By Kirsty Topping
THE son of a senior minister in the Kirk is fighting for his life after being caught in a Taliban bomb blast.
Lance Corporal James Chalmers, known as JJ, was evacuated to Britain after suffering
“terrible injuries’ in Afghanistan.
The blast that terribly injured the Royal Marine reservist also killed two of his colleagues.
His father, Church of Scotland Principal Clerk Rev. John Chalmers, has now left his Dunfermline home to keep a vigil at the Marine reservist’s bed at Selly Oak Military Hospital, near Birmingham.
The 23-year-old suffered head, body and leg injuries last Friday.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed that JJ had been injured but said it was not their policy to comment or give details on casualties or their families.
JJ was rushed to Camp Bastion and then flown to Selly Oak Hospital by helicopter
His parents were told of his injuries just moments after Rev Chalmers, 58, had finished attending the closing of the church’s General Assembly in Edinburgh.
Rev Chalmers, his wife Liz, their other children Ruth and David and JJ’s girlfriend made a frantic journey to England to be by the hero’s side.
The Right Reverend David Arnott, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and a close friend of the family said:
“We were shocked to discover JJ was injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with JJ and his family.
“As well as a colleague, John and his family are close friends and we have been in constant contact with him.
“JJ seems to be improving every day but he has sustained terrible injuries and we are all in awe of the magnificent work being carried out by the medical staff at the hospital in Birmingham.
“We are also grateful to the military chaplains who have been a source of incredible comfort and who do an excellent job every day in the most trying of circumstances.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with JJ and his family at this most difficult time and also with those families of the two young men who died in the explosion and the others who were injured. “
JJ, serving in 42 Commando, was injured in the blast in the Nad-e Ali area of Helmand province. Fellow marines, 28-year-old Sam Alexander from London and 23-year-old Lieutenant Ollie Augustin from Kent were killed.
Since the Afghanistan conflict began 368 soldiers have been killed and 1,670 have been wounded in action.
They include Colour Sergeant Alan
“Cammy’ Cameron from Bathgate, West Lothian who died almost a year after being wounded in action and Lance Corporal Liam Tasker who died with his dog Theo in March.
Hundreds of mourners turned out to the funerals of both men.
In 2008 Warrant Officer Class 2 Gary John O’Donnell, a bomb disposal expert from Edinburgh who was twice awarded the George Cross, was killed as he approached a booby-trapped bomb.
Rev Chalmers served for nine years as of Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh before being picked to replace when the Very Rev Dr Finlay Macdonald as principal clerk of the Church of Scotland.
He was a co-author of a report calling for independent
“peace makers’ to be used to quell disputes between ministers and congregations over the interpretation of Christian doctrine.