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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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Soldier David tells of ambush by the Taliban

A HAND grenade thrown by the Taliban landed just metres away from a Whitehaven soldier fighting in Afghanistan.

war: Sgt David Mossop

Sgt David Mossop found himself in a fierce ambush with insurgents after commanding a clearance patrol in Helmand Province.

“The enemy had been tracking us for some miles and with the aid of handheld radios managed to inform other Taliban fighters of our location and in which direction we were moving,’’ said Sgt Mossop.

“We had been given orders to clear a known Taliban stronghold but shortly before I arrived we were ambushed from three sides with a hand grenade landing close to where I was standing.

“A fierce fire fight then took place and my team were heavily suppressed by enemy gunfire, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. In a very short time-frame we were cut off from our other ground units and we were surrounded.

“I made the decision to take the fight to the Taliban and I led my team on a counter-attack operation, managing to defeat the attackers, fight through the ambush and complete the mission.

“I found out some weeks later that the ambush had been a deliberately planned attack against me and my men.’’

Sgt Mossop has just returned home after serving a six-month tour of duty in Helmand Province.

An experienced combat veteran of several tours of Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Sierra Leone, he has played a key part in bringing stability into areas held by Taliban forces.

“We deployed into Afghan-istan with a clear message for the Taliban,’’ he said.

“We would bring peace and stability into the area, drive them from their strongholds and defeat them.

“In order for us to do this we also used the Afghan National Army and National Police Force.

“It is very clear to me that for long-lasting stability and future progress to be made it is now paramount that the Afghan Security Forces take the lead in future operations against the Taliban.”

Sgt Mossop, who is based in Germany with wife, Sibby, and daughters, one-year-old Nina and Holly, five, will be heading to Whitehaven in the next few weeks to visit his parents, Colin and Elizabeth.

He grow up in a strong, military family, with his dad, grandfather, grandmother, sister Heather and brother-in-law all serving in the army.

Serving with the elite Special Reconnaissance Force, closely partnered by the United States Marine Corp, Sgt Mossop has been involved in some of the fiercest fighting Helmand Province has seen in many years.

And he has found the conditions in Afghanistan to be “challenging’’ for his small team.

“We have had to be very flexible. The conditions we have endured were very harsh indeed,’’ Sgt Mossop said.

“No clean, running water was a big problem, with many of my team suffering with stomach problems and fever. Lack of fresh food only compounded the problem.

“Sanitation was also an issue and we had some difficulties in maintaining combat effectiveness due to disease and health-related problems.’’

He said the six soldiers who died recently in Afghanistan were from his regiment.

“It has been a very sad time for all of us serving in the Battalion,’’ Sgt Mossop said.

“We stay strong as brothers and keep focused on the task in hand. It’s not just the recent six we lost, we have lost quite a few more within the past six months, as well as losing guys to IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).

“They cause horrific carnage and I’ve had to pick up what was left of several of my own men.

“The most horrendous part of the IEDs is when the local children find them and think they are toys.

“I have seen and treated small children with limbs missing,’’ he said.

“That was made worse by the fact that the kids were the same age as my own.’’

Despite being on a difficult tour, Sgt Mossop firmly believes he and his team have made a positive difference to the local people of Afghanistan.

“We have brought peace into areas of the country which have been destroyed by many years of war,’’ he added.

“The conditions have been extremely challenging but knowing that we have completed the mission to the best of our abilities gives us enormous job satisfaction.’’

Have your say

Hero !

Posted by Josh Bateman on 7 July 2013 at 22:25

Thanks Uncle Ian and to the other comments also, its nice to know that the soldiers and i are are getting supported back home.

Posted by David Mossop on 22 March 2012 at 19:20

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