Mumbai terror casualty joins navy reserves

SURVIVOR Harnish Patel
SURVIVOR Harnish Patel
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HE was badly injured in a terrorist attack – but unstoppable Harnish Patel has signed up to fight for his country as a Royal Navy Reservist.

Harnish was shot through the legs and chest in the Mumbai massacre in which almost 200 people died in November 2008.

Doctors were astonished by his rapid recovery and his sheer determination has seen him take part in countless marathons, half marathons and 10km races.

Now he has achieved another ambition. He has completed his phase one, two weeks of training at HMS Raleigh, in Plymouth, meaning that he is almost ready to put himself in the line of fire again, this time fighting for his country.

The 31-year-old surveyor, from Southsea, said: ‘My family are a little bit nervous after what happened in Mumbai.

‘A few people wondered why I would put myself in that position again. But when it happened I said it would not change anything, especially my ambitions.

‘In 2000, I got through the recruitment process for the University of London Officers Training Corps but I had an accident which meant I couldn’t actually take part in the fitness test.

‘So I went through university and on to a career as a surveyor.

‘This is my career now and my future but I wanted a real challenge and stimulation and that’s what the Reserves provide me with. It offers personal development, adventure and an amazing experience.’

Mr Patel spends one evening a week and one weekend a month training at HMS King Alfred on Whale Island.

Once he has decided which specialism he wants to go into and has completed training he can be deployed for up to six months.

On July 9 he will proudly join 200 other part-time sailors as they parade through Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, exercising their right to march through the city for the first time.

It is the first time the unit has exercised its right to march in Portsmouth since it was awarded the Freedom of the City by Portsmouth City Council in 2003.