A PARATROOPER saved by a Huddersfield man after losing his leg when he stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan has been awarded £1.7m in damages.
Sgt Stuart Pearson, 35, suffered appalling injuries when a mine exploded in the notoriously dangerous Helmand province, in September 2006.
But Huddersfield army medic Paul Hartley risked his own life to help save him and other wounded colleagues.
The soldiers from the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment were injured when they became marooned in an unmarked minefield.
Sgt Pearson, who lives near Edinburgh, had his left leg blown off when he trod on a mine while he and his team were trying to rescue a comrade.
In the chaos the soldiers were caught up in further blasts, including one triggered by the gusts of air from the blades of an RAF Chinook sent in to rescue them.
The aircraft was trying to land because it did not have a winch to rescue the injured men.
They were forced to wait five hours until a properly equipped US helicopter arrived.
Platoon commander Cpl Mark Wright was killed and five other soldiers were injured in the explosions.
In 2008 a coroner said Ministry of Defence chiefs should “hang their heads in shame” over the equipment shortages that led to his death.
The coroner highlighted other serious flaws, including the failure to provide maps identifying Soviet minefields laid 30 years earlier.
Sgt Pearson, who was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his bravery, won his negligence claim against the MOD on the grounds of ‘breach of duty before contact with the enemy’.
The hearing at London’s High Court was told that his right foot was so badly damaged that it may need amputation.
The full value of Sgt Pearson’s claim was £1.7m, including compensation for pain and suffering, £600,000 for prosthetic limbs and £270,000 for future care.
He will not receive the full value of his claim, but was granted the right to seek further damages in the future if the second amputation goes ahead.
Cpl Wright was posthumously awarded the George Cross and two other soldiers gained the George Medal in the wake of the incident near a Taliban checkpoint by Kajaki Dam.
They included Mr Hartley, from Kirkburton, who received his medal from the Queen for showing astonishing courage by helping his badly wounded comrades in the minefield.
As more and more mines were triggered Mr Hartley, who was serving with the Royal Medical Corps, was ordered not to move until help arrived.
But he continued to help the wounded soldiers who had lost limbs.
When Cpl Wright was critically injured by an explosion, he risked his own life to help.
He crossed the minefield by throwing his backpack in front of him and jumping on to it.
He did this eight times, but as he reached Cpl Wright another mine went off, injuring them both.
Mr Hartley suffered injuries to his chest, arms and legs as well as blast lung which caused breathing difficulties.
But he still managed to treat the mortally-wounded man, who despite his valiant efforts died on the way to hospital.
Mr Hartley, one of the last to leave the field when rescue helicopters arrived, also threw medical equipment to wounded comrades and shouted instructions on how to use it.