Taliban rocket narrowly missed Prince Harry in Afghan tour, book reveals

Britain's Prince Harry performs a pre-flight check on his Apache Helicopter after starting his 12 hour VHR (very high ready-ness) shift at the British controlled flight-line in Camp Bastion, southern Afghanistan in this photograph taken on November 1, 2012. © John Stillwell
Prince Harry narrowly escaped death or injury by a Taliban rocket fired on a British military base during his army tour in Afghanistan, a new book has revealed.

Sergeant Tom Pal, 37, from an anti-tank platoon, recounts how the prince, 31, was at forward base Dwyer, a desert outpost six miles from the front line, when the rocket struck.

Harry’s brush with death has been made public for the first time, following the publication of the book ‘Coldstream Guards, 10 Years in Afghanistan.’

In the book, Pal describes how he and Harry, who is third in line to the British throne, were talking when the rocket hit nearby.

I remember one afternoon before evening scoff or a gurkha curry was on, I was sitting chatting with both Captain Russell and Prince Harry about random stuff when the camp was hit by a Chinese 107mm rocket … whoosh, bang, wallop.

We had been attacked and we just looked at each other and Captain Russell mentioned we’d better put our body armor and helmet on. Bit late, but we did.”

Pal told the Times the rocket struck about 60 meters from where they were sitting.

“That’s pretty close,” he said. “At that time of year where we were working, it was pretty mental. Various checkpoints were getting attacked every single day. It wasn’t anything new — the thing that was new was that you were sat next to a royal, chatting, random stuff. Then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose.”

During his second tour of Afghanistan Harry served as a crewman on Apache helicopters. He caused controversy by once comparing his job as a co-pilot/gunner to playing a computer game.

While no UK Apaches were ever acknowledged to have been brought down by enemy action, they were regularly hit with small arms fire in both Afghanistan and Libya.

In Helmand Province in 2014, one was forced to make a precautionary landing after it was hit by a bird.