Mark Ormrod was born and brought up in Plymouth, and in 2001 realised his lifelong ambition of joining the Royal Marines. On Christmas Eve 2007, whilst serving on operations in Afghanistan with 40 Commando Royal Marines, he was blown up by an improvised explosive device, resulting in the traumatic amputation of both legs and his right arm. He was twice pronounced dead.
Even though he was not expected to survive, Mark made a remarkable recovery, the first triple amputee to survive on the battlefield. Having been initially told by his consultant that he would never walk again, 14 weeks after his injury, he marched onto parade on his new prosthetic limbs to be awarded his Operational Service Medal in the presence of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
This alone was a remarkable physical, psychological and emotional achievement. For the next three years, Mark remained in the Royal Marines, working through his recovery pathway. In spite of his injuries, he was adamant that he would not be a “drain on society” — he set himself the goal of becoming a taxpayer again.
So, the Royal Marines Association offered Mark a part-time job as manager of its newly established Royal Marines Shop. Despite having no commercial experience, he developed a support group of willing volunteers, and to his commendable credit, Mark got this venture off the ground. It is still operating successfully today. Mark agreed then to turn his focus to improving membership and support of members for the RMA as Welfare and Operations Assistant.
His talent for engaging and motivating people of all ages soon became apparent, not least after he wrote and published his autobiography ‘Man Down’, which is in the early stages of being dramatised for the big screen. He has proved to be a wizard at social media communications and has single-handedly (literally) dragged RMA’s outreach operations into the 21st century.
He has established hundreds of thousands of followers, enabling him to engage with a wide variety of people, from the youngest cadet to the oldest veteran, a natural skill which has nothing to do with his disability but which he uses to challenge the whole idea that disability should define achievement.
Mark never utters a single negative comment about his condition. He epitomises the Commando Mindset: 1st to understand, the 1st to adapt and respond and the 1st to overcome.
He truly embodies the commando spirit of courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in adversity. In spite of the extent of his injuries, Mark continues to challenge himself. While working with the RMA he has taken part in a number of endurance challenges: he ran 3500 miles across the USA to raise awareness of wounded veterans; he cycled 3000 miles around Britain, using a hand cycle powered by his one remaining arm; at the Invictus Games, he has won 11 medals, including 5 gold — one of which he won for an event he hadn’t trained for, and only took part in at the last minute so that the event would go ahead with the other remaining competitors.
Mark Ormrod is remarkable: he is a tremendous ambassador for a range of military charities, and a genuinely humble person. Despite his horrific injuries, he has not allowed his disability to define him; he lives his life with “no limits”. He has motivated thousands of Royal Marines, and tens of thousands of others, to be all that they can be.