Bradford teenage soldier took place of colleague on patrol blown up in Afghanistan (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford teenage soldier volunteered to take place of colleague on patrol blown up in Afghanistan, inquest told
A teenage soldier killed alongside five colleagues in a bomb blast in Afghanistan had taken the place of a fellow private at the last minute, an inquest heard today.
Private Christopher Kershaw, of Bradford, volunteered to take the place of another soldier as the driver of a Warrior armoured vehicle which was blown up just minutes later during a patrol in March last year.
The 19-year-old died alongside Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, and Privates Anthony Frampton, 20, Daniel Wade, 20, and Daniel Wilford, 21, during the incident in Helmand Province on March 6, 2012.
An inquest into their deaths at Oxford Coroner's Court today heard that it was most likely that Sgt Coupe, a member of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, and his comrades, all members of The Yorkshire Regiment's 3rd Battalion, were either killed or knocked unconscious by the huge blast, and unaware of what happened afterwards.
The Warrior, known by the callsign K12, was patrolling with another vehicle when it was hit by an improvised explosive device about 25 miles north of the capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah.
The force of the explosion turned the it upside down and blew off its gun turret. Ammunition on board the vehicle ignited, causing a fierce fire.
The attack, the deadliest single enemy attack on UK forces in Afghanistan since 2001, was claimed by the Taliban at the time.
The inquest today heard that the patrol was meant to leave earlier that day but was delayed because of a sandstorm. It eventually left just after 6.30pm, and was blown up just minutes later.
The hearing continues.