Brian Wood bravely risked his own life on the battlefield - but discovered another war was just beginning at home with disturbing accusations.

In 2004, the soldier led his outnumbered men in a bayonet charge at the Battle of Danny Boy, a fierce engagement in Iraq which was named after the nearby checkpoint.

After being ambushed as they drove down the Route Six road ­between Basra and Baghdad, the lance corporal got the call to leave his armoured vehicle and led a frontal assault to clear a stronghold.

Aged just 23 at the time, Brian bravely pushed his unit forward to the enemy base in the first bayonet charge in 25 years during an intense five-hour firefight, leading to 28 insurgents being killed and nine captured.

The hero was celebrated as a great example of bravery under fire and was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry, but soon he was falsely accused of war crimes.

For years, Brian and his unit were hounded with false claims of murder, torture and abuse by now-disgraced human rights lawyer Phil Shiner.

Danny Boy follows the story of Brian Wood, who led his unit into an intense battle in Iraq
Danny Boy follows the story of Brian Wood, who led his unit into an intense battle in Iraq

"That day was a five hours intense, violent battle, which in extreme circumstances decision-making had to be had," he told BBC Breakfast in February 2017.

"I was a younger command at 23-years-old thinking that what I did on the ground was the right thing to do.

"It wasn't perfect but the guys on the ground with me and I survived to get home and then to find out about these allegations was heartbreaking."

Brian, who served in the 1st Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment, was subject to scrutiny from the Iraq Historic Abuse Team, which was set up by the Government in 2010 to examine allegations against UK servicemen and women made by Iraqi civilians.

Shiner's firm, Public Interest Lawyers, brought most of the 3,392 allegations of wrongdoings by British troops to the Iraq Historic Allegations Team.

In new BBC drama Danny Boy, Shiner, who is played by actor Toby Jones, states: "British soldiers get away with murder."

Later on Brian, played by Anthony Boyle, says: "If these people want to make war a crime, it’s up to them, but I fought for my country and I’m proud of what I did."

Brian Wood with his Military Cross
Brian Wood with his Military Cross

Brian had the unwavering support of wife Lucy, but the allegations impacted the whole family - with son Bailey being told his dad was a "murderer" by cruel kids at school.

"Any soldier or veteran will tell you, reintegrating into normal conditions after being on operations is very difficult," explained Brian on Good Morning Britain in 2017.

"Then to have this inquiry over your head over such a long period of time – it swung me all over the place.

"I never knew how to deal with it. I wasn’t prepared, trained [for it]. It was like going into a battle that I was going into blind. I didn’t understand it and I was questioning myself – did I do the right thing?

"It wasn’t just me, the regiment’s name was tarnished, the British Army’s name was tarnished, me and my fellow ­soldiers were put through a horrific experience which broke a lot of people – ended careers, fuelled post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It just wasn’t fair and I was heartbroken."

Lance-corporal Brian Wood was falsely accused of war crimes after his time in Iraq
Lance-corporal Brian Wood was falsely accused of war crimes after his time in Iraq

The Al-Sweady Inquiry, named after an alleged victim, ­started its investigation into the ­allegations and ran for five years at a cost of £25million.

Shiner cross-examined Brian in November 2013 and his legal team believed his regiment had executed most of the 20 Iraqi detainees and then collected up their bodies to cover it up.

In the report published in December 2014, inquiry chairman Sir Thayne Forbes concluded that "most serious allegations" of torture and murder were "wholly without foundation and entirely the product of deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility".

He said Iraqi detainees who ­alleged they were tortured, abused and subjected to mock ­executions had given evidence that was "unprincipled in the ­extreme" and "wholly without ­regard to the truth".

Shiner was found to have drummed up cases against troops by paying Iraqi middlemen to cold-call potential complainants in Iraq.

In 2017, he was struck off the roll of solicitors in the UK for gross ­misconduct during the trial and falsification of certain cases.

British lawyer Phil Shiner represented the Iraqi families
British lawyer Phil Shiner represented the Iraqi families

The Iraq Historic Abuse Team was shut down that year, with veterans minister Mark Lancaster saying IHAT was set up for the right reasons but was "completely abused" by lawyers.

Brian admitted the closure of IHAT was "good news" as holes in the system had been exploited, as well as revealing it contributed to post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said it would have been better for the team to consider allegations in detail first before releasing them as part of a public inquiry.

"I can speak for me and my soldiers and what they've put us through for that period of time, it was damaging to a degree of careers, marriage split ups and also fuelling the fire of PTSD and the trauma that we had seen on the battlefield… just to get these allegations thrown at you is a bitter pill to swallow," he told the BBC.

More than 3,500 allegations of abuse have been taken up by the team since 2010, despite many cases not having any credible evidence, said the Defence Committee Report.

Brian Wood is played by Anthony Boyle and Phil Shiner by Toby Jones
Brian Wood is played by Anthony Boyle and Phil Shiner by Toby Jones

It described a "catalogue of serious failings", including service personnel and veterans being contacted unannounced and covert surveillance apparently being used on serving and retired members of the armed forces.

Now rebuilding his life, Brian wrote a book about his experience titled Double Crossed and is thrilled his story is being turned into a BBC drama.

The action goes from the battlefield to the courtroom as two men go head to head in a legal and moral conflict.

The description reads: "Memory, evidence and trauma collide, as Brian finds himself caught on the fine line between war and unlawful killing.

"After his service in Iraq and years of legal investigation, will he ever be able to look his family in the eye again and be the husband, father, and son, they need him to be?"

Danny Boy airs tonight on BBC
Danny Boy airs tonight on BBC

Executive producers Colin Barr and Sue Horth wanted to give a sense of being in Brian’s boots on the ground in Iraq, but also seeing those events through the eyes of people who believe bad things could have happened.

They said: "When we first came across Brian’s experience, we said to each other, just imagine being a war hero, and at the same time, being accused of war crimes. What does that feel like, as a man and a father, and what does it say about what we ask of our soldiers, and the choices they have to make in combat?

"And then, imagine that soldier is part of a family with 300 years of military history in its bones, including his own father who’s also served. That relationship between a father and son, both steeped in soldiering, is a story we rarely see in drama.

"We were also fascinated by the legal scrutiny, the grounds for suspicion and investigation, and the difficulty reconstructing a definitive picture from fragmented evidence - always the challenge with prosecution, but especially in war."

*Danny Boy airs tonight on BBC One at 9pm