10 Nov 2013

Remembrance Sunday

They are the living who cheated death. Advances in technology and the skills of battlefield surgeons are seeing badly wounded soldiers survive where once they would have died. While 446 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, thousands more have been wounded – hundreds of whom have returned blinded or limbless. Many will attend parades and services around the country today. For Remembrance Sunday is not only about the fallen, it is also about those who live with the wounds of war.

Marine Mark Ormrod, 30, Royal Marines. Wounded when he stood on an IED during a patrol in Afghanistan in 2007. Married with three children, he lives in Plymouth.

“I was deployed to Afghanistan in September 2007. My role as an infantryman was to dominate the ground around our area of responsibility and take the fight to the enemy. I was injured on Christmas Eve. We had been tasked with another foot patrol-it was more of a patrol to keep momentum going, a show of presence. We came to the end of the first leg of the patrol, and we were ready to come back into the camp. I was getting onto my stomach to get into a fi re position, so I could give cover to the other guys, when I stood on and detonated an IED. It created a huge cloud of sand and dust, so I couldn't initially see anything, but I could hear everything that was going on... I'd sustained severe injuries to both my legs and my right arm, which were later amputated.

It is irritating that people avoid me when I'm walking down the street. I see a lot of parents in the distance, the kid will see me before the parent does and then their parent will see me, and they'll drag the kid off and veer away from me. They don't want their kid to ask questions, they think that will embarrass me. But I wear shorts and a T-shirt every day-if I was embarrassed I wouldn't come out, I'd wear a long-sleeved jumper with a pair of trousers. But there are also a lot of people who are completely different; they ask me what's happened and they appreciate the honesty with the children, because the children have to know.

The Independent