Who Saved Me?

Who saved me?

Sergeant Simon Harmer

My last blog post concentrated on ‘What Saved My Life?’ This post is going to be even harder to answer. Some of it is going to come from some clever guess work and some from what I know. Initially I am going to concentrate on my journey back from Afghanistan to Britain, you might think that only a few who were involved, prepare be a little surprised. This post is going to be seriously under cooked, don’t be offended if I get this wrong, but please correct me if you think I have missed something out.

By the end I want you to ask yourself a question. Who has helped you? Imagine you’re at the head of a ‘pyramid’ of people who have helped you in some way. Maybe they taught you, maybe they helped you or maybe they cared for you. Now I want you to flip it and answer this question. Who have you helped? Imagine another pyramid of people known and unknown who you may have helped. Who are you stood behind? Who have you helped on their journey? You may think that your part in someone’s ‘journey’ is insignificant. Believe me it really isn’t.

Okay let’s get started. Who saved me?


Initial treatment on the ground.

2/4 soldiers  – Treatment just after injury.

6/8 soldiers – Stretcher me away from blast site.

4/8 soldiers  – Comprehensive First Aid.

4 (?) soldiers – Managing my evacuation back to Bastion.


MERT – Medical Emergency Response Team.

3/4 servicemen and women 18 Squadron who operate from RAF Odiham  – Flight Crew.

4 servicemen and women  – MERT Force Protection.

4/6 servicemen and women  – Medical Team.

3 servicemen and women  – Ambulance Team (Camp Bastion)

4 soldiers – Apache Team (MERT escort)


Camp Bastion Hospital.

Medical Team which included surgeons, doctors, anaesthetists, specialist nurses, operating theatre technicians, radiographers, pharmacists etc.


Okay now I’m going to look a little deeper to see who else saved me. In Afghanistan members of the Armed Forces who were working in Camp Bastion were often asked to give blood. They were asked to give blood so there was a permanent fresh stock of blood to treat anyone who arrived at the front doors of the emergency department. This was called Operation Vampire, those involved in Op Vampire saved my life, and I know that from looking at my records I was given 35 units of blood. One unit of blood is one pint, the average grown man has ten pints in him.  I was given three and a half times what was normally flowing through my veins. When they take blood from a donor they use one person for each unit taken. 35 unknown donors saved my life.

35 blood donors.

After I was initially operated on I would have been moved on to an Intensive Care Unit, now I’m going to lump a whole bunch of people together. Obviously more doctors and nurses would have been used to care for me whilst I was being held here, waiting for transportation back to the UK. Now I have to consider all those on the edges, all those individuals used to supply and maintain the equipment used to treat me, and those who were planning my journey onwards. I’ll have to take a guess here I think.

30/40 (?)

When I left Afghanistan I flew on a C17 manned by the men and women from 99 Squadron, I know this because they wrote me a letter. They had one hell of a trip to pick me up, after leaving the UK at 4am on the 26th Oct they were half way across Europe when they were called back to pick up an Aero Med Team. I know that each flight crew is made up of three people, there were two flight crews on that plane, they took shifts in flying the C17 to Afghanistan. I don’t know how big an aero med team is but at another guess I would say 4/8 people.


14 servicemen and women  – Flight crew & Aero Med crew.


So here through a little bit of guess work I have been able to guess at how many people ‘who saved me. So a conservative figure would be 160, I have certainly undercooked that figure. But it gives a small idea on the numbers which would be required to square me away. I have missed many different specialities and roles and for that I apologise. If anyone can think of people I have missed please let me know and I’ll update this post. I want you to have a think about the question I posed earlier on in this post, how many have helped you and how many have you helped. Don’t be hard on your self, you have. Give yourself a pat on the back.


 If you’ve got this far and enjoyed reading my post – please ‘like’ it!

Finally, over the past few years I have talked  about my experiences to groups of people. I have spoken to schools, colleges and businesses. If you would like me to deliver a presentation to your business or school please contact me here