A RETIRED Welsh guardsman injured in Afghanistan has been honoured by the Queen.
War hero Stewart Harris of Rhyl was left brain-damaged, blind in one eye and partially deaf after being blown up by an IED while out on patrol.
Mr Harris who has been in the Army for 13 years and has seven medals, was based in the Cavalry Barracks, London, before heading out to Afghanistan in 2012.
There he was based in Sangin, a town in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, an area known for its high levels of violence.
He said: “In 2012 I was based in Sangin and we were helping Afghan police officers when they turned on us and killed three of our men.
“I had to drive the vehicle through the checkpoint and collect my comrades.
“Another time I was driving when an IED hit the vehicle. This has left me with brain damage, blindness in my right eye and partial deafness.”
Mr Harris, aged 30, of Coast Road, Rhyl, travelled to London, where he met with the Queen in Buckingham Palace at a Royal Garden Party.
Mr Harris was attending the palace along with other representatives of the Not Forgotten Association.
"It was a surreal experience," said Mr Harris, who is married to Rhian, 32, and father to Cerys, 11 and Megan, three.
He said: “I went up on my 30th birthday. We were told to wait in the gardens and then the Queen came out to greet us.
“She noticed my guards tie and asked me my regiment and what it was that I had done and thanked me.
“It was all over quite quick.”
Mr Harris, who has since left the army, is now looking to return to education.
He said: “It was amazing to come back. It’s nice to be home and I’m looking forward to the future. I’m hoping to go to Chester University to get a degree in mental health nursing. If I could have any impact I would like to do that.”
This was not Stewart’s first royal meeting, as he met Prince Harry when he was a part of the Help for Heroes disabled ski team.