Final hours of bomb disposal hero in Afghanistan relived

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The Independent Online

A bomb disposal specialist was "under pressure" and told a fellow soldier to "hurry up" the day before he was killed in a blast in Afghanistan, an inquest heard yesterday.

Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross, also received a call from his five-year-old stepson, who told him "Daddy, time to come home" the night before his death. Schmid had disarmed 64 IEDs (improvised explosive devices) over a five-month period.

Describing life and death in Helmand as British troops faced a ferocious insurgency, Lance Corporal Gary Parsons said: "It was as though he had set himself a timeframe to complete the tasks." Another comrade, Corporal Thomas Stace, added: "I think he was under pressure to deal with them all and that it was a self-imposed pressure."

Schmid's widow, Christina, and his brother looked on as comrades paid tribute to their "inspirational" leader. The inquest was told he had seemed under pressure and had made "some sort of comment about speeding up".