A WIGAN nurse has returned from a demanding tour in Afghanistan working at the busiest trauma hospital in the world – and received a special welcome from his mum.
Territorial Army soldier Major Alistair Bond played a key role in managing the wards at the British Military Hospital in Camp Bastion, a job quite different to his civilian job as an orthopaedic staff nurse at Wrightington Hospital.
Alistair was one of around 50 members of 208 Field Hospital, a volunteer unit, which was welcomed back to its headquarters in Liverpool.
All its TA soldiers are volunteers drawn from NHS hospitals across Merseyside, North Wales, Cheshire and Lancashire.
For the last three months they have been treating the injured and sick in Afghanistan.
Alistair said: “It was a challenging and positive experience and I learned many new skills.
“I went out there to open a brand new ward but my role changed to that of the UK trauma nurse coordinator working alongside the US coordinator.
“I was presented with coins which the US military give to people who they say make a difference. It was very rewarding.”
His mum, Eve Bond, was at the unit’s headquarters to welcome her son back, she said: “It’s great to have him home.
“He is my only child and it seems a long time since we waved him off in September.”
The Commanding Officer of 208 Field Hospital, Colonel Peter Jackson, praised his entire team following the emotional return home.
He described his own position as an “awesome privilege” and 208 as “the best field hospital deployed”.
He added: “It’s great to be back, it really is. I’m very proud of everything that the troops have done, they’ve run the hospital to the highest standards and we have now brought them back together with their families.
“It has been a job well done.”
It is the second time in four years that Liverpool based 208 Field Hospital has run the hospital at Camp Bastion.
During this tour it managed a multi-national medical team which included American and Danish staff.
The 208 Field Hospital is one of 11 TA field hospitals in the British Army, with centres in Liverpool, Blackpool, Ellesmere Port and Lancaster