Mother reveals agony of soldier son Mark Evison's death
- By David Higgs, WalesOnline
The mother of a Welsh Guards officer who saw her son’s life slowly ebb away after he was injured serving in Afghanistan has given a heart-rending account of her grief.
Lieutenant Mark Evison was shot in the shoulder by a Taliban bullet and his mother Margaret watched as the life support machine keeping the 26-year-old alive was switched off in hospital shortly after he was flown home.
She said: “The spirit left Mark in less than a second. His face changed and his lips tinged blue.”
Now more than three years after his death in May 2009, the 66-year-old has written a book: Death Of A Soldier: A Mother’s Story, in which she tells an emotive account of her loss.
Mark was serving as a platoon commander in Helmand Province when the patrol he was leading came under fire.
After helping to remove around half of his men, the young officer was shot and despite being seriously injured, he continued to issue orders.
His men fought bravely to keep him alive before he was flown to Camp Bastion and later to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where Margaret was given the devastating news that her son was brain dead.
Of her son’s death, she said: “You never really get over it: an adult son; a young man in his prime. And I think about the circumstances of his death. I’m sure he would have coped. He was a brave person, but as a mother you always worry. I do not even have the comfort of knowing he died quickly and painlessly.”
She adds: “I think about whether it had to happen and what a pity it is. I just wish he was still here. It took me two years to realise he was not ever coming through the door again. I still don’t quite believe he won’t...”
She also lifts the lid on her anger at the 38-minute delay in getting Mark airlifted by helicopter to the military hospital in Camp Bastion and problems with the platoon’s radio equipment.
“The inquest into Mark’s death was a whitewash,” she told the Daily Mail.
“It felt like a heartless legal nightmare in the middle of another crushing nightmare. I don’t think anything was learned from it.
“That made me angry. Every parent of a son or daughter who died in Afghanistan would like to know why they died; to think something positive came out of their loss.
“The inquest could have provided an acknowledgement of the communication problems, but they said there was nothing wrong with the radios and no delay in the arrival of the helicopter. The inquest was a waste of everyone’s time and money.”
Mark, from London, had already been earmarked for promotion by his seniors with one army report describing him as: “An exceptionally impressive young officer. He is bright, positive, fit, robust and charismatic”.
The incident in which he was hit, near a besieged fort at Haji-Alem, was caught on camera – with the footage later being used for the BBC’s hard-hitting series ‘Our War’.
Read more - Afghanistan: Then, now and the decade in between It showed Mark’s men, who had already nicknamed him 007, carry him to safety and battle bravely to keep him conscious as they waited desperately for support.
Margaret describes watching it as “horrible” but felt the need for the public to see the soldiers’ courage as they fought to keep their leader alive was of the utmost importance.
Since Mark’s death, Margaret describes in the book meeting the relatives of other fallen soldiers and the strength she has drawn from it.
“That was a comfort to me, a marker of some strange normality,” she writes.
“Another mother said to me that with the death of her son she had lost the self she knew. I understood that. The love of a child is a particular love.
“Our children are connected to us endlessly by a metaphorical umbilical cord. When they die, part of ourselves die. Afterwards that protecting, giving, loving part of me tied up with Mark was gone forever.”
* Death Of A Soldier: A Mother’s Story by Margaret Evison, priced £16.99, is published by Biteback Publishing.
Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/11/03/mother-reveals-agony-of-soldier-son-mark-evison-s-death-91466-32160273/#ixzz2BCmFePja