Blood disorder kills Colerne soldier who survived bomb blast and tackled Taliban fighter (From This Is Wiltshire)
Blood disorder kills Colerne soldier who survived bomb blast and tackled Taliban fighter
A Colerne-based soldier who survived a bomb blast and tackled a Taliban fighter while serving in Afghanistan has died from a rare blood disorder.
Sam Davies, 24, who served with Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, suffered serious shrapnel wounds when the vehicle he was in drove over an IED.
The father-of-one, from Down Hatherley, Gloucestershire, also tackled to the ground and arrested a member of the Taliban near Camp Bastion during his six-month tour in 2012.
He recovered from his injuries but was diagnosed with blood cancer a year later, in April 2013, while on an Army training course in the UK.
Lance Corporal Davies underwent chemotherapy to treat the multiple myeloma, went into remission and planned to take his fitness test to get back to serving his country.
But he contracted rare blood disorder thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) after having a stem cell transplant to give him the best chance of surviving the cancer long-term.
The keen rugby player, who had a four-year-old son called Charlie, died at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea on July 8, with his mother Lucy and father George at his bedside.
"Sam never bragged about anything," Mrs Davies, a foster carer, said.
"Everything he did he just took in his stride.
"He had a lot of shrapnel scars all over his back from the IED.
"He and the other soldier in the vehicle were both very lucky to survive it.
"On another occasion, he saw a suspicious looking person getting on to a moped and Sam ran after this person, pulled him to the floor and took him off to Camp Bastion.
"Sam had these two near-death experiences and then the thing that killed him was out of anyone's control.
"He absolutely loved the Army, he loved the routine and it was another family to him."
Lance Corporal Davies joined the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 2007, after finishing his studies at Churchdown School.
He completed a six-month tour of Afghanistan in 2012 and was attached to 21st Signal Regiment (Air Support) Light Aid Detachment (LAD) in Colerne, Wiltshire.
After returning home in October 2012, he began a training course in Bordon, Surrey, where he suffered an abscess in his eye and a dislocated shoulder.
"He had an x-ray on the shoulder and the doctors saw something on it," Mrs Davies said.
"It escalated from there.
"It seemed to go so quickly - he was diagnosed and then he was so poorly so quickly.
"He was lucky that the Army doctor knew a doctor who specialised in his type of cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey, where he received his treatment."
Lance Corporal Davies, whose weight dropped to below seven stone at one point due to the cancer, underwent six weeks of chemotherapy and was told he was in remission.
A week before he was due to take his Army fitness test, he was told a stem cell donor had been found - giving him the best chance of long-term survival.
"Sam didn't tell me how dangerous it was, he was going to take that chance to be there for his son," Mrs Davies, a mother-of-four, added.
"At that point he was back to full fitness, his hair had grown back and he didn't look like he'd been ill."
Lance Corporal Davies contracted TTP following the procedure and died 12 weeks later, having suffered a massive stroke to the left hand side of his brain.
He passed away at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea on July 8.
"He was too young to die," Mrs Davies said.
"He was a very hands on father and loved his son.
"Charlie misses him so much, we all do."
Around 150 mourners attended Lance Corporal Davies' funeral, at St Mary and Corpus Christi, Down Hatherley, on July 24.