Troy Samuels: 'The stress for the soldiers out there is immense'

"Throughout my childhood in Jamaica, it was my lifetime's ambition to serve in the Army, and I knew from the minute I arrived in London and saw a recruitment advert that it was the life for me. I went to an Army careers centre and soon signed on. I wanted to be a part of 'the best'.

"I wanted to help people and see some action - then I wound up in Kosovo. It was a big disappointment because we seemed to be standing around doing guard duty all day. But Iraq was different.

"I won the Military Cross because of an occasion, early on, when my gun and Warrior [armoured vehicle] got taken out. I fired from an open hatch with a rifle, got some shrapnel wounds to my head and body, and I carried my [unconscious] mate to safety.

"It was just about saving your life and your colleagues.

"When I came out of Iraq and they asked me to go back in April, I just couldn't. Not straight away, like that. It would be different if they were sending me to somewhere like Afghanistan - but not Iraq, right now.

"The stress for the guys out there is immense. They are seeing much bad stuff. A lot of my colleagues are having flashbacks and all that stuff. They are seeing dead bodies [day in, day out]. I couldn't face that any more. I owe it to my family to call it a day.

"I'm not afraid but I've been through enough of it all."