Afghanistan - The Legacy in Britain

ndeed I do remember it; at least the newspaper ad.
It was a powerful advert, evidenced by at least you and I remembering it after all these years.
A million thank you's for the attachment.

A more detailed comment to follow when my unashamed tears subside and I can actually see the keyboard.
 

Sexton Blake

Old-Salt
Yeah, that was the Ex Services Mental Welfare Society, now known as 'Combat Stress'.....as per post above /\.

Our history

Arrsers various have supported them running the British 10K in London over a number of seasons.
A small team from my Unit ran the Marine Corps Marathon for them in 2004.

And every single time Combat Stress get mentioned in this forum some d1ck pops up with

' Don't talk to me about those cahnts....they did nothing for me....etc etc.'

Well, Combat Stress has been around since just after the First World War.

It was in WW2 that understanding actually went backwards....unhinged Bomber Command aircrew getting labelled 'LMF' etc.

And we always get into the same tedious circular arguments about people ' pulling the PTSD card '.



Study was carried out in conjunction with MoD, who at that time were on the back foot (as ever) re persistent Press reports that London's Rough Sleepers were disproportionately ex-Service folk. * see addendum

I'll try and get a definitive document on it and post link here.

@hackle with his corporate overview of Westminster Poison Palace shenanigans may recall it ?

[ " The full details are currently unavailable but I will furnish the Hon Member with a reply and a copy will be placed in the Library of the House " ]

IIRC, APC Glasgow provided the database, and it went back 20 years prior to the survey.

Whether it was Tri-Service or not I do not recall.


Edited to add: https://www.york.ac.uk/media/chp/documents/2008/HomelessExServiceinLondon.pdf


" The report identifies the number, characteristics and experiences of homeless Veterans, routes into homelessness, the effectiveness of services for homeless Veterans in London and a series of important recommendations, many of which have already been actioned or are planned. The research approach was investigative and cumulative, building on information and 'leads' from a wide variety of agencies to more adequately quantify need and risk factors, and develop appropriate responses especially to improve coordination and knowledge of services for Veterans at risk. Importantly, the report also provides very clear guidelines about focusing the efforts of ESAG partners to be able to provide innovative and effective support for Veterans who have just become homeless, are long-term homeless or may be about to become homeless. "

( Fill those black limousines - the Google-Fu is strong in this one ! )
Goatman - Thank you kindly for linking the report. For what it's worth I felt it very well put together indeed.

Of note:

* Circa 1990's it was estimated that 25% of homeless in London were ex Mil.
* The report linked updates that percentage to 6% of homeless in London being ex Mil; albeit not exclusively 'rough sleepers'
* The amount of ex Mil 'rough sleepers' is estimated at 14 pers (6% of a total of 248 rough sleepers in London (sample)).

What I am deducing, while being utterly mindful of the real issue of homelessness, (regardless of ex Mil or not) is that based on this report, until it is superseded, is that in London there are a total of 14 ex Mil pers sleeping rough daily. One could apply that figure across other cities in the UK

My point is that it is not as high a figure as many folk may be led to believe. Again, I am not making light of the seriousness of this topic nor the agencies such as Combat Stress/SSAFA et al who do such sterling work but I do challenge perceived notions that there are thousands of Ex Mil sleeping rough across the UK. Homelessness not to be confused with only sleeping rough of course.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Goatman - Thank you kindly for linking the report. For what it's worth I felt it very well put together indeed.

Of note:

* Circa 1990's it was estimated that 25% of homeless in London were ex Mil.
* The report linked updates that percentage to 6% of homeless in London being ex Mil; albeit not exclusively 'rough sleepers'
* The amount of ex Mil 'rough sleepers' is estimated at 14 pers (6% of a total of 248 rough sleepers in London (sample)).

What I am deducing, while being utterly mindful of the real issue of homelessness, (regardless of ex Mil or not) is that based on this report, until it is superseded, is that in London there are a total of 14 ex Mil pers sleeping rough daily. One could apply that figure across other cities in the UK

My point is that it is not as high a figure as many folk may be led to believe. Again, I am not making light of the seriousness of this topic nor the agencies such as Combat Stress/SSAFA et al who do such sterling work but I do challenge perceived notions that there are thousands of Ex Mil sleeping rough across the UK. Homelessness not to be confused with only sleeping rough of course.
I'm familiar with the stats, but sadly those who chose not to accept them will still consider themselves right
 

ROMFT

Clanker
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.
Spot on, the world wars were total wars that involved the entire population in one way or another. Many civilians had experienced being bombed & in WW2 there had been the fear of invasion. Mass mobilisation meant that the casualties had been spread across the population, both socially & geographically. Returning servicemen absorbed back into a society that had shared at least some of the trauma & everybody was looking to the future.
Today returning servicepersonel exit the airport to the mess that is modern Britain, not to mention that the cities are frequently full of the people who resemble last weeks enemies. Sometimes they even have to conceal what they have done instead of being proud of their service or just try to talk about it.
Nobody wants to hear their experiences, too busy being heroes on Call of Duty etc.
 
