A DISABLED veteran who has taken on the task of photographing thousands of unrecorded war memorials throughout the UK in a mobility scooter and trailer, has arrived in the Cotswolds.

Mark Newton, 51, suffered a life-changing injury to his leg in 1991 which forced him out of military service after seven years.

But, four-and-a-half years ago he decided to take to the road with his two cats to photograph memorials for the Imperial War Museum and raise money for charity.

Having served as a tank crew member for the 1st Queen’s Dragoons, Mark, originally from Swansea, dislocated his knee whilst on active service with the UN in Cyprus.

“I dislocated my knee during PT in the morning, playing 20-a-side football,” he said.

“Most people when they dislocate their knee, it's the knee cap, but I did the whole thing, so ligaments, nerves, everything else smashed. Then I got septicaemia,” he said.

Having taken up a new career as a computer programmer, Mark’s condition deteriorated over the years and in 2009 his leg was amputated.

He then found himself in a mobility scooter – paid for through the generosity of his old regiment and the British Legion.

As well as chronicling memorials, he has collected more than £71,000 in donations for the Royal British Legion, the SSAFA, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Help for Heroes and his regiment.

Travelling in his Beamer Tramper TWS, made by a company in Wiltshire, Mark has uploaded more than 30,000 photographs to his blog and won a Guinness world record for the longest distance travelled on a scooter.

Mark estimates he has photographed at least 6,000 memorials, including unrecorded ones, as well as 20,000 war graves – and now travelled 27,916 miles over 15,13 days.

After a “breakdown” in December, Mark was then diagnosed with PTSD in March, which led to him spending a week at a Help For Heroes refuge for counselling and treatment.

“I stayed in the courtyard, in the trailer with the cats,” he said. “It was a nice relaxing break, because everyone else there is disabled and sees disability every day; I didn't need to hide it.

“Hide the fact that you're feeling so bloody low,” he said, going on to admit, however: “I was glad to get back out on the road again, I don't like being inside.”

Mark plans to spend the next five or six months in Gloucestershire, and is currently in Tetbury, having left Cirencester last week.

He found eight unrecorded memorials in Cirencester, including two at the Parish Church and one in Ashcroft Church.

“There's a memorial in there to a chaplain who was taken as a Prisoner of War and died in Japan,” he said of the latter.

“It's phenomenal what you find. It all goes into the National Archive in London.

“I do get tip offs,” he said. “Especially if it's a new memorial, because a lot of them haven't been looked at since 1989.

“I won't go past a church without checking it, a Natwest Bank, a library, a park. I just to look at a map and say right there's a church there, can I get in it?”

Mark, who tends to camp out in Tesco car parks during his travels, lives off his war pension, which equates to around £20 a day, having got the idea for his trip, which he admits he will never complete, whilst in the Outer Hebrides.

“I found, as I was travelling down to Battersea, there was a little graveyard and I saw a little plaque on the gate which said ‘War graves here’.

“There were graves for three unknown sailors. That started it because I thought I'll have a look online, and they weren't listed.

"I thought that was a bit wrong, so I decided I'll photograph and catalogue those, and then memorials seemed the logical thing because they’re in a village or town.”

Mark has also used his blog to talk about depression and PTSD, having suffered from the latter for years before official diagnosis.

“I've been talking about it for a year on my blog. I've got a lot of praise for that. It's not a problem these days talking about much. If it helps somebody else, it's worth it,” he said.

Visit roundwales.co.uk for more and to donate.