Image caption,

Steve Brooks said at times he was too exhausted to get up during the air raids

An ex-Army medic who volunteered to medically train troops in Ukraine said what he saw there was “inhuman”.

First Aid At Work instructor Steve Brooks from Shepton Mallet travelled to the war-torn state to deliver life-saving equipment and skills.

The 46-year-old former Army medic was supported by local group Somerset Aid for Ukraine and his wife Tabby at home.

Mr Brooks said watching news about the conflict on his sofa when he was ill had inspired him to volunteer abroad.

“The bombing of the maternity hospital was horrendous, the schools were horrendous.

“I decided that I could be ill lying on my sofa or I could be ill helping other people, so I decided to help other people,” he added.

Mr Brooks, who previously worked for the Royal Army Medical Corps, made an official request to the Ukrainian government to fly over and help train their troops in first aid.

‘So tired’

He spent six weeks providing a course with “three of four life-saving skills” for the battlefield.

His work as an NHS responder during the pandemic had helped to refresh his first aid skills, he said.

Somerset Aid for Ukraine and Mrs Brooks helped to co-ordinate sending medical supplies, such as tourniquets and haemostatic dressings, to his station.

Mr Brooks said he was scared “all the time” but became so tired that he “couldn’t even be bothered” to wake up for air raids.

“So I just put a pillow over my head and hoped for the best.”

Image caption,

Steve Brooks spent six years in the British Army and the Royal Army Medical Corps in the 1990s

Mrs Brooks said: “The first day he told me [he wanted to travel to Ukraine] I was really angry because I was frightened, but then we got into practical mode.

“It became something he needed to do.”

“Some of the things that I saw human beings doing to other human beings will probably stay with me for the rest of my life,” Mr Brooks said.

“What’s going on in Ukraine is terrifying, but the most humbling thing I have ever been through.”

He said he still found time to listen to his local BBC Radio station while he was there.

“I always listened to BBC Radio Somerset in the mornings.

“I wanted to lighten the mood a little bit when I was over there so I would put it on and get other people involved.

“Humour keeps you going everyday. You have to laugh otherwise you won’t be able to do the job.”

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