Afghanistan - The Legacy in Britain

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
....not sure if there's a thread already if so my apologies.

Saw this, and it made me think. Worth 4 minutes of your time:



In the early 2000s, Nottingham Uni did a survey of the shifting population of rough sleepers in London. They were armed with a laptop database which held details of genuine former Service perss.

It is a perennial problem to judge accurately the number of genuine Ex-Service people who are homeless.
( Many Homeless people claim to be ex-Service to get handouts. Anyone with a Service background can sus them out pretty fast)

But it is without question a problem.

Good luck to Ollie and others who are trying to get a handle on the issue, from a 'boots on the ground' perspective.

The video is from 2019 - Be interested to know if any Arrser can tell us where the guy is now and what conclusions he drew.
 

TheAssassin

War Hero
I think the Afghanistan legacy in Britain is refugees and even more opiate use. A lot of problems with homeless soldiers were there before they signed up, so can't blame the military for that.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
yep, shades of Jug Burkett's ' Stolen Valour'.

Everyone
thinks ' Nah, that could never happen to me'

Know what?

Sh1t happens. I was very briefly homeless. Not destitute, but without a place of my own. It sucketh bad.
 
It’s all very well looking at numbers, it’s just a statistic. Are they looking into the causes?
 

TheAssassin

War Hero
yep, shades of Jug Burkett's ' Stolen Valour'.

Everyone
thinks ' Nah, that could never happen to me'

Know what?

Sh1t happens. I was very briefly homeless. Not destitute, but without a place of my own. It sucketh bad.
Its how you deal with it. A lot of the time, it's 100% your fault if day-after-day you are on the streets . If you are faultless, you can, and do, get out of it.
 
Its how you deal with it. A lot of the time, it's 100% your fault if day-after-day you are on the streets . If you are faultless, you can, and do, get out of it.
I've spoken about this before on another thread some time ago.

I was sitting on a train coming into Paddington. I was travelling from Heathrow after returning from some time in North Africa.

Two smelly, p*ssed up vagrants boarded the train a couple of stops before Paddington. Both drinking Special Brew. Both very gobby.
It was that moment when you could see everyone on the train was willing either of them not to sit next to them, myself included. The shorter of the two was extremely loud, obnoxious and insulting to the younger females in the carriage.
The other, taller one sat right next to me. He stunk. He was a mess.

I like to be grey. He immediately asked loudly, if I was in the army. I said no, and looked out the window. He then asked if i had ever been in the army. At that point I noticed his shoes - they were knackered, but they were good quality brogues.i then noticed he was wearing a quality leather jacket, again it was gopping, but it fitted him well.

There was something about him that made me reply that I was. At that point, his whole persona changed. He quietened down and became much more civil. We spoke 'normally' for a bit. He was very well spoken. Then he told me his story - apparently he was from a wealthy family and held a commission in the Royal Green Jackets. He did a tour of NI where he was present at an incident where a life or lives were lost (he wouldn't elaborate) which really really screwed him up.
Long story short, as a result, he turned to the booze and eventually lost everything - his career, family, friends, everything. He was now a homeless alcoholic.
We soon arrived at Paddington Station. On getting off the train we shook hands and I asked if I could assist in getting him any help. He flatly refused. He just seemed happy to have someone to speak to who he felt understood. I bunged him a few notes anyway, he was genuinely reluctant to take it. We both then went our separate ways.

Before this episode, I was of the opinion all homeless people are homeless by choice. I had very little, if any sympathy for them. Since then however, I have realised individual circumstances can be far more complicated.
I am now a lot more sympathetic. There are a lot of wasters on the streets, but there are also a lot of genuine cases.
 
My daughter is a mental health nurse,and reckons there is going to be a huge issue with post Afghanistan here in the years to come. But when You think of our Parents and Grandparents generations who went through the crucibles of WW1 and 2 with even less support. It's hard to know.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Before this episode, I was of the opinion all homeless people are homeless by choice. I had very little, if any sympathy for them. Since then however, I have realised individual circumstances can be far more complicated.
I am now a lot more sympathetic. There are a lot of wasters on the streets, but there are also a lot of genuine cases.
Two distinct examples in my area

1) Young guy , under 30...sits outside the Co-op on a filthy sleeping bag, DPM trousers, polystryrene cup to the fore.....full facial tattoo.....I gave him a few bob, got chatting...he told me the facial tattoo was to cover up burns he'd got 'in Afghanistan'

( as it happened I'd met a young bloke called Martyn Compton at Headley Court who really had been badly burned in a fire fight ....I didn't tell Tattoo guy that, but his face was fackall like that.)

