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Back from the dead: Devon soldier Cayle Royce rows the Atlantic after IED blast

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 24, 2014

  • Trooper Cayle Royce lost both legs and some fingers in a devastating IED blast in Afghanistan, but has come to terms with his situation sufficiently to row the Atlantic ocean

  • Trooper Cayle Royce lost both legs and some fingers in a devastating IED blast in Afghanistan, but has come to terms with his situation sufficiently to row the Atlantic ocean

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An army sharpshooter who lost both legs and several fingers when he was blown up in Afghanistan has spoken of how he recovered to row the Atlantic ocean.

Trooper Cayle Royce, from the Light Dragoons, was severely injured when he was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) on his first tour of duty, in Helmand province in 2012.

The 27-year-old, from Dartmouth in Devon, was "clinically dead" and had to be in an induced coma for 48 days while medics battled to save his life.

On coming to, Trooper Royce said he believed the extent of his injuries had been an hallucination, and so was unaware for four days that he had lost both legs.

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But after overcoming the trauma, the fitness enthusiast willed himself to recovery, and this week completed the arduous Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. It took him and his three team mates a little over 48 days to complete the 3,000 mile race – almost the same length of time he spent in a coma following the blast some 18 months earlier.

Speaking from the finish line in Antigua, he told of how he went from near-despair in the aftermath of the blast, to sheer elation as hundreds of people lined Antigua's historic English Harbour yesterday evening to whoop and cheer the Row2Recovery team home.

He said: "I had always been keen on sport but after the blast I thought that side of my life had gone – it was over.

"I was super keen on taking part in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge but I didn't think anyone would want me on their team, that I would be too much of a liability.

"So when the team came forward and said they wanted me, that was a huge confidence boost."

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