03 December 2008

Pictures of Courage: The Heroes of 2 Para

Led out by 25-year-old Lance Corporal Tom Neathway, who lost both legs and an arm in Afghanistan, wounded paratroopers head out to meet their Colonel-in-Chief Prince Charles.

Lance Corporal Tom Neathway stands to receive a medal from the Prince of Wales.

Pictures of courage: Britain's injured war heroes struggle to their feet to be honoured by Charles and Camilla
By Andrew Levy
3 December 2008

After serving in the terrifying battleground of southern Afghanistan, his extraordinary bravery was already beyond question.

But there was one more heroic deed paratrooper Lance Corporal Tom Neathway needed to perform – taking a few precious steps yesterday to collect his campaign medal from his Colonel-in-Chief, Prince Charles.

The achievement was all the more poignant because it was the first time his parents had seen him walk since he lost both legs and an arm to a booby trap in July.

Lance Corporal Neathway, 25, from Worcester, only received his prosthetic legs last month and had been practising every day in preparation for yesterday’s ceremony.

He said afterwards: ‘As soon as I was injured, one of the first things I decided to do was work towards walking today. I walked and I am happy. I have the same life as before, only I am in a wheelchair – that’s it.’

The regiment endured some of its fiercest fighting since the Second World War during its battles with the Taliban. Lance Corporal Neathway’s unit, 2 Para, lost nine soldiers and six other servicemen attached to it – more than any other unit in Afghanistan or Iraq.

The other injured men were Private Dan O’Callaghan, Private Dave Tatlock, Lance Corporal Mike Lewis, Lance Corporal Terry Byrne, Private Mick Day, Private Karl Clutton, Private Alfie Pope and Private Russell Brandt.

The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall spent an hour talking to the soldiers and presenting them with their medals before joining them at a reception.

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