffering pains in his back.
Paul has already suffered the loss of his friend, Carmarthen-born Lance Corporal Lee Davies, 27, who was killed by members of the Afghan police force back in May.
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His dad Mark, 49, who works in the building trade, said he hoped Paul would make a full recovery after the incident.
He said: "Paul was lucky he wasn't ambushed as he was not able to move after the accident.
"He phoned my ex-wife Anne-Marie from the hospital in Camp Bastion to say he had hurt his back.
"She asked 'are you okay?' and he said 'no, I can't walk but my legs are all right.'
"He was driving along 200 yards away from a checkpoint when the road just gave way. Paul went down a ditch and he just got out of the vehicle. He walked around for five minutes and his legs gave way."
Mr Arnold added: "He literally fell to the floor and he couldn't get up as he was in agony.
"He was put onto a stretcher and they had to radio to get a helicopter and American special forces took him to Camp Bastion."
Paul was initially taken back to Hounslow Barracks in London, where 1st Battalion Welsh Guards are based, before being brought back to Swansea.
The soldier, who is currently on crutches, will spend the next few weeks undergoing treatment at the new MOD Regional Rehabilitation Unit (RRU) at St Athan in South Wales.
Mr Arnold said his son was currently on medication following the accident. He said: "He's on six tablets at the same time and he's also on morphine.
"Hopefully it will not be permanent damage to his back."
Mr Arnold said Paul wished he was still out in Helmand Province rather than being home.
The 23-year-old was originally due to return home from tour in October.
"He's missing the boys out there and he would rather be there than here," Mr Arnold added.
"He feels by coming home he's let the boys down."