View Full Version : Marines walk tall to defy injuries and collect medals

05-15-08, 08:25 AM
Marines walk tall to defy injuries and collect medals

Published Date: 15 May 2008
By Tom Morgan

A ROYAL Marine dubbed "Harry's hero" yesterday told how the prince had sent him a good luck message before he and a comrade collected medals for services in Afghanistan.
Ben McBean, 21, who lost an arm and a leg earlier this year, said walking up to collect his medal was the proudest day of his life.

He added that Prince Harry, who had previously paid tribute to him after they met on a flight to England, had sent him
the message on the eve of the ceremony.

Marine McBean and Marine Mark Ormrod, who also lost limbs in a landmine blast, were cheered on by thousands of family members, friends and wellwishers as they stood with their 40 Commando unit at Norton Manor Camp in Taunton, Somerset.

After the ceremony, Marine McBean, from Plymouth, told how he had kept in contact with the prince via e-mail since they flew home together in March.

Marine McBean, who has only been back walking for three weeks, said: "Today has been the proudest of my life. I've been out to battle, I got blown up and now I've got a medal in my hand to show for it."

Speaking of his friendship with the prince, he added: "We speak all the time – often about completely random things. He wished me luck for today."

Marine Ormrod, who trained alongside Harry, lost both legs and an arm when he stepped on a mine on Christmas Eve while serving in Helmand Province.

The 24-year-old, also from Plymouth, walks unaided using new "bionic" legs after three months of intensive training.

Marine Ormrod said walking up to collect his medal had always been "the driving force" behind his remarkable recovery after stepping on a landmine.

He said: "It was awesome. It was one of the biggest targets I had set myself – and to be walking for this has been such an achievement. I really had to work hard to receive my medal."

Marine Ormrod hit the headlines in April when he chatted to the prince as Harry visited a rehabilitation centre in Epsom, Surrey.

Marines from 40 Commando took on the responsibility for Battle Group North in Afghanistan's Helmand Province from September 2007 until April, where they operated from forward bases in the Gereshk and Sangin valleys. They conducted numerous operations including the taking of Musa Qala.

As the Marines gathered in front of the cheering crowd yesterday, two Harrier TR9s flew over the barracks to mark the start of the ceremony.

The troops were led past friends and family by a military band as Marine Ormrod, of Charlie Company, and Marine McBean, of Echo Company, looked on from the sidelines.

When they were escorted out to their companies with barely a stumble, to receive their medals, an huge cheer went up from the waiting crowd.


05-15-08, 09:32 AM
Date : 15.05.08

After six tough months in Afghanistan, the brave 40 Commando Royal Marines received their operational medals yesterday, watched by an audience of 2,000 friends and family.

The crowd stood and applauded, as the servicemen received their medals and remembered their three colleagues, Lieutenant John Thornton, Marine David Marsh and Corporal Damian Mulvihill, who were killed during the deployment.

Among those receving a medal was Marine Will Charters.

The 19-year-old from Exeter was hailed a hero after he was pictured carrying a wounded Afghan girl into a sickbay.

She had been brought to the marines' Sangin base by their uncle after a Taliban rocket attack.

Will had been on guard duty that day and, yesterday, spoke of his pride at being able to serve his country - although conceded his time "on leave" had been incredibly busy.

He said: "I haven't spent much time at home since I've been on leave.

"I've travelled around the world but I am pleased to have been able to be here today."

During the medals ceremony, the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Adrian Johns CBE, paid tribute 40 Commando's casualties and the many wounded.

He said: "Today is really important to get us back together again and share our stories of success."

Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Birrell, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando, said: "This day for families is hugely important to us because without their support we simply could not do the job.

"It is their letters and parcels that keep us going when times are hard and we have missed them over these past months. Today we have a chance to thank them, with the entire 40 Commando community invited to join us at Norton Manor Camp.

"The unit worked extremely hard in challenging conditions over a long period, so I am pleased that families have an opportunity to see the men presented with medals they richly deserve."

After the parade, the Commandos go on a second period of post-operational leave before returning to duty in late June.


05-16-08, 03:02 PM
Thanks for those postings Ellie.
Hope all is well with you.