Corporal Tom Neathways’ life changed forever in July 2008 while on active service in Afghanistan. He was caught in a bomb blast and unfortunately lost an arm and both legs above the knee. Resilient Tom though is focussed on one ambition at the moment, to return to serve on the front line in Afghanistan.
The paratrooper was on patrol in Kajaki when he moved a sandbag blocking a hole in the wall. This triggered the detonator of a hidden improvised explosive device – IED. He describes the blast as like being hit by a hard rugby tackle and can recall looking down to see “both feet were gone” and his “left arm hanging off.” After being flown back to England he spent four weeks in intensive care during which time his heart stopped beating three times. Tom received work injury compensation from the military for his injuries. He has used this work injury compensation to buy a house and have it specially adapted to his needs. He has also had a Porsche Carrera sports car adapted so that he can drive it.
Tom’s aim now is to become the most severely injured soldier to return to the front line. He hopes to persuade military chiefs to let him return as a sniper, because the rifle they use can be operated with one hand. Also, in the hills of Kajaki there is slim chance of the Taliban overrunning his position.
As well as doing a solo parachute jump to highlight his ability to the military top brass – “even if the instructors have to lob me out of the back [of the plane]” he states of this activity – he is also raising money for the Afghanistan Trust by taking part in the Sport Relief Mile.