Amputee vet blown 16 feet into air after stepping on IED set to climb Ben Nevis
A British Army hero who was propelled 16 feet into the air after stepping on an IED will climb Ben Nevis with a group of fellow vets to raise money for mental health.
James Rose was patrolling a dangerous site in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, 12 years ago with a Vallon metal detector when he got a "funny feeling" about the area ahead.
Moments after telling a fellow soldier who was offering cover behind him he felt uneasy, James stepped on the pressure plate of an IED.
Rose, 35, was sent flying into the air. When he landed, the pain began.
He told the Daily Star: "At first, there was no pain. I was just in shock, screaming and shouting.
"Then after about a minute or so, that's when the agony got a hold of me.
"It was excruciating, like a blowtorch all over my body, or being hit in the face with a baseball bat."
Thankfully within just 45 minutes, James was back at HQ and receiving top-notch medical care – and plenty of painkillers.
Twenty-four hours later, he came to Birmingham.
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James said vets often talk about the "golden hour" – the crucial 60 minutes between a serious injury and lifesaving medical attention.
He explained: "If you miss that, you're done, basically.
"Luckily, I didn't."
Yet that wasn't the end of James's return to normality.
His legs were gone beneath the knee – and the mental health toll was significant.
Though his wife Naiomi and son Jake, 16, helped him get through the strife, it wasn't easy.
James said: "At that point in life, I seemed to be going around in circles.
"I was drinking a lot and had trouble with my weight.
"Looking back, I wish I had spoken up sooner."
Now, James is hoping to encourage other vets and anyone struggling with their mental health to get help.
He and a team of fellow soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment are climbing Ben Nevis on Monday September 27 to raise money for Blesma, a military charity that works to ensure limbless veterans are not failed, forgotten or left to fend for themselves.
The squad includes John Gilpin, the welfare officer who told his parents he'd stepped on the IED in 2009 – and helped James get back to his best.
That recovery has seen James serve his country in a different way now.
The ex-soldier now works security for Swindon-based company SSGC, which protects Covid test centres and helps get people back to work.
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James's new job, which he took up temporarily a year ago before being offered a permanent role, sees him serve his country in a different way now.
He said: "It feels great to help out again, just being part of the community and helping people get back to work."
The years spent in service will never fade from James's memory, he reflected, but he's happy to direct his efforts to another good cause now.
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