FOUR soldiers injured on active service in Afghanistan are to pay their own gruelling tribute to one of the great heroes of their regiment.

Captain Lawrence Oates won near-legendary status 100 years ago when he sacrificed himself in a vain attempt to save the final three members of Scott’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition.

Despite a wound he suffered during the Boer War, he was one of the party that reached the South Pole only 35 days after the Norwegian explorer Amundsen.

And from a camp on the trek back, crippled by frostbite and slowing the group, he walked off into a blizzard at -40C with the immortal words: “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

He was a member of the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, now part of the Catterick Garrison- based Royal Dragoon Guards which, uniquely for the British Army, celebrates a man – Capt Oates – rather than a battle on its annual regimental day.

To mark the centenary of his death, four of the dragoons – all of whom suffered gunshot, shrapnel or explosives wounds in Afghanistan – plan to retrace his steps.

Expedition leader Captain Adam Crookshank, 29, Corporal Robbie Harmer, 27, L Cpl Nicholas Webb, 19, and Trooper Rene Paul, also 19, will set off in October and are hard in training.

They will become part of an expedition led by renowned explorer David Hempleman- Adams and will be flown by helicopter over the ice barrier before beginning their 200- mile sub-zero trek.

The journey will take up to three weeks to complete, and then the group will return via South Georgia, the route taken by another great explorer, Ernest Shackleton.

The team are training three times a week for the expedition on top of their normal operational training.

“We started talking about doing something like this back in 2009 and now it’s all coming together,” said Capt Crookshank.

“But we won’t have any time to rest when we get back from the Antarctic – because then we are off again to do another tour of Afghanistan.”

The four will be raising funds for the regimental association to provide help to the families of injured troops.

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