War hero to take part in veteran games

A former Army explosives expert who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan will be competing in the Veteran Games in Israel.

Clive Smith playing wheelchair rugby at a previous Invictus Games
Clive Smith playing wheelchair rugby at a previous Invictus Games

Lance Corporal Clive Smith, from Shrewsbury, was leading a ten-man patrol from 33 Engineer Regiment searching for buried bombs in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand in 2010.

The then 25-year-old, previously from Cannock, stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) and subsequently lost both his legs above the knee.

Clive on active duty in Afghanistan

Recalling the aftermath, the 36-year-old said: “It’s not at all like you see in films. Nothing goes in slow motion. It all happens so quickly.

“I stepped, was flung into the air, landed back into my own crater and had no idea what had happened.

“Trying to see, hear, stand up and unable to do any of those things, I realised it was me who had been hit, and my instinct was to get on the radio to the rest of my patrol.

“Three days later I woke up in a hospital bed in the QE (hospital) Birmingham.”

Clive Smith playing wheelchair rugby at a previous Invictus Games

The Veteran Games recognise the fundamental role played by sport and family in supporting the ongoing recovery of veterans who have suffered physical and psychological challenges as a result of serving their country.

First held in 2019, 65 British wounded, sick and injured Armed Forces veterans will travel with their families to compete against their Israeli counterparts who are battling identical challenges.

Veterans will go head-to-head in a variety of sports while learning how their respective countries provide care for those wounded, sick and injured in the service of their country.

In 2015 Smith re-mortgaged his house to pay for a £90,000 medical procedure which allows him to walk with bionic legs.

The process, known as osseointegration, involves having titanium rods bonded to his bones and artificial legs screwed on and gives amputees the sensation of walking naturally.

Smith, a beneficiary of the FELIX Fund which has supported him during his journey, said: “I am really looking forward to competing in Israel with other veterans who have been through similar experiences.

“Taking part in something like this really helps with the recovery process – it is a great opportunity.”

This year’s Veteran Games and Conference will take place from May 29 to June 3 in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel.

Clive smith

Families will also have the chance to meet and share common experiences in a relaxed and supportive environment while enjoying social activities and cultural events.

The Veteran Games is the first of its kind and funded entirely by philanthropic donations.

Leading rehabilitation and armed forces charities have nominated beneficiaries and, where applicable, families that they feel would particularly benefit from this event.

They include Rock2Recovery, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, The Not Forgotten Association, The Royal Marines Charity, The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, Veterans Scotland, FELIX Fund, SSAFA, Blind Veterans UK, Poppy Scotland and RBL Scotland.

The Games will be held at a pioneering state-of-the-art facilities run by the charity Beit Halochem, which offers rehabilitation, sports and recreation centres and lifelong care for disabled veterans and their families in Israel.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News