9/11 - The Hidden Legacy
Beyond the Immediate Atrocity
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 drew Britain's service men and women into a war 3,500 miles away. This documentary looks at the human cost 10 years on from 9/11.
Nov 5th 2008, in a military field hospital, surgeons battle to save one man's life. Royal Marine, Corporal Jay Hare has stepped on an improvised explosive device, an IED. The bomb has severed his leg below the knee, mutilated a hand and blown off much of his face. He's lost an eye and his nose.
The calm efficiency of the hospital team is evidence of more than just professionalism. Dealing with such traumatic injuries has become part of their routine. Limb loss has become one of the signatures of the Afghanistan War.
3 years after the explosion, Jay is back on his feet dealing with his injuries. But, what sort of physical and emotional readjustment is needed when one day you're a fit young man and the next you have to start rebuilding your life.
Jay lives near Arbroath with wife Lena and their two young daughters. He joined the marines a year before 9/11.When Jay went to Afghanistan in 2008, he was an experienced corporal, but while on foot-patrol in Sangin Valley his life would change.
10 years ago, military hospitals in Britain were closing. Headley Court in Surrey was a former care centre for World War II pilots. Today, it is the visual embodiment of what a decade in Afghanistan has cost in flesh & bones. All of the service men and women who've lost limbs and suffered life-changing injuries come through its doors. To get their prosthetic arms and legs cast, fitted and then to learn to use them.
Since he was blown up, Jay has made numerous visits here. From his home in Arbroath it is a 1,000 mile round trip.
The standard of care for amputees at Headley Court is world-class. But can this level of care be maintained in the outside world? As the majority of Afghanistan's wounded are still being treated within the military, promises that they'll receive comparable levels of care on the NHS are, as yet, untested. There are fears it will be left to charities to provide the extra funding.
Despite his injuries and until he's discharged, Jay is still a marine with 45 Commando. His comrades are preparing to go back to Afghanistan and are due to leave in less than a month. For 80% of the 700 men leaving, this will be their first tour.
Less than a month after Jay was injured Paul 'Baz' Barrett was to suffer some of worst injuries of the war.
His injuries included: his right leg traumatically amputated above the knee, left leg dislocated, a collapsed lung, numerous broken bones, missing fingers and the loss of his right ear and eye.
So severe were his injuries, the doctors in Afghanistan could do no more for him. He was sent to hospital in Birmingham, not expected to live.
The Royal Marines pride themselves on their fitness. They are the physical elite. They know the insurgent's IED can rob them of that which they most prize.