Navy surgeon wins top bravery award
A SURGEON lieutenant who risked his life jumping on to a submarine to give life-saving treatment to its crew has been awarded one of the highest bravery medals. In October 2004, Michael Henry Lindsay, 29, from Great Staughton, jumped from a Royal Naval ve
A SURGEON lieutenant who risked his life jumping on to a submarine to give life-saving treatment to its crew has been awarded one of the highest bravery medals.
In October 2004, Michael Henry Lindsay, 29, from Great Staughton, jumped from a Royal Naval vessel on to the hull of HMCS Chicoutimi as it drifted in the Atlantic.
The submarine had broken down two days before and fires had destroyed all of the medical supplies.
On board 25 crew members were in need of medical treatment, two were seriously ill, and one was critically ill.
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But despite the risk to his own life, Lt Lindsay - a former Kimbolton School pupil - braved winds of up to 50 knots and waves reaching 25 feet to reach the Canadian vessel.
Bad weather had prevented a helicopter reaching the submarine, so Lt Lindsay, accompanied by Chief Lieutenant Medical Assistant David Wilton, boarded an inflatable boat and headed for the submarine.
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"It was pretty rough on the inflatable boat, and the driver had to drive very close to the submarine so we could jump on to the side of it and grab one of the rope ladders," said Lt Lindsay.
"We climbed up the ladder and entered the submarine via the fin doorway.
"When we got inside it was dark, and the air was thick with dust and soot from the fire.
"The only medical supplies we had were the ones we had strapped to us before we jumped on board the submarine."
Once on board, Lt Lindsay treated six crew members, and gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one person who had stopped breathing.
He remained on board the submarine overnight with the crew members until they could be escorted to safety.
In London on Thursday, Lt Lindsay received the Life Saving Medal of the Order of Gold.
A member of the HM Submarine Service and the Defence Medical Services, he added: "Receiving this award is a bit of a surprise as it was really a team effort, and to be singled out and honoured for bravery is very humbling. My family are very surprised and proud."
The award, which honours outstanding bravery, is given only in exceptional circumstances and has been awarded just four times in the past seven years.
"This is the first major event I have had to deal with but I had received extensive training so I was well equipped to deal with the situation both physically and mentally," said Lt Lindsay.
"It was a team effort, and we were all just doing our job.