A DISGRACED marine whose plight touched Harry as they flew out of the Afghanistan war has slammed the prince’s attack on the media.
Brave Ben McBean, 36, said: “I had his back for 15 years. He is wrong about this.”
War hero Ben McBean says Prince Harry is ‘wrong’ for his attack on the mediaCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Harry accused the Press of not covering the suffering of veterans Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
The Ben Road bomb victim was among the seriously injured soldiers Harry saw when the curtain opened as they were being helicoptered out of the war zone.
Harry told his latest Netflix series that the horrific scene inspired him to campaign for veterans – while accusing the press of failing to cover their plight.
But in an exclusive interview, 36-year-old Ben, from Plymouth, expresses his horror and disbelief at his former comrade’s claims.
He said: “I had his back for 15 years. I’ve always supported him, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything that comes out of his mouth. In this case the Duke of Sussex is wrong.
“I can say, hand on heart, that the British media, and especially The Sun, reported on the stories of the veterans. One of the few positives after the injury was how the media supported the troops.
“They didn’t write us off and told the world about us and our shortcomings. Thanks to The Sun, everyone was wearing a Help for Heroes wristband.”
Harry described Ben as a “real hero” after he was airlifted out of a war zone in 2008 after a US website leaked that the prince had served there.
The pair stayed in touch and Harry gave Ben crates of beer as he recovered and supported his successful campaign to get his MoD pay rise.
Ben, who lost his right leg and left arm in Helmand, needed ten months of rehabilitation at Headley Court Military Hospital in Surrey.
In 2007, a year before Harry’s tour, former Royal Green Jacket Bryn Parry and wife Emma started Help for Heroes when they realized Headley Court needed a swimming pool for wounded vets.
The Sun joined forces with the fledgling charity and, with the help of readers, raised almost £8m for the centre’s swimming pool and gym, before setting up recovery centers used by 27,000 veterans.
Harry and brother William visited Ben at Headley Court in 2008.
Ben, who lost his right leg and left arm, required ten months of rehabilitation at Headley Court Military Hospital in SurreyCredit: Collection
Harry described Ben as a ‘real hero’ after he was airlifted out of a war zone in 2008Credit: Getty
Ben said: “I’ve seen Harry many times over the years. He brought me beer and ‘Get well soon’ cards when I was sick.
“My mum, dad and uncle met him and William. I think Harry is cool, but I’m 36 years old and I don’t agree with him. Newspapers and media explained why there is a war and why you will see amputees walking in your city.
“The whole country knew about us. I have nothing bad to say about the media supporting the military.”
Former Royal Marine Ben won the Overcoming Adversity Award at The Sun’s Millies Awards in 2009 and was pictured with Harry at the ceremony at the Imperial War Museum.
Ben added: “The Sun’s Millies Awards gave us a ‘Thank You’ and that really helped.”
Harry’s claims were condemned by Mark Elliott of Help for Heroes, which has raised £370 million for armed forces personnel.
Mark said: “The lives of our servicemen and women would not be what they are today without the incredible support of not only The Sun but also your parent company News UK.
“What started as four or five volunteers in a tin shack in 2007 turned into Help for Heroes, which has helped 27,000 servicemen, women and veterans.
“There is no doubt that this would not have happened without The Sun and the media. Their support has not only changed the playing field, it has changed the entire stadium for sick and injured servicemen and women and their families.
“When Harry and William were shown wearing Help for Heroes wristbands by The Sun, they helped promote the work of Help for Heroes. Our servicemen and women would be in a very different place without your help.
“Our heroes climbed Everest, rowed across the Atlantic, and are now Olympians.
“I can think of thousands who have benefited from Help for Heroes on the front page of a national newspaper.”
SAS hero Andy McNab called Harry’s claims “insulting nonsense”.
Prince Harry pictured wearing a Help for Heroes bracelet Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
And the commander of British forces in 2008, former chief of staff Lord Richard Dannatt, echoed the late queen, saying: “Memories can be different.”
Harry was a guest at The Sun’s televised Millies Awards, which honor the bravest of the brave years after his own tour.
His and wife Meghan’s £80m Netflix deal includes his latest five-part series “Heart of Invictus”, which aired his media abuse.
He tells the stories of the wounded veterans who compete in his Invictus Games, which he revealed was inspired to start the day he saw a wounded Ben in 2008.
The prince did not correct his comments, nor did he respond to criticism from war veterans, heroes and British military commanders last night.
Harry jumped into Sun’s campaign
PRINCE Harry should remember he jumped on the Sun train to support wounded veterans – not the other way around.
In 2007 — before Harry left for Afghanistan — The Sun went out of its way to support fledgling charity Help for Heroes.
I photographed Prince William at England’s sporting hub, St George’s Park in Derbyshire, wearing a Help for Heroes wristband.
I desperately wanted to get Harry to do the same. He was on the Isle of Wight and I was waiting for him in Portsmouth.
His press officer didn’t think a picture would be possible and gave me an indication that Harry wasn’t interested.
How wrong he was. When Harry got off the ship and I asked him to wear the bracelet he said “Give it to me” he put it on his hand and held it up triumphantly.
Even though the light was fading, it was one of the best photos I’ve taken of a celebrity wearing this tribute to our injured heroes.
Harry was so enthusiastic to help us promote the cause. So I was stunned to see her complain about feeling abandoned on Netflix.
He just had to pick up the phone and he could call the best people in the world to help him.
When I see badly wounded soldiers still smiling I wonder what Harry has to complain about?