Saturday, March 6, 2010

Soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan wants to return to frontline

A soldier who lost both legs in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan has declared he would go back to the frontline tomorrow.


L/Cpl James Simpson, 23, became a double amputee and had part of a hand blown off when he triggered the device in Helmand Province last November during his second tour of the country as a sniper.

He was left with terrible injuries and has spent months in hospital recovering.

He also told how he wanted to walk again on his new artificial legs by the time of his 24th birthday in July and has astonished his family by already beginning the painstaking process.

L/Cpl Simpson, from Leeds, West Yorks, who met Prince Harry in Afghanistan, said: "I love Afghanistan and I would go back tomorrow. I enjoy being a soldier and being the best soldier I can be.

"I wouldn't change a thing. Someone could have stepped on it after me. I might have stepped over it and the person behind me could have done it.

"Your life is not over. It is a new challenge. I am still me and that is the most important thing. I want to be out there. A lot of my friends are still out there and I just wish that I could be with them.

"I was born to be in the Army and everything I have ever done with them I have just thrown myself into and done well.

"I really want to stay in the Army but at the moment with the technology I won't get back out on the front line.

"The Army has given me different morals about how things should be done and I have experienced things that some people will never get the chance to experience. It is the best thing I have ever done. I am still the same person.

"I lost my legs but I have not lost my marbles."

Recalling the terrible blast which happened at the end of a six-hour patrol, the inspirational soldier said: "I remember being rolled over because I had ended up on my front. That was the first time I saw everything. I checked my right leg first. My foot was gone and the bone in my leg was pointing upwards.

"My left leg was also gone and it looked like my hand had just gone. My first reaction was that I needed help.

"The lads started working on me and put ligatures around my legs to stop me losing blood. Without hesitation they bandaged both my legs and hand and gave me morphine injections."

Within minutes James was taken by helicopter to Camp Bastion, where he was put in an induced coma and taken the next day to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

He was in Selly Oak for nine weeks before he was moved to Headley Court, the defence rehabilitation unit, near Surrey.

When he was moved he was given a pair of small false legs called stubbies but now he has a more sophisticated leg with a knee joint.

His mother, Pauline Rogers, 51, said: "You just can't put it into words how I felt about what happened to James. Nothing prepares you for it. Prior to the explosion we spoke about what would happen if he died and came back in a box and what music he would want at his funeral.

"For some reason you never think about them coming back injured. You can lose a parent or someone older but nothing can prepare you for the injuries of a child. It is the worst thing in my whole life."

L/Cpl Simpson, who will continue to be treated at Headley Court before returning home, saluted the life-saving treatment he had from his soldier colleagues.

"It was absolutely amazing. The people on the ground didn't hesitate and some of the people I have never spoke to worked so hard to save my life they were people in their late teens.

"One of the lads that saved my life got shot two days later and ended up in the next bed to me in hospital. I said thank you to him."


  1. Having spent 6 years in the military, I truly do not know if I would have had the honor, courage and determination to do the things I hear about almost daily from the allied Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan such as L/Cpl Jame Simpson.

    Truly inspiring knowing their are soldiers of his calibre prepared to give their all for both the Afghanistan people and for the security of the region.

    Thank you


  2. Lance Corporal James Simpson will always be a hero to me. I am so very proud of you!

    Welcome Home, and thank you for your service. America is proud of you!

  3. Some people are born to be in the Army - and L/Cpl Simpson is obviously one of those people..however, whilst I agree with Kevin (above), I also feel as a mother of two serving soldiers..that he has done enough on the frontline..he can still be a soldier..but perhaps he now has to think 'closer to home' and that of 'self sacrifice' - think now of his mother - as a mother I expect she will support your wishes...but life is not just about you.

    In saying that, I will never be able to put into words what I feel when I see amputees with a smile on their face especially after what they have been through - so proud and humble that they are so STRONG - some are stronger than other and like you..many do not feel that their life has ended - it is a different begining. Either way I wish you and your family well.

  4. A truly humbling story.

    This really does drive home the outstanding bravery of soldiers like L/Cpl Simpson, and the **utter cowardice** of the Taliban.

  5. Good to hear that you are coping but stay away from Afghanistan.

  6. I,m in awe of men as yourself, you are a truly remarkable man!! Thank you for your service.
    I have a son, who is in afganistan, at time, between there & Iraq 4 different times now, I here he will be coming home shortly, & then stationed in Belgiam, I,m so proud of him as I am of all you guys who have experienced the pains & agony of these wars we have been engaged in, however & thru all of this we must stop this terrorism, its adverse effect on our societys is far too devestating & must be stopped. I wish you well my friend,you are a true warrior. ken from gridley,caifornia!!!

  7. Dear Lance Corporal James Simpson,

    You are such an incredible young man. And yes, a hero of greatest proportions. Your beautiful face and spirit have left an indelible imprint on my mind and in my heart. Thank you for your service to your country, to the people of Afghanistan. and to the world. I have read such great things about the British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and will be forever grateful to each and every one. God bless you. I believe you will "always be a soldier".
    Jan D. Minnesota, USA

  8. Thank you all for your comments about James. I am am his dad, and was very proud of him before his injuries, and more so now. Its your supportive comments that keep the families of those still out there, those injured, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice going.