Stories about people
Howard Bentham and Tom Neathway
"Just crack on" - a soldier's courage
25 year old Corporal Tom Neathway lost both legs and his left arm fighting in Afghanistan, but is already skiing, and planning to take his first sky-dive.
Corporal Tom Neathway, from Worcester, was on active service in Afghanistan when he was seriously injured by a booby-trap bomb- he lost both his legs and his left arm as a result of the explosion.
He has steadfastly refused to let his injuries ruin his life, and has already been skiing, as part of an army programme to help soldiers who've been severely injured.
Corporal Tom Neathway
He told Howard Bentham at Breakfast on BBC Hereford & Worcester about the explosion that almost cost him his life:
"I was on a patrol in Afghanistan on 22 July 2008, and I moved into an ‘overwatch’ position, because I was doing sniping.
"We cleared a compound with metal detectors, which usually pick up any mines, and we were given the all clear.
"I lifted up a sandbag that was in the way, and that’s what detonated the devise, so it was a booby trap, and that's where I got injured.
"I remember everything that happened - I realised straight away that I was badly injured.
"I knew that I'd lost both of my legs, but I still had my left arm, but that was pretty damaged…
"My medic ran straight over and he applied tourniquets to my legs and arm, and they evacuated me out."
He was taken to the intensive care unit at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where he almost died during a series of operations.
Once he had fought off the infections that threatened his life, he was sent to Headley Court, a rehabilitation centre run by the MOD.
In spite of the extent of his injuries, he has a remarkably positive attitude to the future:
"I was slightly annoyed for about ten minutes, not long – it's gone, it's not going to come back, so there's no point dwelling on it - you may as well just crack on with things, and get on with it."
He has set himself a series of goals, including a tandem sky-dive:
"My first goal was to walk again, and then to be able to walk on my long prosthetic legs for my medal parade in November.
"All the goals I've set myself I've achieved so far, and the one that I'm in the process of doing right now is returning to work, and I'm just waiting for adaptations to be made at my work, and then I'll go there."
He'll be working in army intelligence, using the reconnaissance skills he developed as a sniper.
last updated: 10/07/2009 at 08:15