Tag Archives: afghanistan

Cornish Wave IV

For four years now Anthony Lambert OBE has organised an informal, cathartic and hugely exciting few days down in Polzeath, Cornwall. Spinning dits, surfing and a healthy quantity of port reign supreme in what has become a regular and necessary meeting of friends.

A great grouping of wounded Royal Marines, Surf Action grafters and a few lads similar to myself comprise this wonderful lot. It really is a feature of the year and the best, most extraordinary, aspect of this meeting is witnessing the incredible progress made by lads brutally affected by war. It is absolutely inspirational to see their immense strength in adversity and optimism in place of despair. My hat goes off to you lads.

I could only stay a day so photos are limited – and I couldn’t even get in the sea!

Welcome to CW IV.











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Happy the Soldier Home

Polzeath, Cornwall

You’ll be seeing more of these guys on here soon enough – I hope.

They stand as the foundations to a rather precarious and seemingly inexhaustible project – the most of which will be comprised of images. The adopted working title is ‘Happy the Soldier Home’.

The more I study the images taken, the more I seem to lose my cognitive ability to analyse them for what they are; a group of mates heading to Cornwall to surf, drink and talk talk. But it’s more than that. They are pictures of blokes, but blokes affected by war with limbs lost and eyes scorched – or simply shot.

They are members of the Royal Marines rehabilitation unit based in Plymouth.

Whoever or whatever they are, seem to be, or other, they tolerated me, my camera and my civvy ways and for that, I am immensely appreciative.

It was an extraordinary adventure and lasted for three jaeger drenched nights and four surf sodden days.

It was necessarily great, so meet this band of blokes

Gibbo has just left the marines due to his injuries. His mates bought him a 'mini-marine' to remind him that he'd always be a bootneck

Doc's pickled eggs were a favourite

Bear lost his left leg and right arm

Gibbo lost his left leg - and some arm, and little more leg

The toasts

Jack was shot in the back and has lost a fair size of lung

Jonah is blind in right eye

Wind was passed - regularly

Matt hasn't lost his right leg - only most of his left


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Wootton Bassett

Sam and Claire Alexander are good family friends.

And Sam was a Royal Marine in 42 Commando. On 27 May this year, he and his commander, Lt Ollie Augustin, were both killed in an IED blast. They were on foot patrol in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province.

On his first tour of Afghanistan in 2009, Sam was awarded the Military Cross for saving a wounded mate. He leaves his wife, Claire, and a son yet to celebrate his first birthday.

When fallen soldiers return to England, many friends, family and well-wishers gather in Wootten Bassett to pay their respects…

…I was one of them.

Friends of Marine Sam Alexander MC, and Lt Oliver Augustin line the street

Friends of Marine Sam Alexander MC

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Hasler Company, Royal Marines

In May this year an unseen opportunity arose. It was a chance for me to meet a group of Afghan veterans, and to call them veterans is correct in every aspect but such a word certainly betrays the age of this hardened lot. All were, at this point, reluctant members of Hasler Company, the Royal Marines rehabilitation unit based in Plymouth.

Supervised and put-up by Royal Navy Surgeon Commander Anthony Lambert (‘Doc’), the lads spent a late spring, early summer weekend surfing, laughing, drinking and refining an already galavanised camaraderie. What I saw, experienced, heard and pondered in rural Cornwall has left an indelible mark on me. My civilian mindset could not – and almost refused to – adapt to the sight of tragically disfigured young men, many of whom were younger than my 22 years. Age aside, they had been to that place, to that distant conflict where heat kills, roads kill, and where every facet of their strength is strained to the limit. They were, and are older.

I am keen to remember these lads, for they allowed me, if only temporarily, an insight into a largely unknown but brilliant community. They are immensely proud and would inspire anyone of us – in the forces or on ‘civvy street’.

These photos do little justice to the weekend passed, but in the circumstances I am glad to have at least attempted to document this extraordinary time.

* I ve recently added some photos from our second visit to Polzeath. They can also be found on the post Happy the Soldier Home

Hasler Company;

Ben McBean

Ben McBean

'Gibbo' heading out

'Doc' and a fine moustache

Some photos will remain omitted, and others should have been taken…

Gibbo has just 'left' the marines. Here he looks closely at the mini 'bootneck' the guys had bought him

Making the toast



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