|Glen was a good friend...I knew him well. He got the nickname "Chapstick" as he was a medic who handed out chapsticks for sore lips. I knew him from spending a lot of time on patrol with him and he was a sweet and gentle guy with a great understanding of his job as patrol medic.
It was during an ops from Ombalantu that some of our guys ran into an old terr base and detonated some booby trapped explosives. There were some casualties and the medic on standby was sitting drinking his first beer of the evening in his PT clothes... he got called to get his kit to go out with the chopper when Chappie walked in still in his full uniform and said that he felt like going out anyway. He grabbed his kit and rifle and took off to the sick bay to get the doctor and I saw them walking to the waiting chopper on the other side of the skietwal... the chopper took off. It was late afternoon..possibly around 17h00 or 18h00.
The following details I have gleaned over the years and pieced together what might have been what happened.
Apparently they found some troops who had been injured and one killed by the boobytraps. They had stabilised the injured ons and were carrying one to the waiting chopper on a regular army canvas stretcher...Chappie at the front and the doctor behind...Chappie stepped on a vehicle size mine which would have been triggered by a anti personnel pressure plate... or smaller mine. The explosion effectively disintegrated him and killed the person on the stretcher too. The doctor behind was saved by the body on the stretcher absorbing the blast, but he suffered a lot of sand shrapnel blast and I recall him back at base in a stretcher being casevaced to Grootfontein. He was concerned about his eyes as the blast had sent sand into his face.
The doctor didnt say anything about Chappie... and none of us put two and two together at the time. We assumed that Chappie was on a chopper tending to hurt troops on the way to Oshakati or Ondangua. Later that evening at around 21h00 I was called by the company 2IC and told that "some medic, Coppard" had been killed... and asked if he was in our company.
I remember standing at the famous old baobab tree, absolutely distraught...I sat there in the dark for quite some time before I went back to the tent and told the other guys who were there. We were all good buds and the news was awful. We never found out anything about how he died.
Years later I spoke to someone who had been at Grootfontein and had processed all the killed in action bodies. He recalled a body bag coming in almost empty but for a boot with a foot in it. Other details seemed to match the bigger picture.
Chappies was from Joburg and I believe he left behind a mother and a sister. I cannot recall if his parents had separated or if his dad had died.
Glen was a good friend and we got along well. He was a really good guy.