Two years later, Mark was called up to serve his first deployment to Afghanistan. Just two months into the tour in December 2008, his vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb.
The blast caused devastating injuries and Mark needed to have his left leg amputated. He also broke his back, right leg, nose and lost several teeth.
“I was in the Navy in Scotland and I got a phone call from Mark's Dad to say that Mark had been injured and he only had a 20% chance of survival,” explains Donna.
“I had to wait a week to see him, which was the worst week of my life.
“Mark was convinced he was still in Afghanistan, but thankfully he didn't have any memory of the attack, which means he doesn’t have any horrible flashbacks.”
Just three months later, after being referred to a spinal specialist in North Wales, he learnt to walk again at Headley Court with a prosthetic limb. Whilst receiving treatment Mark was one of the first wounded soldiers to benefit from the Legion-funded Battle Back programme.
Donna and Mark with their first daughter, Grace
Donna left the Navy in 2010 after falling pregnant with their first daughter, Grace, who was born almost a year to the day after Mark’s attack. The couple have since had two more daughters, Mollie and Olivia.
Mark has been medically discharged from the Army and volunteers helping the elderly in care homes.