THE father of a corporal who died from injuries sustained in a roadside bomb attack has revealed his son was just a few weeks away from coming home from Afghanistan.
Cpl Jack Stanley, a 26-year-old section commander, died earlier this week after two months in hospital.
Mr Stanley, 66, said the former Todmorden High School pupil was just 300 metres away from his base when he came under fire from Taliban forces on February 3.
The soldier dropped to one knee to return fire, but as he stood up again triggered an improvised explosive device.
Mr Stanley said: “He said to me he had heard the explosion, but didn’t know it was him who had been hurt.
“He looked at his feet and saw his boots were on the wrong way, and that’s when he realised it was him.”
Another soldier, Ben Stotten, tried to take a stretcher to him and stood on a second IED.
His attempt to rescue Cpl Stanley, whom he did not even know, also cost him his legs.
Cpl Stanley was taken to Camp Bastion, and then flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham. But he suffered an infection, and died nine weeks later.
After being brought back to the UK following his injury Cpl Stanley was kept in an induced coma, but later regained consciousness.
Despite his horrific injuries, which included the loss of both legs and four fractures to his pelvis, doctors were optimistic he would recover.
His father said Cpl Stanley remained stoic about his situation.
He had many visitors, including Ben Stotten, the soldier who tried to rescue him.
Mr Stanley said: “We showed Ben a picture of Jack and he said he remembered him from camp. He wanted to see him to say he had no hard feelings.
“Ben and another young soldier, Andrew, who served under Jack and had also lost his legs, would visit him. They would come and show him their stumps and their wheelchairs and joke with him that it would be him soon.
“Jack used to sparkle a bit when Ben and Andy came down, even though it was difficult for him to even open his eyes.”
Another visitor to Jack’s bedside was Gavin and Stacey star Ruth Jones, who was visiting injured soldiers at the hospital.
“Jack watched Gavin and Stacey, Fat Friends and Stella. She came in through the door, and the first thing she said to him was, ‘What’s occurin’?’ He was so happy.”
“He looked up at her and said, ‘If you’re casting to see a double amputee in the next series, can you bear me in mind?’ That made Ruth start crying.
“Until the last 10 days or so, we thought he would make it, but the day before he died, it was clear his body had given up. ”
Mr Stanley also revealed that Cpl Stanley had previously been injured in a bomb explosion on a tour of Iraq.
On that occasion his armoured vehicle triggered a roadside bomb. The vehicle was blown across the road and Cpl Stanley suffered concussion.
As a youngster Cpl Stanley, who was born in Bolton, was friends with Tom Parker, currently a singer in boyband The Wanted, and Mr Stanley took the two boys to their first Bolton Wanderers match together.
The family moved to the Todmorden area when Cpl Stanley was aged seven.