Tag Archives: The Somme

Carl Shadrake, Afghan Veteran, speaks for us all.

Carl Shadrake

Sgt. Carl Shadrake talks about how the Battle of the Somme is remembered by soldiers serving today in the British Army.

Former Grenadier Guardsman and Afghan veteran, Carl Shadrake is an extraordinary young man who knows the pain and anguish of close quarter battle better than any other living Briton.

On his first tour of Afghanistan in 2007 the vehicle he was travelling in was targeted by a suicide bomber, killing the driver and seriously injuring Carl. After a long recovery Carl returned to his unit, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and five years later deployed to Afghanistan for a second time in 2012.

Four months into this tour, whilst on a foot patrol,  a colleague close to him detonated an improvised explosive device, losing both his legs. Badly wounded himself by the blast, Carl’s first concern was getting his wounded comrade to safety. It was only after a rescue helicopter had evacuated them both to Camp Bastion that Carl realised the extent of his own injuries.

Carl was put into a medically induced coma and flown by aeromed to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham. It was here, a month later that he learned the tragic news that his younger brother, Jamie, also serving in Afghanistan, had been shot and killed.

Despite everything he and his family have been through he speaks with such modesty and humility when measuring his own sacrifice with those of the 19,240 soldiers who died on the first day of the Somme.

It’s impossible not to contrast the measured tones of this extraordinary man with those of our grasping, self-serving politicians as they jockey for position in the race to lead their respective parties.