A social media campaign – backed by the newly-appointed Minister for Veterans' Affairs Johnny Mercer – is calling for the public to help bring a soldier back to the UK after he was 'left very seriously injured' while speed flying in France.
Lieutenant General Andrew Harrison, Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment, said in a tweet that Lance Corporal Lee Crudgington, with 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, was injured while "he was off duty practising his advanced free fall".
The Parachute Regiment's official Facebook account states in a post that the soldier was injured on 2 July and has been in intensive care in France since the accident.
LCpl Crudgington joined 2 PARA in 2005, serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq and is an experienced skydiver with more than 5,000 jumps under his belt.
He joined the Red Devils Army Parachute Display Team in 2011 as Jump Master – the person responsible for getting the team out over the right spot over the display arena.
The Parachute Regiment's official Facebook account says LCpl Crudgington needs "a 12-hour surgery to stabilise his pelvis, followed by a period of monitoring before he will even be considered fit to transport back to the UK".
Military charity Support Our Paras has supported him and his family in France, but they now need help from the public, saying: "On top of mounting foreign medical costs, Lee will need a specialist aeromedical team to fly him back to the UK, where he will undergo further surgery and start a long period of rehabilitation."
Lt Gen Harrison has tweeted to gather support and raise funds via a JustGiving page to get the injured soldier home for treatment.
When asked why the MOD or British Army won't help repatriate the soldier, Lt Gen Harrison responded, saying: "He was off duty practicing his advanced free fall.
"Despite our efforts, it doesn't meet the criteria for publicly funded defence repatriation.
"That's why we need public support," he added.
The original tweet was shared by British Army veteran Johnny Mercer, former Veterans Minister and now the UK's first Cabinet Minister for Veterans Affairs.
Paralympic gold medallist Major Jen Kehoe, Recruit For Spouses founder Heledd Kendrick and many veterans and people with a connection to the Armed Forces have also shared the tweet.
A British Army spokesperson said: "Our thoughts are with LCpl Lee Crudgington and his family.
"Service personnel who take part in adventurous activities abroad while off-duty need their own private insurance cover as this is not provided by the Ministry of Defence."
In the event of significant illness or injury while off duty overseas, service personnel are not eligible for repatriation to the UK at public expense.
The Ministry of Defence has a contract in place with a major provider of personal accident insurance which service personnel may take up should they wish to do so.
This includes worldwide cover off duty.
Alternatively, they can choose to use any commercial travel insurance provider.