New Rifleman Follows in Amputee Father's Footsteps

On 15th April 2022 Rifleman Toby Spender followed in his father's footsteps by passing off the parade square at Infantry Training Centre Catterick and joining The Rifles. Toby's decision to become an infanteer is all the more remarkable given his father, Danny Spender, is a double amputee following an IED blast in Afghanistan.

Rifleman Spender is all too familiar with the potential realities of the job of an infantry soldier having witnessed the impact that injuries sustained in conflict have had on his father. However, this has not deterred him from achieving his goal of joining the same regiment as his dad. 

Danny Spender spent 16 years serving in the British Army as an Infantry Soldier. He initially joined the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW) which later amalgamated into The Rifles. Danny deployed on seven Operational Tours including to the Balkans, Northern Ireland and three tours to Helmand Provence in Afghanistan. The most recent of these tours, Herrick 14, saw Danny involved in a low metal content Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast which resulted in the amputation of both his legs above the knee.

am incredibly proud to see Toby follow in my footsteps in to The Rifles Danny Spender

Despite Danny’s obvious difficulties he has remained positive and upbeat about his time as a serving Rifleman and has supported his son Toby’s decision to become a Rifleman too. Toby, not surprisingly, has shown a similar determination to succeed by not only passing the gruelling 28 weeks of The Combat Infantryman’s Course but has graduated as the Platoon’s top shot.

When asked how he felt about Toby joining The Infantry and The Rifles Danny said ‘I am incredibly proud to see Toby follow in my footsteps in to The Rifles’ and advised Toby to ‘listen and learn from those with more experience as he will learn so much more going forward’.

Toby said he was ‘inspired by his Dad’ and his Dad’s service was one of the reasons in joining The Rifles and he looked forward to keeping the family name in The Regiment.