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Cassidy Little: Coming Home From Afghanistan

The winner of the People's Strictly, a veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan, tells us his frank and uplifting story of what it means to...

WARNING: This audio contains explicit language

In this exclusive radio programme, People's Strictly winner Cassidy Little, who was blown up in Afghanistan, tells us about life as a Royal Marine on the front line, of the resilience of those in Headley Court rehabilitation centre and get a glimpse into the sacrifices made by those who serve.

War Cassidy Little Strictly Come Dancing

Cassidy has written a short history of his family's involvement in the Armed Forces: 

"The war culture is such a strange one. By that, I mean the covenant for people who have been lucky enough not only to have been involved in combat but to have survived it with fond memories, as opposed to the assault it has on others' minds. Such a strange thing for a man-made force of nature to cause a feeling of gentle sentimentality.

I lost something very dear to me. My grandfather had a small booze flask he took with him on the beaches of Normandy, or at least as close as he could get before getting his rear end blown into the salt water. An explosion that killed everyone else in his tank.

That flask was passed on to my father, who engraved it with his name, under his father's, and his cap badge.  He carried that flask through the cold war as a fast air pilot and into Desert Storm one.  When I joined the Royal Marines, he had it engraved with my name and gave it to me. 

Afghanistan Cassidy Little Strictly Come Dancing

I thought it had gone to some compound in Afghanistan, or certainly lost to all, especially when all the pharmaceuticals worked together and warped my reality after being blown up. To be honest, I struggled to remember anything at all, let alone where a little family trinket went.

Last week, while doing that therapeutic act of burning stuff from my ten years of collected repack boxes, the flask turned up.

I stopped and stared at it, imagined the carnage it must have seen from three generations of military men, all who served in active roles, kinetic roles, around the world.

It was a very tender moment for me.  A moment where I wished I was still serving or that my grandfather was around to drink quietly with me. 

So I did the next best thing… I took this picture and sent it to my father.

We both wept.

You can listen to Cassidy Little - Coming Home on BFBS Wednesday 8th March 18:15 UKT or listen to the full unbleeped version above.