Indeed I do remember it; at least the newspaper ad.
It was a powerful advert, evidenced by at least you and I remembering it after all these years.
A million thank you's for the attachment.

A more detailed comment to follow when my unashamed tears subside and I can actually see the keyboard.
@Stanchion

By way of explanation, and if it helps anyone else, then all well and good. It may also go someway to explain disparity in certain stats.

It is fast approaching the 50th anniversary of my fathers death. I had not long turned the ripe old age of 9. My father was an Ex SNCO, and as a 9 year old, the simple explanation was that my father had died.

At around the age of 15 I had already decided that I was going to follow in my fathers footsteps. My mother was distraught. Over the course of the next 18 months or so, the reason for that despair would become apparent.

My father did not die as such, he had committed suicide. 50 years ago Mental Health issues were brushed under the carpet ( never to be spoken about ) and many people considered suicide to be the ultimate sin. Neither were openly spoken about. It became clear that my father saw / carried a burden that became too great for him. As a 9 year old, probably like most 9 year old's, my father appeared to be a great, hulking colossus of a man that would put the fear of death in the devil himself. Sadly his demons and brain said otherwise.

It was during this time that I first saw that Ad. ( Downloaded, with eternal thanks ) Having just discovered that my father had committed suicide, ( In my 16 year old head ) Tiny became somewhat of a kindred spirit / Uncle / Don't really know how to describe it.

Indeed, a powerful Ad ( in more ways than one ) and an Ad that I will never forget until my dying day.

Moral of the story. If anyone thinks that they might need help, swallow that pride, forget the stereotypes and seek that help.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Today returning servicepersonel exit the airport to the mess that is modern Britain, not to mention that the cities are frequently full of the people who resemble last weeks enemies.
This was actually a problem in Selly Oak, and , to a lesser extent in Birmingham's QEH hospital.

One guy ( not apocryphal, this actually happened) woke up from long term unconsciousness in QEH after a CCAST flight from Bastion, with his old Mum beside him.

He was convinced he had been captured by the Taliban and she was in danger.... mucho embarrassment.

At the time, this kind of issue was very much NOT what the then Labour administration of the day wanted to hear.


I'm familiar with the stats, but sadly those who chose not to accept them will still consider themselves right
Yeah......there was a hard push from the Left linked to homelessness in general.

I'm not in London anymore....wonder what the rough sleeping pop. is like in these days of Lock-down?

( I'm guessing much reduced from previous years(?) - less footfall, fewer pennies in the polystyrene cup.....and have you seen the price of Carlsberg Special Brew? By, it's criminal man)
 
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The Report from York University (Not Nottingham as per my earlier post) concluded with this:

['This report is the product of a wish by the Ex-Service Action Group on Homelessness (ESAG) for an independent review of homelessness among ex-Service personnel in London after ten years of operations as a group. ']

Recommendations :

The prevention of homelessness amongst ex-Service personnel may be further enhanced if a number of issues are taken into consideration.

It could be argued that the ex-Service homelessness prevention remit lies primarily in the hands of the MoD and Armed Forces resettlement and post discharge support programmes.

By the time most ex-Service personnel seek help, or are ‘discovered’ by frontline support agency staff (e.g. street outreach teams), they are already homeless.

Early indications suggest that these preventative measures are beginning to have a positive impact, but their influence might potentially be enhanced by:

• Considering ways of breaking down the ‘shame’ barrier that inhibits ex-Service personnel from accepting help.

• Either way, the relevance of the resettlement programme housing and financial briefings must be actively promoted given the widespread assumption amongst Service Leavers that ‘everything will be fine’ after discharge and that such information will be of little value to them.

• There is an apparent need for Commanding Officers and resettlement staff to be trained in detecting symptoms of vulnerability or risk factors for social exclusion amongst Service Leavers – Early Service Leavers in particular.

• In addition, the Armed Forces might be more proactive in monitoring the welfare of ex-Service personnel – especially those identified as at risk of social exclusion – at defined periods following discharge so that they might be signposted to welfare services as appropriate.

There is a clear need for ESAG to increase awareness of the services available amongst the ex-Service community and mainstream homelessness providers – at both managerial and frontline levels.

In particular, staff should be alerted to the types of support offered by dedicated homelessness projects in London as well as the more general provisions made by national ex-Forces welfare agencies such as The Royal British Legion, SSAFA and so on.

Furthermore, the accessibility and effectiveness of ESAG services would be improved if they were more streamlined and had a well-advertised central point of contact or access.

Given the shortage of settled housing within London, there is a case for providing more settled accommodation in a range of forms to cater for differing levels and types of support need.

In particular, greater provision of ‘transitional’ or ‘second stage’ accommodation is needed for ex-Service personnel with medium or high support needs who currently find the ‘jump’ from hostel accommodation to an independent tenancy very difficult to cope with.

