HIS horrific injuries are a stark reminder of the dangers faced by our forces in Afghanistan.
And ex-Royal Marine Mark Ormrod’s account of losing both legs and an arm have now won him a literary award.
The 27-year-old former commando nearly died after treading on a Taliban landmine while he was on patrol in Helmand province on Christmas Eve in 2007.
He is the war’s first British triple amputee and was presented with a prize at the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney for his book Man Down. In it the Plymouth-born dad-of-one describes his life and military career – and the horrific moment he stepped on a bomb.
Presenting the award on behalf of the Royal Marines Historical Society, its vice-president and former Royal Marine, Captain Derek Oakley said his story was ‘remarkable and deeply moving’.
Mark was unable to accept the award at the group’s annual general meeting last year because he was running a charity marathon across America to raise money for other war veterans.
After the presentation he said: ‘As awards go, it doesn’t get any better than this.
‘To receive recognition from Royal Marines in a place like this really means something, because they know what it’s like, they’ve been there.
‘I hope people take a positive message from the book, because although something terrible happened to me it’s reinforcing how much I gained from being a marine. It taught me the mental and physical strength needed to cope. Being a marine is the best job there is, and that’s what I still believe.’
Frustrated with his lack of front-line action Mark left the marines in 2003, but had second thoughts and re-enlisted as part of 40 Commando.
After being injured he went to a private clinic in the USA for treatment and physiotherapy – but was told to leave his wheelchair behind.
‘When they said that I was really scared,’ he said. ‘I was going to be alone in a foreign country and didn’t know how I was going to get around.
‘But on that day I put my wheelchair in the garage and it has stayed there ever since.’
Since meeting other amputees in America, Mark has learned to walk again, run with specialist prosthetics, and even drive a car.
Now he works raising money for other injured servicemen. He said: ‘We do get well looked after when we leave, but it’s the families who are sometimes forgotten.
‘I don’t know what I would have done without mine supporting me.’