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Wounded soldier continues to command

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: July 08, 2009

rider: Guy Disney with father John at Cheltenham racecourse

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Heroic Cotswold soldier Guy Disney stayed in command of his vehicle despite being seriously injured by a grenade which killed the man next to him in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.

The 27-year-old Lieutenant with the Light Dragoons lost his foot and part of his leg in the blast which pierced the armour of his Spartan vehicle in Helmand Province.

Eighteen-year-old Private Robert Laws, of 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, did not survive.

But troop leader Guy, whose parents Dr John Disney and wife Fiona live at Guiting Power, near Stow-on-the-Wold, continued to take charge of the vehicle and two men who escaped injury.

Yesterday, his dad, a GP at the combined practices at Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach, as well as doctor at Cheltenham racecourse, said: "We feel immensely proud of him and really sorry for Private Laws' parents."

Guy was one of more than 700 British soldiers taking part in the third wave of Operation Panther's Claw to take over territory from insurgents ahead of presidential elections in August.

Guy, also a well-known amateur jockey, has been flown home and is now recovering at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.

Yesterday, his father said: "He's in very good spirits and very optimistic.

"Guy was in command of the vehicle when they were hit probably by a rocket propelled grenade.

"He was in the turret directing operations.

"Private Laws was in the back, after he was hit the blast took Guy's right foot and a bit of his lower leg.

"He radioed back to higher command and said he'd been hit.

"One of the other men in the Spartan put a tourniquet on his leg, but Guy carried on commanding.

"Then he was evacuated by helicopter to the field hospital at Camp Bastion."

Further tragedy struck as soldiers who rushed to the aid of the injured soldiers on Saturday were blown up by a home-made bomb.

The men had been helping to get the initial casualties loaded onto the Chinook and were walking back to their positions when the bomb went off.

One of them, Lance corporal David Dennis, 29, of the Light Dragoons, died before he could be evacuated.

Another soldier, Major Stewart Hill, was seriously injured in the blast.

Dr Disney said medics had been unable to save his son's foot.

"He's an amateur jockey and has ridden for Kim Bailey," he said.

"But he's now safely back. He had another operation this morning and we're going to see him.

"He'll be there for a month and then go to Headley Court, supported by the Help for Heroes charity, to rehabilitate.

"He wants to get back to Afghanistan."

Guy, who has two brothers Alex and Tom, passed out from Sandhurst in December 2007.

He went to Afghanistan in April.

Operation Panther's Claw is the biggest British ground offensive against the Taliban.

Troops are operating in the Malgir and Babaji areas which have been controlled by Taliban for almost two years. .

Last Wednesday, Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and a friend of Prince Charles, and Trooper Joshua Hammond, of 2nd Royal Tank Regiment were killed in an explosion in Helmand.

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    Peter Farquhar, Buckingham  |  July 30 2009, 10:22PM

    You showed enormous cheerfulness and huge courage on the BBC TV news today as well as warm graciousness when commenting on the soldiers around you at the time and the medical support given by the staff in Birmingham. I join many people in wishing you well with all my heart. You were inspirational.