A YOUNG soldier who had both legs blown off in Afghanistan has spoken for the first time of the terrifying incident.
Fusilier Shaun Stocker was on foot patrol with the 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh in Babaji on April 10 when he stepped on a pressure plate bomb.
Speaking from Headley Court in Surrey where he is undergoing rehabilitation, Shaun told the Leader: “I was conscious when it happened and my legs were blown off straight away.
“But I couldn’t see anything as I was blinded instantly.”
Shaun, who is nearly 20, described how he had found another type of bomb with a metal detector and was heading back when he stepped on the pressure plate.
Shaun, from Rhostyllen said: “I was looking at the floor and it blew my glasses and helmet off.
“I can just remember a big bang in my face and then hitting the deck and then it seemed to go quiet.
“I remember shouting for my mates to make sure they knew where I had landed.
“Two of my lads ran up to put a tourniquet around my wounds.
“I was pretty scared and drifting in and out of consciousness.
“I knew my legs had gone because I couldn’t feel anything from the hips down.
“Later I heard them saying ‘double amputee’ so I knew.”
Shaun was airlifted to Camp Bastion within minutes and the day after was flown over to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
As well as losing both legs above the knee joints, the teenager dislocated and fractured his shoulder, lost his little finger, got shrapnel wounds in his arms, lost his left eye and only has limited vision in his right eye.
But Shaun, who went to the former Bryn Offa High School which is now Ysgol Clywedog, said he is determined to get well again and has come to terms with what has happened.
“All I can plan is to get better,” said Shaun, who is in a wheelchair.
“They (the army) said there is a job there for me but I just want to get better for now.
“I have some vision in my right eye so I have to learn to use that.
“You don’t realise how much you use your sight. It’s like I will have to learn new skills.”
He said the immense support from his family has kept him going.
“My family were there from day one and there was someone there for me every single day.
“My friends have been amazing and I’ve been having about 15 visitors at a time.
“They have helped make me stronger.”
Shaun described the medical treatment he has been receiving as “brilliant.”
He added: “The nurses would do anything for you, I can’t thank them enough.”
The rehabilitation process will take many months and Shaun is allowed home to his family in Rhostyllen from Friday to Sunday each week.
Shaun received a Campaign Medal from the Queen last month, which he described as “such an honour.”
He told the Queen he hoped to get prosthetic limbs in the coming months.
At the time his mum Jenny Stocker said she was the “proudest parent in the world” because her son had fought to stay alive.
Shaun joined the Army at 16 and was on a five-month tour of duty in Afghanistan from December to April this year.
He was only six days from the end of his tour when he was injured.
See full story in the Leader