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Amputee military men make history rowing across Atlantic

Published 04/02/2016

The Row2Recovery team began the challenge in La Gomera
The Row2Recovery team began the challenge in La Gomera

Four wounded military men have earned their place in the history books after becoming the first all-amputee team to row across an ocean.

British team Row2Recovery docked in Antigua's English Harbour shortly after 4pm GMT following their record-breaking 3,000-mile journey from the Canary Islands.

The foursome, who have three legs between them, battled crippling sores, storms and serious injury - including having a prosthetic limb shatter during the crossing - to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 46 days.

Team skipper Cayle Royce - who took part in the challenge two years ago, having spent 48 days in a coma and losing both legs when he was injured by a bomb in Afghanistan - said: "We are so proud to be the first all-amputee team to row an ocean and extremely humbled by the support we have received.

"We are very proud to be able to support injured servicemen and women everywhere through the Endeavour Fund, Help for Heroes and Blesma.

"Although totally exhausted, we are ready to celebrate the fact we have just conquered 3,000 miles in the world's toughest ocean rowing race. There is life beyond injury - that's our message, we hope it's out there."

Trooper Royce, 29, from Dartmouth in Devon, was joined in the custom-made rowing boat by team-mates Paddy Gallagher, Nigel Rogof and Lee Spencer.

Rogof, 56, from Hereford in Herefordshire, lost his leg above the knee whilst taking part in a Royal Air Force parachuting display, while Spencer, 46, from Yelverton in Devon, is still serving in the Royal Marines despite losing his right leg below the knee after being hit by debris as he was helping to save the life of a crashed civilian motorist.

Gallagher, 30, from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, lost his right leg below the knee with the Irish Guards in an IED (improvised explosive device) blast in Nad E Ali, Afghanistan, in 2009.

They completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 46 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes and received a general salute as they entered the harbour.

Two members of the team were injured due to the punishing shifts of two hours on and two hours off, while another broke his prosthetic leg during the first few weeks of rowing.

British foursome Ocean Reunion were the first team to land in the Caribbean, on Tuesday last week, smashing the race record to cross the Atlantic in just 37 days. They were joined on Friday by all-female crew Row Like A Girl, who posted a women's race record.

To follow the progress of the race, visit: https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/race-tracker/

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