A British soldier has returned to duty after he was shot in the face in Afghanistan and had to walk two miles to get treatment.
Brave Lance Corporal Luke Reeson, 22, made the hour-long trek across the desert after a bullet passed through his cheek and shattered his jaw.
Lance Corporal Reeson, serving with the 1 Duke of Lancashire Regiment, was shot in May while on patrol in Nad-e-Ali, Helmand Province.
The bullet struck his body armour, passed into his lower cheek and broke his jaw, before bouncing back out through the lower part of his mouth.
But he was two miles away from his unit when he was injured and had to walk in agony before he could receive treatment.
Lance Corporal Reeson, a sniper who has served for three years, was given first aid before being taken to Camp Bastion.
He was then flown back to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham before making a full recovery and returning to active duty in Afghanistan.
His mother Kim Reeson, 43, from Torquay in Devon, said Luke now had a ”cast-iron jaw” after the bullet tore through his face.
She said: ”It went in and bounced out like a running stitch. His body armour saved him, had it not been for that it would have been a different situation.
”Luke phoned me from Camp Bastion to tell me that he had been injured, but he couldn’t tell me any of the details.
”We knew he was alive, and that life was sustained, but that was the most devastating time. For 48 hours after, we weren’t told the extent of his injuries.
”It was really a huge relief to see him up in bed, with a face like Desperate Dan. It was just a huge relief.”
Luke was eventually discharged from hospital and drove himself to his regiment’s base, staying there for three days before rejoining his colleagues in Afghanistan.
Mother-of-three Kim said her son was ”adamant” that he wanted to return to duty as soon as he had recovered.
She added: ”We didn’t mother him, we knew he was adamant to go back out and we support that and believe that he should have gone back out.
”I feel we should be thinking, talking and reading about these soldiers as national heroes, because that is what I believe.
”For every soldier that comes home in a coffin, there are 10 to 15 that are injured and never get heard about.”