Army veteran climbs first of 50 mountains in memory of brother shot dead by Taliban in Afghanistan


An ex-serviceman has climbed the first of 50 mountains in 2021 in memory of his brother who was killed serving in Afghanistan.  

John Davies, 31, from St Helens, Merseyside, is taking on the challenge in memory of his brother Chris, who died in action in 2010.

The veteran kickstarted the endeavour on New Years Day when he trudged 25 miles up and down the tricky Yorkshire Three Peaks. 

John Davies, 31, (pictured) from St Helens, Merseyside, climbed the first of 50 mountains in 2021 in memory of his brother who was killed serving in Afghanistan

The veteran (pictured left) is taking on the challenge in memory of his brother Chris (pictured right), who died in action in 2010

The veteran (pictured left) is taking on the challenge in memory of his brother Chris (pictured right), who died in action in 2010

Over the next 12 months the veteran will conquer dozens of peaks across Britain including Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Snowdon in Wales. 

He is undertaking the epic challenge to raise money for the armed force’s charity Veterans’ Lifeline, which helps support struggling ex-serviceman. 

His brother Chris, 22, was on patrol in Helmand Province when he was ambushed by Taliban insurgents and shot at, suffering a fatal bullet wound to his chest.

Both men were serving with the Irish Guards (pictured), and John is undertaking the challenge to raise money for the armed force's charity Veterans' Lifeline

Both men were serving with the Irish Guards (pictured), and John is undertaking the challenge to raise money for the armed force’s charity Veterans’ Lifeline

The veteran kickstarted the endeavour on New Years Day when he trudged 25 miles up and down the tricky Yorkshire Three Peaks (pictured)

The veteran kickstarted the endeavour on New Years Day when he trudged 25 miles up and down the tricky Yorkshire Three Peaks (pictured) 

John was in Helmand at the time of his brother’s death and both men were serving with the Irish Guards.  

He said traversing the mountains of Whernside at 2,415ft, Ingleborough at 2,372ft and Pen-y-ghent at 2,277ft was ‘much harder’ than he had imagined.

He added: ‘It was really good but definitely much harder than I thought it would be.

‘The first 20 miles were fine but then my feet started killing me an I thought, “I would love to give up now”, but that was never going to happen.

‘I’m doing this for a great charity and also for my brother so there will definitely be no giving up.’

John said: ‘Chris will be in my thoughts a lot while I’m climbing. They won’t be sad thoughts but how he’d be laughing at me as I struggle along.

‘He’d have been the first person to come and do it with me though.’

John served with the Irish Guards for a decade before retiring at the rank of Guardsman in 2018.

Chris Davies, 22, (pictured) was on patrol in Helmand Province when he was ambushed by Taliban insurgents and shot at, suffering a fatal bullet wound to his chest

Chris Davies, 22, (pictured) was on patrol in Helmand Province when he was ambushed by Taliban insurgents and shot at, suffering a fatal bullet wound to his chest

He did three tours in the Middle East. It was during his second in 2010 when his brother Chris, who was undertaking his first tour, was killed.

John, now a warehouse worker, said the idea to do a mountain challenge came to him last summer after he decided to get back into fitness training.

He added: ‘I then decided to do it all in my brother’s name as a bit of added motivation. I can’t let him down now.’

John expects to climb a mountain almost every weekend in 2021.

John said the idea to do a mountain challenge came to him last summer and expects to climb a mountain almost every weekend in 2021

John said the idea to do a mountain challenge came to him last summer and expects to climb a mountain almost every weekend in 2021

He’s working his way up to doing the National Three Peaks Challenge, in which participants attempt to climb the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours.

Charity Veteran’s Life was set up by one of John’s old superiors in the army.

He said that after his brother was killed he ‘kept sane’ thanks to the support of the fellow serviceman around him.

He added: ‘A lot of veterans don’t have this sort of support and struggle with a wide range of problems whilst still serving and even more so once they’ve left.

‘Veteran’s Life do amazing work.’ 

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