2) Middle aged man in Portswood, sits outside the shops....tatty old MPTs, old style roll mat...hand lettered cardboard sign ' my name is Atkins, my Army no was 24691238* , I served in 2 Bn Royal Loamshires from 1988 - 1996...blah blah'.....proud of his service, but prefers to live outside. Functioning ( ish ) alcoholic.

It occurred to me a long time ago that military basic , especially Infantry, equips people to function quite well with the bare minimum. Sadly, there are some people who find four walls more frightening.

So.........Corinthians, 15:8

Illuc sine gratia Dei eam.



Lock down is happily fecking with 'normal' people's heads as it is.

I doubt it's made anyone with existing mental issues any better.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/stories-52740518/c







* don't be daft.....that's my mate's old number jigged about.
 
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My daughter is a mental health nurse,and reckons there is going to be a huge issue with post Afghanistan here in the years to come. But when You think of our Parents and Grandparents generations who went through the crucibles of WW1 and 2 with even less support. It's hard to know.
My dad and father-in-law both served in WW2 - my father in the RN, my mother always said that he had PTSD. FiL served in 7th Armd Div and 30 Corps (during Market Garden) - he never spoke about his service and threw his medals in a biscuit tin, never wore them.

F*ck all support post Op Banner and Op Corporate as well...

300,000 troops went through NI. Admittedly a lot were in support roles and not on the streets on a daily basis, but even so everyone was at risk. Even our families were attacked in the UK and Europe.

Op Corporate - 1,000 casualties in what, 6-8 weeks? My decompression was 10 days on an RFA sailing from Port Stanley to Ascencion Island. At least one of my close friends from those days has PTSD.

I have a whole bunch of mates from the TA who went out to Iraq on the invasion in 2003. Most are having problems now, some of them have talked to me about it at mess functions and reunions. Different war, same old sh*t...

How many went through Afgan and Iraq? I'd hate to guess...
 

cymraeg

War Hero
I think a lot of it comes down to the type of individual.

Some can compartmentalise everything and **** off the past like closed chapters in a book. Tho this may just be delaying the inevitable in some.

Others cant and every day relieve events brought on by memories triggered by innocuous things. Smells sounds etc

Some may have a sense of guilt and choose a self imposed exile or worse as atonement for things they feel they may be responsible for.

Yes it all comes down to how you deal with it @TheAssassin but many individuals dont know how to deal with it or where they may find help finding the necessary mechanisms.

My best mate who I truly looked upon as a brother took his life last year in the most gruesome way and on that day I missed the phone call off him just before he did it. I still wonder what if and still to an extent cant forgive myself.

As @dingerr said we need to look at the causes and fund a proper support network. No matter how strong you are one day something may prove to much..... my brother proved this
 
As @dingerr said we need to look at the causes and fund a proper support network. No matter how strong you are one day something may prove to much..... my brother proved this
Although the thread title refers to Afghanistan, and others have thrown in quite correctly with NI, Iraq etc. Anybody else get the feeling that this has been recognised for a long time and either the money, will or knowledge to deal with it was not available.

Anyone remember the TV Ad from the somewhere around the 70's / early 80's which went along the lines of.

'' Meet Tiny, Tiny was the bravest man I ever met ....................''
 

Bogie_Bear

War Hero
I've spoken about this before on another thread some time ago.

I was sitting on a train coming into Paddington. I was travelling from Heathrow after returning from some time in North Africa.

Two smelly, p*ssed up vagrants boarded the train a couple of stops before Paddington. Both drinking Special Brew. Both very gobby.
It was that moment when you could see everyone on the train was willing either of them not to sit next to them, myself included. The shorter of the two was extremely loud, obnoxious and insulting to the younger females in the carriage.
The other, taller one sat right next to me. He stunk. He was a mess.

I like to be grey. He immediately asked loudly, if I was in the army. I said no, and looked out the window. He then asked if i had ever been in the army. At that point I noticed his shoes - they were knackered, but they were good quality brogues.i then noticed he was wearing a quality leather jacket, again it was gopping, but it fitted him well.

