Prince Harry: War horrors moved me to found games event
Prince Harry has recalled the "horrendous" images he saw during two tours of Afghanistan when he encountered children who had died from roadside bombs and soldiers lying on the battlefield.
The Royal, who is a Captain in the Army, regularly flew injured personnel and civilians to the hospital at the Camp Bastion military base during his second tour of the country when he served as an Apache helicopter pilot.
Harry recalled flying home last year looking forward to seeing family but said it was then that he was "hit" by the reality of war as he was joined on the plane by injured and fallen soldiers.
"I had never seen it first-hand," he wrote in the Sunday Times. "By 'it' I mean the injuries that were being sustained largely due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
"Loss of life is as tragic and devastating as it gets, but to see young lads wrapped in plastic and missing limbs, with tubes coming out of them, was something I never prepared myself for."
The troubling question of how people cope with the trauma of war, especially those left without limbs, was one Harry said played on his mind, and eventually led him to setting up an international sporting competition for injured troops.
The Invictus Games – aiming to showcase the bravery and sporting prowess of more than 400 servicemen and women from 14 countries wounded by war – will take place next month at London's Olympic park.