Brave postman wins bravery award after Taliban attack


Iain Macdonald

By Alexander Lawrie

A HEROIC Scots postman who was severely injured fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan has won an award for outstanding bravery.

Iain Macdonald, 38, was on tour with his TA unit in the Helman province last year when he was hit by flying shrapnel during a rocket-propelled grenade attack.

The injured Sergeant brushed off his injury by refusing to fly home and was back in the front line helping his mates within ten days of the attack – complete with the shrapnel embedded in his chest.

On his return from the war-zone, the postie was then nominated for the Royal Mail’s 1st Class People Awards.

And after scooping the Scottish award earlier this week, the delivery man is off to London to try and win the national prize.

The awards are aimed at recognising the acts of bravery, generosity and selflessness of the Royal Mail’s 16,800 Scottish employees.

Iain, from Burntisland, Fife, was posted out to the troubled war zone with fellow members of the 15th Company – 4th Paratroopers in May last year.

And, while on duty on the Helman front line as a Guard Commander, ‘Sgt Mac’ and five regular soldiers were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades.

The married dad-of-two was struck in the chest by a large piece of flying shrapnel and was rushed back to the unit’s base for treatment.

He was transferred by helicopter to a nearby medical centre where army surgeons decided to leave the shrapnel embedded in the soldier’s chest because it was too close to Iain’s major organs.

After ten days recuperating from the attack Iain demanded to be flown back to the front line to complete his tour of duty.

The proud, but modest, soldier has admitted he is delighted to have won the bravery gong, but says he was only doing his job.

Iain Macdonald in Afghanistan

He said: “I was really happy just to have been nominated, but to have won the Scottish prize is fantastic.

“I really enjoy the work I do with the TA and just did what any of my colleagues would have done under the same circumstances.

“When I first joined the Territorial Army in 1996 I didn’t really expect to be sent to a war zone. But with all the first class training I’ve received it didn’t faze me when I got the call.

“I remember the incident when I was injured very clearly. I was on guard duty and was speaking to a few other soldiers when we came under fire.

“I knew instantly I had been struck, but I was more worried about my colleagues who were more seriously injured than me. At the time I didn’t realise it was shrapnel, I thought I’d actually been shot.

“It was incredibly painful, but the adrenalin pulled me through.

The brave squaddie added: “I had no hesitation in heading back out there. Afterall, all my mates were still there and they needed all the help they could get.”

Ian McKay, the Royal Mail’s Director of Scottish Affairs, said: “Iain is a worthy winner of this award.

“His selflessness and bravery demonstrate exactly why our postmen and women are such highly valuable members of their communities.”

And Marilyn Livingston, Labour MSP for Kirkcaldy, added: “His family, friends and the local community will be proud of the commitment he has shown in the face of adversity.

“This is a well deserved award.”

As winner of the Scottish Bravery category Iain walked off with a £500 cheque and a trophy.

The UK national winners of each category will then receive £1000 each at an award ceremony in London.

One of the category winners will then go on to become the overall winner of the Royal Mail’s 1st Class people awards and be presented with a £3000 holiday.