A mother has spoken of her pride for her son who saved the lives of 20 people when he landed his Chinook helicopter safely despite being injured in a fire fight in Afghanistan.

Flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune, 28, was shot between the eyes during a battle between American and Afghan forces and heavily-armed rebels in Helmand province, near Garmsir.

He had landed to pick up casualties, despite being told it was too dangerous to land, and after the casualties were loaded on board, a bullet bounced off the front of his helmet, where night-vision goggles are attached, and went through, hitting him between the eyes causing severe bleeding.

Other bullets hit the controls, damaging the stabilisation system of the helicopter.

But Flt Lt Fortune managed to fly for eight minutes to land at Camp Bastion.

It is the first time a pilot has been shot while in the air during the Afghanistan war.

His mother Anne Fortune, of Worcester Park, said: “I’m obviously very proud of him. At the end of the day he was doing his job.

“I would say that was exactly Ian. He will stay calm. That is what they train them to do.”

She said she was proud of the whole RAF crew: “If it was not for them the helicopter probably would not have got back.

“I think he is good at his job but I am his mother.”

Her son who went to Kingston Grammar School (KGS), decided he wanted to be a pilot when he was 13 and, after going to Exeter University, he joined the RAF.

Meanwhile, Mrs Fortune has coincidentally followed her son into flight.

She worked for the Bank of England when he was deciding to become a pilot but now works for British Airways.

Nick Bond, assistant headteacher at Kingston Grammar School, said: “He has clearly saved the lives of his comrades in very difficult circumstances and displayed exemplary behaviour, kept his cool and managed to land his helicopter.

“When you knew him, it’s the sort of thing he would do.”

Flt Lt Fortune is now back at RAF Odiham after the attack on January 27.

A spokesman said: “He is fine. Obviously a little bit shaken but very proud of the good work by him and the rest of the crew.”