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Stranraer Soldier Injured in Iraq

A YOUNG Stranraer soldier is critically ill after being struck by an Iraqi truck while serving in the Gulf.

John Stonham (19), was with his regiment, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, south of Basra in Iraq when the incident happened last Friday.

His Stranraer family and girlfriend are this week by his bedside in the Oxford hospital where he now awaits surgery. The young soldier was on patrol in Iraq when the incident happened last week.

It is believed John was standing in a jeep at the time, providing "top cover" as part of a two-vehicle convoy. Soldiers spotted a stationary fuel tanker which they thought looked suspicious and went to investigate. The tanker's driver attempted to escape and rammed the vehicle John was in, knocking him from his position. The tanker then ran over John as he lay on the ground.

Sources told the Free Press that one of two men who ran from the tanker was armed. A brief fire-fight ensued and one of the men was captured. The other is thought still to be at large.

Medics treated John at the scene before he was transferred to a nearby military hospital. He was then flown by air ambulance on Sunday to Brize Norton in the UK and taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

His injuries are understood to be serious. In addition to a fractured pelvis and broken left femur, John is believed to have suffered serious muscular damage to his leg which has led to chemicals in the blood infecting his kidneys.

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