Ex-Royal Marine hailed hero for saving driver's life

A former Royal Marine believes his commando training was key in helping him save the life of a motorist following a serious car crash.

Stephen Martindale was out cycling near Manchester when he discovered the car in a hedge and the driver in cardiac arrest.

Acting quickly, he rescued the unconscious driver from the vehicle and performed CPR before handing over to emergency services when they arrived on the scene.

The casualty, Andy Harrison, is recovering well and his son Pete Harrison – a serving Royal Marines Reservist – has given a heartfelt thanks to quick-thinking Stephen.

A keen cyclist, Stephen was a Royal Marine between 1998 and 2005 and specialised as a landing craft operator. He said: “The reason I reacted as I did is down to my time in the Corps.

“I saw smoke as I was taking a corner and then saw a car in the trees. I just knew I had to act quickly. I checked his pulse but he was non-responsive and wasn’t breathing.

“After getting him out of the car I started chest compressions and rescue breaths and all the time I could remember what we were taught in training, that once you start you must keep going and you should be working hard to do it properly.

“I kept going for 20 minutes until emergency services arrived and rushed him to hospital.”

The reason I reacted as I did is down to my time in the Corps.

Stephen Martindale, former Royal Marine

Stephen, from Bolton, said it was lucky he even came across the crash scene as he happened to change his daily cycle route that day.

“I never normally go that way and the roads were completely quiet, no cars were out as everyone is staying at home due to the coronavirus,” he added.

Royal Marine Reservist Pete, who joined RMR Merseyside in 2009 and became a commando in 2010, used social media to track down Stephen to pass on the family’s thanks.

Like Stephen, he was also a landing craft operator and has since gone on to deploy to Norway and complete the general purpose machine gun sustained fire course.

Pete said: “Stephen is my family’s hero and lots of people are keen to thank him. Dad is one of six, has five kids, about 20 nephews and nieces and two young granddaughters so he’s loved by everyone.

“We are all keen to say thank you to Stephen.”

He added: “I would encourage any serving Royal Marine to get onto the next First Aid 2 course and for any civilian to do an emergency first aid course.”

Since the incident, Stephen has received many plaudits from across the Royal Marines community, including a handwritten letter from Major General Matthew Holmes, the Commandant General of the Royal Marines.

He said: “I congratulated him for stepping forward to administer CPR to Mr Harrison, and thanked him for his life-saving actions that reflect well on the Corps.”