by Yorkshire Voice team
Horrific scenes of soliders losing limbs in dramatic explosions is something army reservists need the stomach to handle.
So to make their training as realistic as possible at Catterick Garrison, real amputuees are drafted in – with all the special effects you’d expect to see on a film set.
The team here at Yorkshire Voice spent the weekend at Wathgill Camp earlier this month to see first hand what the reservists are put through.
Here is a video of the reserve army exercise at Catterick Garrison with actors from Amputees in Action. PLEASE NOTE: the situation below is a just an exercise and not a real situation and contains violent and graphic footage.
We met the actors involved in this training excercise, who shared their emotional stories about their amputations – and their reasons behind their involvment with the reseverists.
A biker woke up in the morgue after being pronouced dead following a head on collison with a car.
Ray Bays, had been working at a power station in Kent when he was knocked off his motor cycle by a car whilst riding home from work.
He said: “Everything went black. Then I saw a bright white light at the end of a tunnel and an old woman, wearing an old nurse uniform. She took my hand and said to me ‘I know it hurts but it’s not your time yet, you have to go back.’ Then I woke up screaming in the morgue.”
He was then sent to a specialist in Middlesex where his left leg had to be amputated and his right arm rebuilt with metal nuts and bolts.
A year ago Mr Bays was unemployed following his recovery until he was approached in a supermarket by a representative from Amputees In Action, an independent agency who provide amputee actors for film and television as well as emergency and military training.
He said: “I was in the cheese aisle of Asda and I almost told them to get lost. But then I thought about it and called the next day and now here I am doing it five days a week.”
He said he was inspired to help the army training after his son served with served in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province for three years.
He added: “I enjoy the job, it’s very rewarding. I’m lucky enough to still have my son, so my involvement with Amputees in Action might help save the lives of other soldiers. Life’s good, even with one leg.”
On the day Mr Bays was acting as a wounded soldier after an explosion in a cook house. He said :“My recruit failed on me during the drill because he didn’t check my breathing rate or pulse – if you give morphine to someone whose breathing rate is lower than ten it can kill them.”
Another amputee, 35-year-old Will Scott from Cumbria, has been with Amputees in Action for 10 years, after losing his leg to bone cancer.
Though he triumphed over the disease, Mr Scott admitted that he has often been the victim of cruel and abusive taunts about his missing leg.
He said: “Adults can be offensive, I have been called horrible comments like, cripple and peg leg.”
Despite the success of the London Paralympic Games in 2012 increasing awareness of the disabled, Mr Scott often finds he has no choice but to simply ignore the vicious comments.
He also admits that he prefers talking to children about his disability rather than adults.
He added: “Adults tend to stare, but children are great. They are inquisitive and like asking questions.”
Mr Scott has credited his job with Amputees in Action with helping him to overcome his depression about his disability.
He said: “When doing this work, I always have more of a good day than a bad day. In this job we’re all in the same boat so it’s the best kind of therapy.”
With the aid of a special effects team, make-up artists and prosthetics, the team are able to create graphically realistic scenarios to help train recruits with treating casualties.
He added: “We take what we do all over the world and we provide such realistic scenarios. The most satisfying thing for me is that we are helping medics save lives. I am incredibly proud of what we are doing.”