A hero soldier who will today be awarded the Military Cross for saving two comrades after a bomb blast has released these incredible pictures of his patrols in Afghanistan – using a camera attached to his HELMET.
Colour Sergeant Paul Baines, 35, was seriously injured when he was blown 10ft in the air by a roadside blast.
Two members of his unit had their legs blown off and were close to death but C/Sgt Baines remained with them under a hail of bullets to administer first aid and evacuate them.
His heroic actions will today be recognised with a Military Cross at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Yesterday he released these images, taken using a video camera attached to his helmet, which reveal his first-hand account of life on the front line in the troubled Babaji area of Helmand Province during his six month tour.
The clips show his platoon out on routine patrols, searching enemy compounds and engaging Taliban fighters in bloody battles.
It also reveals soldiers’ daily concerns over enemy movements and the constant threat of Improvised Explosive Devices – which nearly took his life.
Describing the moment he saved the lives of his friends, C/Sgt Baines said it was ”like a scene from a horror movie”.
He said: ”We knew there could be trouble. As we went into a compound the cover man got his leg blown off below the knee.
”I ran forward through the IEDs and when I got to the casualty I realised it was someone I knew.
”The medic came over, dressed the wound, and I gave him a shot of morphine. I was holding his hand, comforting him, saying ‘we are going to get you out of here’.
”The soldier was put on a stretcher to be evacuated by helicopter, but another device exploded, more devastating then the first, and a second soldier who took the brunt of the explosion received life-threatening injuries.
”I could see that he suffered extreme leg injuries. I was horrified because I had known him for 14 years and had woken up next to him in the next bed space.
”I heard the bomb going off and I knew I had taken some shrapnel in my leg. I thought the worst for the man was on the stretcher.
”After tying tourniqets to his wounds, I turned him over. I was relieved to hear him breathing and shouted to the medic that he was alive. It was carnage – like a horror movie.”
C/Sgt Baines, of 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards, was part of a 24-man patrol talking to locals in an area known for being a Taliban stronghold when two IEDs exploded last November.
He was providing cover as his patrol made their way along a confined alley when an explosion critically injured one of the soldiers.
C/Sgt Baines left his post and helped carry the injured soldier when a larger bomb exploded and he was blown off his feet and injured by shrapnel.
Under attack from enemy machine guns, he continued to assist the casualty and carried him to a waiting helicopter where he declined evacuation and returned to help provide further cover for his patrol.
C/Sgt baines, of Torquay in Devon, was treated in hospital for shrapnel wounds to his head, back and legs.
He discharged himself a week later was back on the ground fighting the enemy.
His citation reads: ”This astonishing act of selfless gallantry in the face of horrifying tragedy was remarkable.
”Baines showed raw strength of character and deep reserves of courage on this gloomy day and these exemplary actions deserve significant public recognition.”
C/Sgt Baines added: ”To be an inspiration is more rewarding than any award. I want them to trust me to look after them.
”It’s the choices you make that could affect so many people. I can honestly say that the worst fear is sending soldiers along a route and fearing that one of them could go up in a cloud of smoke, or be shot at any time.
”It’s all about keeping them alive. It’s not a big bravado thing. These people have families with kids. Some of them are kids.”
His mother Susan said her son kept his heroism from his family and they only found out about his lifesaving acts months later.
She said: ”He didn’t tell me what he’d done or that he’d been in hospital until three months later, when he was home on leave.
”He didn’t want to cause me extra worry, because it’s horrible enough as it is when they’re over there. Words fail to describe it really. I’m so proud of him.
”I keep going on at him about grandchildren, but he’s married to the army. He said: ‘Perhaps you’ll be happy now I’ve got a Military Cross’.”