Wounded Doncaster war hero Ben Parkinson set to leave army

Doncaster war hero Ben Parkinson is finally set to leave the army – more than 12 years after suffering horrendous injuries.

By David Kessen
Monday, 18 March, 2019, 15:04
14 Aug 2017.........Ben Parkinson, the most severely injured soldier to survive the Afghanistan war, is hiven the Freedom of Doncaster in a ceremony at the town's Mansion house this afternoon (Mon). Picture Scott Merrylees

It is understood a care package has been drawn up by organisations including the NHS, Doncaster Council and the army which will mean Ben can be looked after outside the armed forces.

Ben, now aged 34, was expected to die from his injuries after being blown up by a Taliban mine in Helmand province in Afghanistan in 2006.

He was told he would never walk again or speak again but had managed both.

But the cost of his complex medical needs led to him staying in the Army so the Ministry of Defence would be responsible for his care.

Under the proposed new arrangement, Ben could leave the army as soon as the end of this month.

Ben is unable to comment on the position at present because he is still in the forces.

However the Free Press understands that he is now very much looking forwards to leaving the army, which would enable him to become more involved with his charity work, both in Doncaster and on a wider basis.

It is understood there are positions he has not been able to take on due to still officially being a serving soldier, and although he is proud of his army career, he is ready to do other things.

He has told friends he is very happy, and getting ready for his next challenge

Ben's mother, Diane Dernie, 61, has told friends: “It has been a nine-year fight and it has gone to the wire but we finally got an agreement today and Ben leaves the Army at the end of the month.”

She has told friends of her praise for the charity Pilgrim Bandits which has supported Ben.

Under a landmark 2007 arrangement introduced by former head of the British Army, General the Lord Dannatt, severely wounded troops were allowed to remain in uniform in spite of their injuries even though there was no realistic prospect of them performing military duties again.

In return, Ben represented the Army at thousands of public functions and took on a huge burden of charity commitments.

Ben was serving with 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, when he was severely injured by a roadside bomb in the Taliban stronghold of Sangin.

His legs had to be amputated and he sustained serious damage to to his spine, skull and pelvis, cracked all of his ribs and punctured his lungs and spleen.

Initially, he was awarded just £152,000 compensation by the MoD under its statutory compensation scheme for service personnel injured in combat. Following a media campaign, this figure was increased to £570,000, used to buy a bungalow for him and fit out with specialist equipment. 

He was awarded the Freedom of Doncaster is 2017 for his charity work.