Soldier’s comrades fired at as he lay dying

Funeral: Comrades carry the coffin of Captain Martin Drive.
Funeral: Comrades carry the coffin of Captain Martin Drive.

The father and twin brother of a South Yorkshire Army captain who was mortally wounded in Afghanistan have paid emotional tributes to soldiers who braved fierce enemy fire to evacuate him from the battlefield.

Speaking at the conclusion of an inquest into the death of Captain Martin Driver, his twin David and father John both expressed their personal thanks to his comrades.

Captain Driver, aged 31, from Cudworth, Barnsley, was airlifted back to Britain after suffering severe injuries in a bomb blast, but died of his wounds in hospital three weeks later.

His twin, who was invited to address the inquest by Birmingham Coroner Aidan Cotter, told his brother’s comrades: “Martin was, and still is, in my mind an exceptional person.

“He was a loving son to mum and dad and a devoted partner to Jo. Our family has been devastated by the loss of Martin and I can’t explain how much I miss him.”

Directly addressing uniformed soldiers who served alongside Capt Driver, some of whom wiped away tears, his brother added: “He was devoted to you, his colleagues. On behalf of my family – Martin’s family – I would like to thank every one of you who was there in the field, who supported him medically and soldiering, to get him home.

“To have Martin home with us in his last few days meant everything to us. We will forever be in your debt for that.”

During his comments to the inquest, John Driver expressed his gratitude to those who helped bring his son back to the UK, and also thanked the Army’s support network for its ‘massive’ efforts to help his family.

Comrades of Capt Driver told the inquest they came under attack from rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire as they tried to treat him and apply tourniquets in the field.

The attack started around a minute after the officer, a member of the 1st Battalion of The Royal Anglian Regiment, stepped on an improvised explosive device during a patrol near Musa Qala on February 21 last year.

The wounded officer was flown back to Birmingham’s Selly Oak Hospital after undergoing initial surgery in Afghanistan, but died of multiple organ failure on March 15.

Recording a narrative verdict that Captain Driver was killed by enemy action whilst on active service, Mr Cotter praised the bravery of a medic who crossed open ground which had not been checked for IEDs to go to the stricken soldier’s aid.