ON the morning of April 18, 2011, Capt Lisa Jade Head and her colleagues were working as part of Operation Herrick.
Their job was to render safe Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the Padaka area.
Comrades from the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment had previously been in the alleyway and Colonel Gareth Collett said that “regardless of experience you would have thought that alleyway was clear because 2 Para had been working there.”
Corporal Adam Tucker described how the team received reports of a ‘10 liner’ – a suspicious device.
Patrols into the alleyway found a suspicious wire which Capt Lisa Head went to inspect. A white twin-flex wire was coming out of the ground and Capt Head took charge of detonating it.
She rendered it safe by using a ‘hook and line’, putting a rope around the pressure plate itself and pulling the device out of the ground.
The IED’s components were separated from its battery pack and Capt Head returned with a colleague to photograph the device to gather intelligence and moved the parts into the shade.
At that point her comrades heard the ‘pop’ of a second device and she retreated to safety.
After talking to colleagues Capt Head returned to the alleyway at 1pm on Monday, April 18, 2011 – and it was then the third, and ultimately fatal, IED detonated.
Insurgents often laid a low metal content device to hit troops dealing with the first device.
Col Collett described the enemy as “very resourceful” and “very capable – they make very, very simple IEDs but lay them in a complex fashion”.
He said: “Why did she decide to go back and deal with the remnants of the device? The simple answer to that is because she was a professional solider.
“If that alleyway was not cleared properly local nationals would have been killed in that area.
“Insurgents would have come back and taken it somewhere else.
“She decided to carry on and deal with that partial device and sadly there was a third IED in that alleyway.”
Capt Head was airlifted to a hospital at Camp Bastion and later flown to Birmingham on a seven hour journey. She died at 19.05 on Tuesday, April 19 2011.