There was something about him that made me reply that I was. At that point, his whole persona changed. He quietened down and became much more civil. We spoke 'normally' for a bit. He was very well spoken. Then he told me his story - apparently he was from a wealthy family and held a commission in the Royal Green Jackets. He did a tour of NI where he was present at an incident where a life or lives were lost (he wouldn't elaborate) which really really screwed him up.
Long story short, as a result, he turned to the booze and eventually lost everything - his career, family, friends, everything. He was now a homeless alcoholic.
We soon arrived at Paddington Station. On getting off the train we shook hands and I asked if I could assist in getting him any help. He flatly refused. He just seemed happy to have someone to speak to who he felt understood. I bunged him a few notes anyway, he was genuinely reluctant to take it. We both then went our separate ways.

Before this episode, I was of the opinion all homeless people are homeless by choice. I had very little, if any sympathy for them. Since then however, I have realised individual circumstances can be far more complicated.
I am now a lot more sympathetic. There are a lot of wasters on the streets, but there are also a lot of genuine cases.
C'mon, which Arse'r was it?
 
Although the thread title refers to Afghanistan, and others have thrown in quite correctly with NI, Iraq etc. Anybody else get the feeling that this has been recognised for a long time and either the money, will or knowledge to deal with it was not available.

Anyone remember the TV Ad from the somewhere around the 70's / early 80's which went along the lines of.

'' Meet Tiny, Tiny was the bravest man I ever met ....................''
I don't think it was a TV Ad. It was an Ad in the National press and Soldier magazine for Combat Stress or whatever it was called in those days. Tiny was a CSM in Aden and Ulster who could no longer go round a street corner anymore without breaking into the sweats. It was his CO who was saying that 'Tiny was the bravest man he ever met'.
 

Sexton Blake

Swinger
.....'In the early 2000s, Nottingham Uni did a survey of the shifting population of rough sleepers in London. They were armed with a laptop database which held details of genuine former Service pers'....

How did Nottingham Uni have that database?

I am not posting to simply be antagonistic, indeed I consider myself to be sensibly compassionate in most cases of homelessness which (as you state) can occur in many scenarios. However, without any data of my own except questioning occasionally ex 'army' types on the streets (never RAF or RN seemingly) I have yet to meet genuine ex army on the streets of London, Oxford, Bristol or Cambridge. Areas where I have served and frequented.

Blokes down on their luck yes, sofa surfing but working, or not working but homed. Never yet the full on wet doss bag on the pavement scenario.

Again, I am not wanting to come across as 'let them eat cake' but I would be interested in data on this topic. If research is carried out by well meaning civ or academic organisations how do they determine if a person is genuinely ex Mil or was 49 PARA?

For what it is worth, and as Goatman alludes to, you can sus out those who are fibbing in seconds; does any MOD org assist in verifying data put together by MSM, Uni's, charity etc?
 

Bob65

Old-Salt
But when You think of our Parents and Grandparents generations who went through the crucibles of WW1 and 2 with even less support. It's hard to know.
It's not as simple as that. With the mass mobilisations of the WW's when you came home there would always be someone to talk to, who had been through the experiences and understood. But in the modern world the army is much smaller and the population much more mobile, a former soldier who goes "back home" may find himself "alone". That I believe is the root cause of PTSD disproportionally affecting this generation of soldiers.
 
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It's not as simple as that. With the mass mobilisations of the WW's when you came home there would always be someone to talk to, who had been through the experiences and understood. But in the modern world the army is much smaller and the population much more mobile, a former soldier who goes "back home" make find himself "alone". That I believe is the root cause of PTSD disproportionally affecting this generation of soldiers.
Also, both world wars, were seen as worthwhile.

Modern war? A dusty shit hole, where the locals don't want you, and you are there on behalf of a government or bank that cares not one iota.

Was it worth it?
 
I don't think it was a TV Ad. It was an Ad in the National press and Soldier magazine for Combat Stress or whatever it was called in those days. Tiny was a CSM in Aden and Ulster who could no longer go round a street corner anymore without breaking into the sweats. It was his CO who was saying that 'Tiny was the bravest man he ever met'.
Gosh, I remember that ad...
 
Ed Stafford, Ex-Devon & Dorset did an interesting documentary on living on the streets. What struck me was how simple life seemed.

 
My daughter is a mental health nurse,and reckons there is going to be a huge issue with post Afghanistan here in the years to come. But when You think of our Parents and Grandparents generations who went through the crucibles of WW1 and 2 with even less support. It's hard to know.
Ask her to open her eyes. There already is a huge issue, many are topping themselves though.
 

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