Published 17 October 2013

I applaud your vision and of course your aims.

Prince Harry

Thank you Professor Stirling; I would like to thank you and Admiral Wilkinson for inviting me here today. I must also thank Professor Bull and his team for providing such an interesting and enlightening insight into the important work being done here in the Centre for Blast Injury Studies.
This Centre is a unique facility which brings together military and civilian clinicians, scientists and engineers, across a range of disciplines, to further understand blast injuries. In doing so, they seek to develop more effective prevention measures and improved patient treatments.

Today I have had a brief insight into the work of the Centre including how injured cells are analysed. In the past I have met numerous servicemen and women injured on operations, many by IEDs and landmines; their stories are harrowing and inspirational. Watching the IED simulation has reminded me of the catastrophic trauma experienced by a human body during an IED or mine strike - to me this makes their extraordinary stories of recovery all the more astounding.

In addition to our military casualties and those civilians injured by acts of terrorism, many thousands more people across the world will suffer traumatic, life changing injuries, as a result of landmine explosions

This issue affects people on a global scale, and whilst the work of the Centre is predominantly focussed on military casualties its findings will also provide significant humanitarian benefits across the world.

The Royal British Legion and Imperial College London have joined forces to tackle this issue head on. Without this partnership the Centre would not have become a reality. I applaud your vision and of course your aims. Further support has also come from the Ministry of Defence, through the sharing of first-hand experience of the affects of IEDs. Although the conflict in Afghanistan is set to draw down at the end of next year there is still much to do and learn. However, dedicated staff are working hard to fully understand the effects of blast trauma on the body, no matter how or where it occurs, in order to improve treatments and therefore, recovery.

I am pleased to open The Royal British legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College London and wish you all great success.