Leeds war hero seriously injured in blast set for Himalayan trek with wounded veterans
A LEEDS war hero seriously injured in an explosion in Afghanistan will help 13 sick and wounded veterans and serving soldiers on a 22-day trekking and climbing expedition in the Himalayas.
Lyndon Chatting-Walters, 28, of Bramhope, said it will be a poignant moment when the group remembers fallen comrades at the summit of Mera Peak on Remembrance Sunday.
Mr Chatting-Walters was a teenage soldier when he survived a ten-hour firefight during a mission to rescue fellow soldiers ambushed by the Taliban in Sangin province in July 2008.
His unit of the 9th Parachute Squadron of the Royal Engineers escaped, but came under fire again before the vehicle he was in was blown up by an improvised explosive device.
The force of the explosion catapulted the combat engineer 60ft into an orchard where enemy fighters were hiding during the battle.
Two US Marines were killed and seven troops, including Mr Chatting Walters, were wounded.
Mr Chatting-Walters survived crossfire and was rescued, but suffered a catalogue of injuries.
His back was broken in four places and he had a broken leg and jaw and shrapnel injuries to his groin.
He spent three weeks in intensive care during a ten-week stay in hospital.
Mr Chatting Walters said he has suffered mental health problems and was helped by the Royal British Legion funded Battle Back Centre in Shropshire for sick and injured troops.
He is now a qualified climbing and mountaineering instructor and works as a coach with Leeds Beckett University’s Carnegie Great Outdoors team.
The team design and run sport and adventure programmes and activities for injured veterans and serving soldiers at the Battle Back Centre.
Mr Chatting-Walters, said: “I’ve had my ups and downs over the years.
“In 2012 I was at my lowest. It was then that I got involved with the Battle Back Centre.
“I can genuinely say that if I hadn’t gone to the centre when I did I wouldn’t be here now. It saved my life.”
He added: “This expedition is a chance to reflect on the past and those that we have lost.
“To summit Mera Peak on Remembrance Sunday will be he highlight.
“We are doing something ground breaking on a day that is very close to all our hearts.”
The expedition is set to leave Leeds for Nepal on Thursday (Oct 25) and is due to summit the 6.476m high Mera Peak on Sunday November 11, Remembrance Day.
The expedition, which is scheduled to finish on November 19, is a joint effort between the Royal British Legion and Leeds Becket University’s Carnegie Great Outdoors.
Expedition leader Dave Bunting will be making his 15th trip to the Himalayas.
Mr Bunting, 50, of Yeadon, is outdoor development manager at Leeds Beckett University’s Great Outdoors.
Mr Bunting, who served in the army for 24 years, has vast experience of the Himalayas including leading a 2006 expedition to the west ridge of Mount Everest when climbers had to turn back just 600m from the summit due to avalanche danger.
Father-of-two Mr Bunting said: “Leading some of these brave men and women to the summit of Mera Peak will be an amazing achievement for all involved.”