Peter battles back and dives deep for soldiers

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A ROYAL Anglian soldier who suffered crippling fractures to both legs while training for a tour of duty has become one of the first injured servicemen to achieve an open water sub aqua instructor’s qualification.

Peter Wesley, 28, from Barrow, joined the pioneering rehabilitation scheme run by the Army Sub Aqua Diving Association (Asada), the Army’s branch of the British Sub Aqua Club.

Peter and Brad Hughes, who was injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, were dive buddies on the course and have both qualified to teach other injured servicemen the scuba diving skills.

Both were discharged from the Army on medical grounds but Peter now has a new job working as a part time gamekeeper and for his father’s fencing company.

He said: “It was awful because all my mates were getting ready to go to Afghanistan and I was doing nothing. It just seemed so wrong to suddenly not be in that team, getting ready for what we had trained for all that time, and that is what broke me the most.

“I went from training to fight in a battlefield one day to sitting in a room doing nothing the next day so the offer of diving with Asada gave me something to strive for.”

Peter, who is married to Germaine with a baby daughter, Paige, aged seven months, added: “It has given me new qualifications but probably more important than that is that it has given me a different way of life, a new passion which I can get stuck into and enjoy, just like the buzz I used to get out of being a soldier.

“And this qualification means I can give something back, help other soldiers learn to dive and realise that the excitement in life doesn’t stop just because you are injured.

“As soon as you drop into the water you don’t have a care in the world and you can’t think of anything else.

“I’ve had a lot of mates injured in Afghan and to be able to do something for them is more rewarding than the diving itself.”

Expeditions are organised to Malta and Cyprus through the Battle Back project with funding from the Help for Heroes charity.