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Quick thinking soldiers help save drowning man in Swansea Bay

Army Reservists rushed to rescue a distressed member of the public found drowning in the sea in Swansea Bay.

The soldiers, from 157 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, were on duty during the early hours of the morning and keeping watch on equipment and vehicles being displayed for the Wales Air Show.

Private Leah Duguid said she had been “patrolling on stag” (which is military slang for being on guard duty) for 30 minutes when she heard a faint cry for help in the distance and towards the water.

“I stood outside our stand to see if I could make out where the cry was coming from,” said Leah. “It was coming from the sea straight ahead.”

Leah then ran towards the beach and went into the water fully clothed to see if she could see where the cries were coming from, but did not have a clear view of any individual, but knew it was a “boy’s” voice.

After swimming for a little while in the pitch black I stumbled upon him and stopped short to prevent him from panicking and dragging me under the water Lance Corporal Joshua Sherman, 157Rgt RLC

She said: “The shouting was a lot louder, so I knew he was close. I got as far in as I could to find him, however, I can’t swim and the swell was too big to get past.

"I told him I would be right back and was getting help.”

Leah ran back to the Army trailer and alerted Lance Corporal Joshua Sherman and directed him to where the distressed calls were coming from.

Their colleague Corporal Simon Martin was also alerted and called the emergency services. 

Joshua, who is a strong swimmer, ran to the water to try and close in on the distressed calls. 

He said: “I ran down and tried to locate where the cries for help were coming from, but we couldn’t locate them. I took my boots off and entered the water and started to swim towards the faint cries for help and kept shouting ‘swim towards my voice’.

“After swimming for a little while in the pitch black I stumbled upon him and stopped short to prevent him from panicking and dragging me under the water.

"I instructed him to turn away from me and that I was going to put my arm over his shoulder and tow him back to shore.

“As soon as I had contact with him, he then went limp and started throwing up uncontrollably. When I finally got to shore, I started to drag the individual up the beach where Private Duguid started to assist me.

“He was confused and had a short burst of aggression, then tried to run away but he collapsed and started to break down crying. His friends had turned up and we feared that there would be some sort of confrontation.

“However, his friends assisted me in calming him down to a state where we could talk to him and we moved him to the recruitment trailer where it was warm, as he had started shivering uncontrollably and we provided him dry clothes."

The soldiers who acted so positively in this incident are a credit to themselves and the Army Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member for Swansea City Council

Joshua said officers from South Wales Police then arrived on the scene to take statements before the distressed individual’s friends ensured he got home in safety.

Simon said: “The three of us together were able to get him to the promenade wall.

“Back at our recruitment trailer I could see that both my colleagues were in a bit of shock as to what had happened and I advised them that, if it wasn't for their quick thinking and actions, then this could have gone horribly wrong.

“They both should be proud of what they had just done and the police thanked us for the actions undertaken.”

A spokesperson for South Wales Police confirmed they had attended the scene after being alerted by the soldiers and had logged the incident.

Swansea City Council’s Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration, Events and Tourism, said: “Very well done to the Reservists who acted in such a timely and effective manner. The soldiers who acted so positively in this incident are a credit to themselves and the Army.”

Lieutenant Colonel Angela Briggs, Commanding Officer of 157 Regiment RLC, also praised her soldiers.

She said: “The actions of Cpl Martin, LCpl Sherman and Pte Duguid were remarkable – the latter two risking their lives to save another.

“Their heroic actions epitomise the values of the British Army, namely, courage and selfless commitment and without the quick thinking of all three soldiers the outcome could have been tragic.

“I am extremely proud of them and truly believe that their training within the Army Reserve would have played a significant part in how they responded to the situation.”

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