Army medic save's pals life twice – exactly one year apart
SUSPICION tells us to beware of Friday 13th, but for one soldier, it's another day of the year he dreads.
In 2011 while fighting in Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Craig Turley nearly lost his left hand in a grenade attack.
And exactly a year later, his life was saved again by the same Gloucester medic after he was bitten by a venomous snake in Kenya.
The 28-year-old is so grateful to medic Lance Corporal Scott "Ringer" Townson that he has asked the former student of St Peter's School to be the best man at his wedding next April.
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L/Cpl Turley was on patrol in Nar-E-Saraj on September 23, 2011, when the grenade went off.
He said: "When the hand grenade went off it created a lot of dust and fragmentation went into my left hand and it cut my artery.
"Ringer tried to stop the bleeding and calmed me down.
"If it wasn't for him and the medical team at Camp Bastion, I would have lost my left hand.
"A year later and we're on patrol and I went down in the grass and got bitten by an Egyptian cobra, again on my left arm.
"After 30 minutes I started to feel nauseous and cramps.
"Ringer was straight there, got me into an ambulance and started to treat me.
"I started going downhill pretty quickly.
"I was convulsing and my eyesight went and all I could hear was him.
"He had saved my life again and that is no exaggeration as my heart was starting to give in.
"But the boss says I can definitely have September 23 next year off though."
The 29-year-old medic with Gloucester-based 1Rifles got his friend to a supply of anti-venom before he spent five days recovering in hospital in Nairobi before re-joining C Company for the remainder of the training.
Ringer, a Gloucester Rugby fan, will now be the best man when L Cpl Turley, from Marlborough, Wiltshire, marries Amy Rhodes on April 6.
Ringer said: "The snake bite started affecting his nervous system and it did get quite serious very quickly.
"I was just doing my job like anyone would, but it is strange that it was exactly a year ago I treated him in Afghanistan and I'm not sure whether he will want to be near me on September 23 next year.
"I became a medic after my second tour of Afghanistan in 2008 when I had a bit of a career reassessment and I wanted to get out of the Army and look for a new path.
"I had a very difficult tour and there were a lot of casualties and fatalities. I've seen some difficult things.
"The new career has come along and given me a fresh outlook on being in the Army and I also think it has made me a better soldier and it plays to my strengths."
The medic and his wife Katie are expecting their second child, a baby boy, while Ringer is out training in Africa.
He added: "Katie is great and understands that she married me as a soldier and why I can't be there for the birth.
"But I want to tell her good luck and I am so sorry I can't be there."