THE DAILY MAIL
By RICHARD PENDLEBURY
PUBLISHED: December 2015
No wonder Sergeant Blackman, who took it, cracked
Sergeant Alexander Blackman was convicted of murder in 2013
He was accused of shooting dead a 'mortally wounded' Taliban terrorist
Sgt Blackman took the poignant never-before-published image of heroes
New legal dossier to be handed to the Criminal Cases Review Commission
It follows a fund launched by supporters to cover the costs of his appeal
This poignant and never-before-published image — given to the Mail by the mother of one of the soldiers, Marine Sam Alexander MC — encapsulates the terrible reality of the Afghan war and the long-term consequences for those who fought there.
Heroes: Unobscured faces, from left, L/Cpl JJ Chalmers, (suffered life-threatening injuries), Marine Sam Alexander MC, (killed), Cassidy Little, (lost leg), Lt Ollie Augustin (killed), Abdullah the Interpreter (killed).Twelve comrades pose for a photograph. Their faces are set, their expressions determined.
Within hours, they’ll be dropped by helicopter into the heart of Taliban-controlled Helmand. The soldiers know it will be a dangerous operation, but they draw strength from their camaraderie and fighting expertise. They are Royal Marines: the best.
But events would soon go against them. Catastrophically so. This band of brothers is doomed. Within four days, all the men you see in this picture would be a casualty of some kind: dead, maimed, injured or suffering, to various degrees of severity, from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
At his court martial — when he was known only as Marine A — he said it was a split-second mistake brought on by the anger and stress of what he had experienced.
The panel heard nothing of the under-manning, equipment shortages and the feeling of ‘isolation and abandonment’ by their commanders that some Marines on the ground say they experienced while fighting a barbaric enemy.
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