Explorer David Hempleman-Adams to lead wounded soldiers on a challenge of a lifetime
Three wounded soldiers planning to walk in the footsteps of Scott of the Antarctic to the South Pole were wished well by the Prince of Wales yesterday.
Team leader Captain Adam Crookshank, of Devizes, Wiltshire, joined Corporal Robbie Harmer, Lance-Corporal Nick Webb and other members of the team at Charles’s London home, alongside other members of the team, who will be co-led by one of the world’s most experienced explorers David Hempleman-Adams, of Box, Wiltshire.
The adventurers begin their four-week trek to the geographic South Pole on November 19, dragging sleds, filled with food and equipment, 140 miles across the ice, just as Scott and his team did 100 years ago in 1912.
Captain Crookshank, who was showered with shrapnel when a mortar exploded a few feet from his head in 2010, injuring his right arm and face, said he and his men were relishing the challenge.
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“I’ve been trying not to get excited about it until a month ago when I realised this is really going to happen,” said the 29-year-old army officer.
“To come here is tremendous. I cannot really quantify it. I’ve respected the Prince of Wales for my entire life and to have him saying to me ‘Well done, you’re a good guy’, just knocks you away.”
The soldiers have a strong connection with Scott’s 1912 expedition as Captain Lawrence Oates, was a member of their unit and he, like them, was also wounded in action. Oates won near-legendary status 100 years ago when he sacrificed himself in a vain attempt to save the final three members of Scott’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition.
He had served with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, which was amalgamated into what later became the Royal Dragoon Guards.
He carried a war wound – a bullet injury from the Boer War that left him walking with a limp.
Funds will be raised from the trip, with the proceeds going to Walking with the Wounded, which has been supported by Prince Harry, and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
There will be little rest for the three soldiers after their gruelling trek, as they will be redeployed back to Afghanistan within days of arriving back in mid-December.
Mr Hempleman-Adams said the men were in great shape after training in Norway.
The adventurer, who has led 20 expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic and is also a record-breaking balloonist, said: “They are like sponges – you only have to tell them once, you don’t have to tell them again.
“And what’s better is they have been training really hard, they will be carrying me.”