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Dereham airman injured in Afghanistan

PUBLISHED: 13:47 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:48 07 July 2010

An airman is undergoing major surgery in a British hospital after he was involved in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan.

Senior Aircraftman Craig Richardson, 22, from Dereham, was on a routine patrol with two others in Kandahar when their vehicle, a military Wmik Land Rover was blown up by either a land mine or a roadside bomb.

An airman is undergoing major surgery in a British hospital after he was involved in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan.

Senior Aircraftman Craig Richardson, 22, from Dereham, was on a routine patrol with two others in Kandahar when their vehicle, a military Wmik Land Rover was blown up by either a land mine or a roadside bomb.

The two other airmen were also injured and have been flown back to a military hospital in the UK.

SAC Richardson, a member of RAF Honington's 1 Squadron, which is on a sixth-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, had been due back at his Dereham home next week for a week's leave.

His mum, Ann Freeman and other family members have been taken to the hospital to be with him, and all are rooting for him as he undergoes a series of major operations.

A statement from his family, who live in Dereham, said: “Craig Richardson was involved on Monday night, while doing a routine patrol, in an explosion. At present we are not sure if it was a roadside bomb or a land mine.

“But on Wednesday he flew back to Birmingham Selly Oak Military Hospital where he is undergoing major surgery.”

His family described him as “one of the nicest men you could ever want to know”.

Once he is able to leave Selly Oak he will be moved to Headley Court in Surrey, a rehabilitation centre for wounded servicemen.

All his family, including his mum Ann, brothers and sisters, Jamie, 12, Paige, 11, Kelly-Ann, 24, Joshua, eight, and 18-month-year-old nephew Keaton, are all wishing him well and willing him to get better.

They also wanted to thank staff at Selly Oak, friends who were being supportive and the Help for Heroes charity, which means family members are able to be with their injured soldiers and airmen.

The avid Tottenham Hotspur supporter asked how his favourite team had done when he woke up from one of the operations, his step-mum Vicky said.

Craig was brought up in Dereham and went to Grove Infant School, Church Middle School and Northgate High School. He excelled at athletics and always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, who was in the RAF.

His aim, when he leaves the RAF, is to become a firefighter like his father Mark, station officer at Dereham retained fire station, and uncle Neil, a full-time firefighter, Vicky added.

Craig has a girlfriend, Danni Farthing, who he has been with for more than three years.

RAF Honington's 1 Squadron is in Afghanistan on a six-month tour of duty providing vital protection to Nato forces. They had flown out to Kandahar in mid-August.

The squadron had only been back in Britain barely 12 months from its last deployment at Basra in Iraq, which saw the loss of four comrades.

It was selected as the outstanding RAF Regiment field squadron of 2007.

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