Ellesmere Port soldier helped injured at Las Vegas gun massacre

Reporter:

Jonathan Barnett

ONE of the British soldiers commended for bravery during the Las Vegas massacre broke off his birthday celebrations to help the injured, it has emerged.

Trooper Stuart Finlay, from Ellesmere Port, turned 25 last Friday and was celebrating with fellow soldiers over the weekend, his father revealed.

But the much-anticipated Vegas getaway, taken while on leave from military training with the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, was sickeningly derailed when a concert came under heavy gunfire on Sunday.

The father-of-one left an evening meal near the Nevada strip to find a bloodbath – and darted towards danger with two other troops.

The trio, which also included 24-year-old Trooper Ross Woodward, remain under Army orders not to discuss the ordeal publicly, but Trooper Finlay’s father Kev shared his son’s account.

The 48-year-old utility worker told the Press Association: “He walked out of a place into everything unfolding in front of him.

“There were bodies around them as he was putting pressure on someone that had been shot in the back, then they helped others.

“He said they could hear (the gunfire) from where they were.”

With many emergency services pinned down by a relentless hail of bullets, the off-duty troops helped marshal people to safety until paramedics and police arrived.

“There wasn’t enough ambulances to casualties so they stayed with anyone they could to help and comfort them,” Mr Finlay said.

“None of them hesitated ... they just ran into it and did what they could.

“I think the training came instinctively to the lads and (being) the type of people they are in themselves, they put no thoughts to their own safety to help others.”

The troops’ actions that night won acclaim from the Prime Minister, who thanked them for their efforts earlier this week.

They had been training in California with the regiment, known as the Welsh Cavalry and based in Norfolk, in the weeks leading up to the attack.

Trooper Finlay, who rose into the army after joining the TA, left behind his infant daughter Amelie, just six months old, to take up the opportunity overseas.

He had been relishing the trip to Las Vegas, according to his father, but had been more reluctant to get into the birthday spirit.

“He said his mates forced him to celebrate,” Mr Finlay joked.

“It’s a place he’s wanted to visit while he’s over there and he’s your typical soldier.”

The group are now expected to return to camp in California before flying back to the UK.

Email:

jonathan.barnett@nwn.co.uk

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