‘Hero’ loses limbs after landmine explosion

Giles Duley
Giles Duley

A PHOTOGRAPHER has had both his legs and an arm blown off after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan.

Giles Duley, was with US troops in Kandahar when the bomb exploded.

The 39-year-old initially intended to cover the plight of bomb victims while working as a freelancer for the Camera Press agency but snapped up the chance to join frontline troops in Afghanistan.

He had been in the war-torn country for less than two weeks when he was wounded.

Mr Duley was flown back to the UK following the accident, which happened last Monday (February 7) and underwent further treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

He lost one leg below the knee, the other leg above the knee and his left arm has been severed above the elbow.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Mr Duley’s brother David said: “Giles has been through an extremely traumatic experience over the past week.

“His injuries are severe and complex but his doctors assure us his progression is as would be expected.

“It will be a long road ahead for Giles but knowing him as we do we are sure he will face this enormous challenge with the determination he has always demonstrated.”

His friends praised him for his resilience and humour, despite his crippling injuries.

Josh Cleveland, from New York, said: “Giles is my best friend and personal hero, and an amazing individual who risks, literally, life and limb for his beliefs.

“His life’s work is dedicated to telling the stories of conflict, and most importantly the victims of such conflicts, with eloquence and respect, stories that without him would go untold.”

“Unfortunately, more often than not, his principles have placed himself in harm’s way. This time he has paid dearly for such dedication.”

Sue Stoten, landlady of the Hastings Arms, where Mr Duley worked, said she was ‘completely devastated’ by the news.

She said: “Giles is full of strength and character and self-esteem, so talented and unique so I know this is not going to stop him in any way. He will just become stronger than ever because that’s just the way he is.

“He has a huge personality and that’s why I know he will be all right.

“The Hastings Arms is his home whenever he is in Hastings and the whole of the Old Town has been touched by the news.

“Photographers have already come in wanting to send their regards to him.”

Mr Duley had a leaving party at the George Street pub on January 26, the day before he went out to Afghanistan.

A fund has been set up at the pub to raise money for his recovery, with £300 already being donated by well-wishers.

Mr Duley’s friends plan to hold a beach party in the summer for him and Miss Stoten and her sister Hazel are running the Hastings Half Marathon next month, as well as the Brighton Half Marathon to raise money for his recovery.

Mr Duley lived in High Street in Old Town for eight years before moving to London two years ago.

He planned to move back to Hastings in March following his stint in Afghanistan and launch a magazine charting the war.

Mr Duley spent 10 years as a photographer in the fashion and music industries in both the USA and Europe before focusing on humanitarian projects.

He has worked with Medecins sans Frontieres, as well as other charities.

His work has been exhibited and published worldwide in publications like Vogue and the Sunday Times.

He ran the tough Marathon des Sables across the Sahara desert in 2007, a six-day gruelling race, to raise money for research into Alzheimer’s disease following the death of his mother from dementia.