Amputee soldier: I was just doing my job

Craig Winspear with (left to right) his girlfriend, Hayley Wilson, his dad, Paul, and his daughter, Shauna-Leigh. Below, Craig at the medal presentation in Oxford
Craig Winspear with (left to right) his girlfriend, Hayley Wilson, his dad, Paul, and his daughter, Shauna-Leigh. Below, Craig at the medal presentation in Oxford

AN INSPIRATIONAL soldier has spoken at length for the first time about the bomb blast which left him without his legs.

Last Christmas Eve Lance Corporal Craig Winspear woke up in a hospital bed with both of his legs amputated.

Afghan Medal - Presentation in Oxford

Afghan Medal - Presentation in Oxford

The last thing the brave 30-year-old could remember was being on patrol looking for bombs.

Moments later he was blown up.

In a desperate rush to save his life, the dad-of-one was treated at Camp Bastian before being flown back to the UK.

His devastated family were told to prepare for the very worst and that there was a chance he wouldn’t make it back alive.

Today, 11 months after the explosion which transformed Lance Corporal Winspear’s life forever and left him in a hospital bed for two months, the inspirational Hartlepool hero told the Mail: “I was just doing my job.

“It was just another day in the office for me, but it’s just a very different kind of office.”

It was Saturday, December 17, last year when the member of the 23rd Pioneer Regiment went out on a mission to search for and deactivate live bombs.

Lance Corporal Winspear was leading on the mission and had already deactivated two devices when he suddenly lost his footing, slipped down the side of a hill and landed on an active device.

The bomb exploded leaving the brave former High Tunstall College of Science student fighting for his life.

He devastatingly lost both of his legs from the knee down as well as his thumb and ring finger on the right hand in the explosion.

But despite his awful injuries, inspirational Lance Corporal Winspear, who grew up in the Burn Valley area of Hartlepool, said: “I don’t let the injuries stop me from doing things, I just find other ways to do it.

“I do get a little bit frustrated about things every now and again but I never get really down.

“There’s no point, it won’t change anything.”

He scoffed at suggestions that he is a hero, adding: “I know I have a job that saves lives but it is a job, I’m not a hero.”

While Lance Corporal Winspear was being operated on in Afghanistan, his girlfriend, Hayley Wilson, and his dad, Paul, 48, were given the devastating news about the accident and warned to prepare for the very worst.

Thankfully he pulled through.

“When I woke up in the hospital my dad and Hayley told me that I started screaming at them to get out of there, I thought I was still in Afghanistan,” explained Lance Corporal Winspear, who now lives in Befordshire and is a dad to Shauna-Leigh Winspear, 10, from a previous relationship.

Hayley said Craig’s approach to life hasn’t altered one bit.

The 32-year-old said: “Craig was always positive but we didn’t know how he was going to react when he woke up.

“But he just carried on exactly how he always has been and literally just carried on with life with his usual positivity.

“It’s unbelievable, if he can’t do things the way he used to do it he just simply finds another way of doing it.”

Lance Corporal Winspear was in hospital until February 14 this year and is still in rehab for his injuries now.