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Princes meet military life-savers

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry reminisced about their time as pilots when they met aircrew responsible for the emergency evacuation of injured soldiers from the battlefield.

Alongside the Queen, they hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for those responsible for the care, recovery and rehabilitation of British servicemen and women and veterans in recent conflicts.

Both William and Harry shared their desire to return to flying while praising the life-saving work of both military and civilian medical staff who help the injured return to duty or to civilian life.

Flight Lieutenant Lance Levin, who has served in Afghanistan five times and in Iraq once as a Chinook pilot, said: "Me and Harry shared our experiences in Afghanistan and our enjoyment of flying while we were out there.

"They both said they have ambitions to return to the cockpit in one way or another. They were envious about what we have been doing and very grateful to everyone who is part of a soldier's treatment."

Former Royal Marine Mark Ormrod, 31, who said he became Britain's first triple amputee in 2007 after stepping on an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan, said the event was the first time he realised how many people were involved in his recovery.

"There's been a lot more than this involved, so many from the moment you're injured. The chain is massive, huge.

"I never thought about it before I came here tonight and put it in a logical order. It's overwhelming that so many people are involved in getting the guys to where they are now.

"It's very humbling to be here."

The 400 guests also included field hospital staff, critical care teams who carry out evacuations of soldiers back to the UK, specialists from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where casualties are treated, and consultants from Headley Court rehabilitation centre.

Representatives from organisations and charities involved in the support of soldiers after their medical treatment, including retraining and financial help, such as the Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and the Benevolent Funds of the Army, Navy and Air Force also attended.

William and Harry are linked to a number of charitable organisations that aim to support servicemen and women. Earlier this year Harry helped to launch the first Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick soldiers.

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