Grandmother tells of injured soldier’s ordeal

PUBLISHED: 17:18 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

Pte O’Connor is pictured on the ITN news programme earlier this week.

Pte O’Connor is pictured on the ITN news programme earlier this week.

THE former Stevenage schoolboy who lost a leg in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq is coping very well according to his grandmother. Francess Walker, 61, of Rockingham Way, Stevenage, said she last saw Lionel O Connor two months ago, when he looked really

THE former Stevenage schoolboy who lost a leg in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq is "coping very well" according to his grandmother.

Francess Walker, 61, of Rockingham Way, Stevenage, said she last saw Lionel O'Connor two months ago, when he looked "really well".

Private O'Connor, 21, was injured in an explosion which also killed two soldiers in the southern city of Basra in May this year.

On Tuesday night he appeared on an ITV news item about Headley Court defence services medical rehabilitation centre, where he is receiving help for his injuries.

Mrs Walker said: "I spoke to his dad last night after I saw him on the news and he said he was fine."

Pte O'Connor was seen on the ITV programme with the artificial leg he was fitted with a couple of months ago.

But although physically he is doing well, Mrs Walker expressed concern about the psychological impact of having lost his two friends.

"It must affect him; you're with your mates and you get blown up and two are dead," she said.

Pte O'Connor grew up in South Africa, but has a British passport as his mother Sonia was born in this country.

He came to live in Stevenage in August 2000, and went to Barclay School to finish his education.

He joined the Army just last year and was sent to Iraq in April with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Mrs Walker was quick to sing the praises of her grandson.

"To me he's a hero. He's my grandson, he's my hero," she said.

n Pte O'Connor is pictured (right) on the ITN news programme earlier this week.


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