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One Step in a Poppy Field (ePub)

The Inspirational Story of Lance Corporal Cayle Royce MBE

Military > Biographies > Military Biographies Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Biography & Memoirs

By Bronwyn Royce
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 9.6 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781399057387
Published: 30th December 2023


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Thousands of miles away from where her son was deployed, a powerful premonition is devastatingly confirmed by a knock on the door from two faceless strangers bearing the news that her son had stepped on an improvised explosive device in the poppy fields of Afghanistan. He had lost both of his legs and suffered multiple other injuries, including partial amputation of all the fingers of his left hand. For 48 days she stood at his bedside, praying and willing him to pull through.

Not only did he survive against all odds, but in time he began to test the limits of his new capabilities and undertook the first of, what would prove to be, many physical challenges. Just 18 months after injury, and as part of a team of four servicemen, he rowed across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

Told mostly from a mother’s perspective with contributions from Cayle, the genesis of the book was in the diary she kept while he was in a medically induced coma. It is the story of an extraordinarily brave man who has been through the agonies of rebuilding his life, with the encouragement of family and friends.

This was never meant to be another book about war or Afghanistan; it is a message of how love and hope can overcome adversity. If even just one reader takes inspiration from this story then … mission accomplished.

As featured in 'Book Club'

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Townswomen Magazine, March 2024

Article: 'I cried for a year when my beautiful boy was injured'

Daily Express

Article: Bronwyn Royce

By The Dart

Everybody has regrets to manage at some time in their life. Very few, however, have to manage regret on the scale of stepping on a mine in Afghanistan, losing both legs and spending 45 days in a close-run battle for life. Cayle Royce has - and then he rebuilt his life brilliantly, rowing the Atlantic and flying a powered paraglider the length of the UK. His story puts what most of us call a challenge to shame, providing the perspective and inspiration to power through our own troubles. The example of sons like Cayle and mothers like Bronwyn makes the world a far better place for all of us.

General Sir Richard Barrons, KCB, CBE, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations) 2011-2013 Commander, Joint Forces Command 2013-2016

The shocking injuries that Cayle received are sadly replicated among far too many soldiers who, as young men doing their duty, came home without limbs. When serving in the MOD, I saw how devastating these injuries could be, not just to the soldiers but also to the families - such as Cayle's mother - who together suffer the consequences of one step onto a hidden IED. We should honour these victims and never forget that sending young men into harm's way can have such terrible consequences, which is a lesson politicians need to learn.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Robathan PC, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Welfare and Veterans 2010-2012, Minister of State for the Armed Forces 2012-2013

Told from a mother’s perspective, this book is a powerful testament to one woman’s love and hope and to a son’s determination and hope. The combination is electrifying, uplifting and deeply moving. Yes, the story starts in Afghanistan but it is as open-ended as Cayles’ life and his achievements continue to be an inspiration to all who meet him or read this book.

General The Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL Chief of the General Staff 2006-2009, Army President, The Not Forgotten

"Courage comes in many forms. Commonly we think of single acts of daring performed in the face of obvious and imminent danger, but this is far from the whole picture. There is also the bravery required to face long-term pain and life-changing disability: to get up each morning knowing that every day will be a challenge; to muster the will and determination to do what used to be simple but is now a continual struggle; to accept that this is how things will be permanently. Then there is the bravery necessary to bear the suffering of a loved one: to sustain them through the dark times; to encourage and help them in their efforts to reconstruct their life; to support their search for purpose and joy. All of these forms of courage and more are at the heart of this book, from the battlefield to the hospital to rehabilitation and on to new and remarkable achievements. It is a story with an important message for us all: that bravery is praiseworthy in all its guises, but it is the every day acts of heroism that lead to the triumph of the human spirit.

Marshal of the Royal Air Force, The Lord Stirrup, KG, GCB, AFC, FRAeS, FCMI, Chief of the Defence Staff 2006-2010

About Bronwyn Royce

Bronwyn Royce has been a secretary, a gym instructor, a bookkeeper, a shop manager, and is now a watercolour artist specialising in miniature paintings.
Born in South Africa in 1960 during the apartheid era, she saw the country transformed when Nelson Mandela came into power in 1994. She lived with her family on a remote farm without electricity or running water, survived a devastating bushfire, emigrated to the United Kingdom, and has been through a life-changing experience with her son.
She loves chocolate, good coffee and going for long walks but isn’t keen on sprouts or cooked carrots.
Her greatest achievement and legacy is bringing up two amazingly adventurous sons.

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