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.
James took the pressure plate from an IED and stepped on it, moments after telling a soldier behind him that he felt uneasy.
Rose, 35, was taken into the air. After he landed, the pain started.
The Daily Star asked him: “At first there was no pain. I was in shock, shouting and screaming.
“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.
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.”
James hopes to inspire other vets and anyone who is struggling with their mental health.
On Monday, September 27, James will join a group of soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment to climb Ben Nevis to raise funds for Blesma. Blesma helps ensure that limbless veterans don’t feel abandoned, neglected, or forgotten.
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.
James is now serving his country in an entirely different manner after that recovery.
Ex-soldier James now works security for SSGC in Swindon, which helps people return to work and protects Covid testing centres.
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James’s new job is something he did temporarily one year ago, before being offered a permanent position. It allows him to serve his country in an entirely different manner.
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.