Medal for Romford soldier who survived Taliban bullet

A brave Romford soldier who was shot in the leg during a gun battle with the Taliban has been given a special service medal to mark his return from Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Ian Smith was presented with the campaign medal by His Royal Highness the Duke of York on Thursday (December 8).

Lance Corporal Smith, 25, fought with the 9th/12th Royal Lancers - known as the Desert Rats - during a tough six month tour between April and November

The regiment supported the NATO-led mission to prepare the Afghans to take full control of their country.

Former Marshalls Park School student Ian, who returned home early due to his injury, said: “We were patrolling when we came under fire, the bullet went straight through my right leg, I didn’t even realise I had been shot at first, I returned fire. I felt the pain eventually but the adrenalin hid it at first.

“I spent five days at Camp Bastion Hospital, but as I needed a small skin graft the risk of infection was too great, so I was moved back to the UK. I have now fully recovered.

“I hated having to leave theatre. They tried to keep me there, but it would have been too dangerous for me.”

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Ian who joined the Army in 2007 and has also served in Iraq in 2008, was one of more than 250 members of 9th/12th Royal Lancers to deploy to Afghanistan.

The Duke of York, who is the Colonel-in-Chief of 9th/12th Royal Lancers, presented medals to the soldiers during a ceremony at barracks in Hohne in northern Germany.

Lieutenant Colonel Will Fooks, Commanding Officer of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, said: “This has been one of the toughest tours the regiment has deployed on. The soldiers have had to endure the scorching heat, austere conditions and a vicious and indiscriminate enemy.

“What marks this deployment out from others are the advances that have been made in the Afghan warriors’ [soldiers] ability to act independently [from us] and use their own initiative.”

The men and women of 9th/12th Royal Lancers will enjoy a period of well earned leave before returning to their base to begin training for their next mission.