A Birmingham soldier left with devastating injuries after his Land Rover was blown up in a bomb blast in Afghanistan has written a book about his battle back to fitness.

Company Sergeant Major (CSM) Dominic Hagans, of Castle Vale, was only saved when he was catapulted free from the explosion because he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.

CSM Hagans, 40, who later this year will be discharged from the army on medical grounds after 23 years of service, hopes to highlight the effects of serious injuries on soldiers and their families in Wounded Rangers: Under enemy fire in Afghanistan.

The book includes a number of accounts from CSM Hagans and his comrades, and all profits will go to the welfare fund of the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment which helps towards looking after the wounded and their families.

He said: “Not many people understand the devastating nature of the injuries sustained in the Afghan conflict as a result of IEDS [Improvised Explosive Devices] and high-velocity bullets. I hope this book will give an insight into what soldiers are going through daily and how it affects so many people at home.

The wreck of the Land Rover in which Dominic Hagans and his crew suffered the blast in 2008
The wreck of the Land Rover in which Dominic Hagans and his crew suffered the blast in 2008
 

“These stories cover the lives of several wounded soldiers, including myself, and the effects of our injuries, as well as other perspectives on the war, including that of a mother whose son was critically injured.

“Some of these soldiers have made it back to work, but most, including myself, are still battling to get back to some kind of normality. I wanted to let people know how it effects more people than just family when a soldier gets injured or killed such as his comrades.”

Father-of-two CSM Hagans, known as ‘Brummie’, was injured in 2008, but had already been in the army for some time by then.

He joined the Royal Irish Regiment in 1990 and took part in the second Gulf War in 2003, witnessing Colonel Tim Collins give his famous pre-battle speech in the desert.

In Wounded Rangers, CSM Hagans reveals he had already narrowly escaped a number of ambushes before he was hit by the bomb.

He writes: “I had been shot in the boot, lost my vehicle door to an RPG [rocket propelled grenade] attack and encountered several ambushes. After getting away with it so many times I thought the luck of the Irish was with us.”

But when he went on patrol on September 11, 2008, near Alma, his world exploded: “I felt an initial surge of pain in my legs then, just the way they make it look in the war movies, time stood still.

“I felt I was moving very slowly and floating in the air. It seemed as if I was there for ages. Finally I was lying on the ground. I looked down. I could see that my left leg was hanging off below the knee. My right leg was shattered.

Sergeant Major (CSM) Dominic Hagans
Hagans hopes his book Wounded Rangers will highlight the effects of serious injuries and raise funds
 

“I couldn’t even administer morphine, because my body armour and helmet had been blown off by the blast and the morphine was in my armour. I should have been in terrible pain, but somehow I wasn’t.”

CSM Hagans was picked up by a Chinook helicopter and eventually flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Selly Oak for treatment. Since then he has undergone many operations and care at the army’s rehabilitation centre at Headley Court.

He said: “Over the first 48 hours after I arrived at Selly Oak I went through several operations to repair my legs. The doctors did an outstanding job. They had to rebuild my lower left leg, with muscles and tissue transfers from both thighs.

“I had bolts and plates put in where the blast had taken my bones apart. My left foot and ankle were shattered and had to be rebuilt and fixed together with a cage. My right leg was broken in two places and the talus (heel bone) in my right ankle was broken.

“I spent nearly seven weeks in Selly Oak Hospital. The staff were brilliant; if it hadn’t been for them I would never have made such a fast recovery.”

Wounded Rangers: Under enemy fire in Afghanistan is available on Amazon or for Kindle download. It can also be bought from Memoirs Publishing at £12.50.