Manage episode 359046994 series 2813344
Paula’s story is about the loss of her husband, Paul Harding, who Served in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Green Jackets. He joined-up at 18 and was killed in action aged 47, in Basra 2007.
We hear about being under attack, fatality and bereavement. If you feel that you might be sensitive to this, you may prefer not to listen.
This emotional, difficult story “shows the tenacity and bravery of my two sons, and how we've recovered from the loss of their wonderful father.”
“Paul told me ‘...this is going to be the toughest of the tours of Op Telic…’ he really wanted to be there…for his men.” When they said goodbye, Paula felt, “...absolutely horrific...he hugged me and said it would be the last one…”
Paul called from Iraq “...He sounded absolutely exhausted. They'd been under siege for three days…” Having secured the site against insurgents “...the militia were trying to stop the handover to the Iraqi army…As a convoy was coming in bringing supplies, they came under attack…Paul…was trying to spot the snipers and get the vehicles in…They started to fire rocket propelled grenades…a blast came through the opening where Paul was looking out so he could give the orders and he was killed instantly.”
Paula was woken at 2am “... I could see the black car and just knew why they were there…and then the nightmare began…When people talk about a broken heart, this is what it really is.”
Paula’s written a book with her friend, about her experiences, “It was cathartic but painful.”
“...Remember, freedom comes at a cost….and not to forget the people who have to carry on with their lives every day who carry the mortgage of everyone's freedom.”
This is a story of courage and resilience. A Love Story.
If you’re a member of the Armed Forces community and need support with your mental health, Op Courage can help.
Or you could phone the Combat Stress Helpline on: 0800 138 1619
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