A SCOTTISH soldier has revealed how a near-death experience in Iraq pushed him towards the priesthood.
Lance corporal Darren Dickson of the Territorial Army’s Scottish Transport Regiment was recently presented with the prestigious Military Cross by the Queen, at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.
The part-time soldier, a former student of Napier University, was only a week into his tour when he was badly injured in an ambush.
His men were trying to take supplies through a dangerous route – known “the chicken run” – when they came under attack.
Bullets rained down on the squad and LC Dickson was struck in the arm and the rib cage. But despite these injuries he managed to reach for his rifle and return fire, even though he could only move one arm.
“I was terrified,” he said. “But we were still under attack so I got up and I was walking about like John Wayne, shooting with one arm.
“There was blood seeping everywhere. I do not mind admitting that I prayed pretty hard.
“I had the idea of a vocation long before that, but the experience was a real test of my faith.” He hopes to join the Franciscan Order after serving the Army in Afghanistan.