The inspirational story of JJ Chalmers

JJ Chalmers shares his remarkable story of recover as part of Chancellor Talk Series

Date posted

11 March 2019


The remarkable story of recovery by a Royal Marine who was maimed by an explosion in Afghanistan has been shared at the latest in the Chancellor Talk Series at Edinburgh Napier.

John-James Chalmers was wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device while on foot patrol in Helmand Province in May 2011. The blast crushed an eye socket, burst his eardrums, destroyed his right elbow, blew off two fingers on his left hand and left holes in his legs.

The following eight weeks saw “JJ” undergo nearly 30 operations as he began a gruelling rehabilitation process which ultimately saw him relearn how to dress himself, walk and drive a car.JJ Chalmers and David Eustace

However, he overcame all the obstacles in his way, went on to compete and win gold in the Invictus Games, and forged a career in broadcasting with the BBC and Channel 4.

Speaking to a Craiglockhart audience last week, JJ shared his inspirational story on how he overcame the odds and how – despite everything that has happened – he wouldn’t change his time in the Royal Marines for anything.

JJ also encouraged the audience to both find and channel their own commando spirit to help them get through any of the trials and tribulations that life throws their way.

After his own involvement in the 2014 Invictus Games, an interview with Olympian-turned-broadcaster Jonathan Edwards saw JJ turn his attentions to forging a career in broadcasting.

He later presented National Paralympic Day for Channel 4, worked for the BBC in their coverage of the 2016 Invictus Games, and travelled to Rio de Janeiro as a presenter for Channel 4’s coverage of the 2016 Summer Paralympics. He has also worked as a sports presenter on the BBC News channel and at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

JJ has seen his life move in a new direction but he never forgets the past, with his green beret still hanging up in his house as a reminder of the lessons he has learnt and the hardships he has overcome. 

Watch the lecture here: