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Tracings in The Sand: First hand testimonials

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Tracings in the Sand

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John Brine

Date Posted:December 05, 2000
Personal Website:Not Disclosed

This story is not about me personally, but about Cpl Stephen Rawlins of the British Army. Stephen had served in the Falklands War as a Welsh Guardsman and was on the St. Galahad when it was hit by an Exocet missile that caused such a high loss of life through burns and smoke inhalation. He then transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps (Which holds more VC's than any other regiment or Corps) and trained as a combat medic. I served with him in the Gulf War in the Yankee Section -- a small mobile unit of ten people including a doctor and radio operater.

While he was there we walked into mine fields to remove injured soldiers. I remember Stephen always caring about people, whatever side of the war they were on. He did his duty. I saw him hold a guy's hands and talk to him while he died -- little comfort I know -- but comfort no less. He did this and much more.

He was then sent six months later to the Balkans and the former Yugoslavia to deal with all the carnage again. At this time I was getting ill and suffering so much that I had to leave the forces. No one wanted to or could tell me what was wrong with me.

Then through the Gulf War News letters available on this site a name stuck out. I realised with shock my former commrade who I had lost contact with had took his own life on remembrance day (11.11.2000) by hanging himself.

After finding his fathers telephone number, I spoke with him about what his son had done and given my condolances. His father told me that he had also been suffering with similar symptoms to mine. Additionally, he had PTSD, Depressive syndrome, rashes, loss of energy, and all the other usual symptoms. We had been exoposed to burning armed vehicles (the road to Basra for example). Then we spent two days in continual night because of the oil fires. We had all the injections, and took the NAPS tablets.

So this is my epitah to a Father, Gentleman and fellow soldier who didn't get the help and treatment from the government he served so loyally in three combat tours.

Stephen you will be missed.........

Stephen leaves a wife and three children.

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