Such projects should enable them to develop the skills needed and build confidence in their ability to live independently within a supportive environment.

Referrals to such projects should operate in such a way as to ensure that they are needs- rather than supply-driven, and
offer continuity of support to individual ex-Service personnel.

----------------- ------------------------ ------------------------ -------------------------------
LINK
------------------------- ---------------------------- ---------------------------------- -----------------------

The York Report came out in 2008, just in time for ten years of George Osborne austerity.

It would be interesting to know what actions, if any, have been taken in the interim......
Only those currently serving or about to leave the Service would be in a position to answer.
Why the big push to get people into houses? Has anyone asked them what they want?

It would be better (and cheaper) to listen to people, if they want to stay on the streets, let them, but help them to live the best life they can. Provide some kit, establish a network where they can get help and advice, a hot meal, medical assistance.

It appears some people aren’t talking or listening to other, they are making assumptions based on their own narrow thinking.
 

poo_finger

Old-Salt
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.
Wasn’t that the purpose of the old RBL clubs being established, to give the WW Vets a place to go and drink and reminisce with those who have shared their experiences? It’s a shame a lot of these clubs have now closed, with a bit of modernisation they could definitely have been used in that way by the veterans of today!
 

ROMFT

Clanker
I hear that the farmers are short of fruit & veg pickers.
I spent a couple of years doing the summer/autumn season work in France. Lots of the French/Spanish co-workers were functional alcoholics, & the Portuguese :oops: , one half said that they came to France to get away from the drugs while the other half had brought the drugs with them (this was in the '80s before Portugal changed it's attitude to drugs, apparently there it was easier to find heroin than hash).
The last few years that i did, the Poles had started to appear & I don't need to tell anyone about them & alcohol.

Seems ridiculous to me that the fields of Britain are full of Eastern Europeans while the streets are full of homeless drink & druggies.

When i first came to NL i met the German heroin junkie community based around Haarlem. Man you should have seen them go in the flower bulb packing factories when they were doing piece work, the sweat would be dripping from their noses.
I really don't understand what has happened to the UK since i left. :?
 
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.
I met a guardsman and para in similar fashion on the tube in Chiswick. At first I thought they were full of shit but we spoke a bit about their tours in afghan and they knew too much to be making it up. The gaurdsman did 5 tours, the para 3 and both now live in a pop up tent round the back of the station. They actually keep the area clean and get rid of the litter and junk that people throw there. I've never seen either of them drinking either and so reluctantly, gave them some cash before xmas.

I am not a believer in giving homeless people money. most of the time it will be spent on drugs or booze. I've seen it myself and i'm sure you all have too.

If a beggar makes enough money today to eat, sleep and feed their habbit's, where and what do you think they will be doing tomorrow?

If they make f-all then they are forced to explore other avenues and it is this that drives many of them to clean up, find work, get a flat and restart life.

I firmly believe that the best way to help homeless people is not to give them any money at all. Help with information,services etc yes but not money.

I have been known to buy people food before but i'm unsure if this is a good idea or not.

90% of beggars in London are professionals who choose to sit on the streets and demand money from passers by like it is their right. They have homes, they are usually clean, shaven and obviously have not spent the night outside, you can spot them a mile away.

I saw some Indian kid once in the underpass at Victoria Station, passed out in a pool of his own bodily fluids, he was clearly in a bad way and sweet old lady woke him up and gave him a handful of money. He looked completely confused.

About 30 minutes later I saw him standing in the road in front of a bus on the strand, off his head, holding a big piece of wood and trying to hit the front of the bus but not being able to to swing it very hard. He had very clearly taken that money to his nearest dealer and bought something, probably spice and resumed his wild, crazy life with the funds that the old lady had given him.

She thought she was doing the right thing but she made his situation worse. Judging from the state of him that day, he is probably dead by now.

You have to be cruel to be kind in this case.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Nobody wants to hear their experiences, too busy being heroes on Call of Duty etc.
I do.

I posted earlier in this forum, wondering why Britain chooses not to instigate an Official History of our Fourth Afghan War ?

[ For example, Captain Roskill's Official history of the War at Sea 1939-45 was first published 9 years after VJ Day ]

The answer, of course, is that nothing was won. There has been no victory, no parade.

And as I write, British soldiers are even now doing the job they joined up to do in Kabul.

Announcement of fatality

So , an oral history it should be then.

First-hand testimony of all the minor triumphs and major fúck-ups ordinary guys and gals from ordinary British towns and cities saw in alien places like Nad-e-ali, Lash and Kajaki.

Of course there have been many books written about the Afghan experience, from Patrick Bishop's 'A Million Bullets' to Toby Harnden's 'Dead Men Risen', about the Welsh Guards bloody tour of Helmand.

It should not be left to journalists to tell the story.
 

Londo

LE
I've worked with a local homeless charity to help them distribute food. One of the workers came in for a talk, apparently quite a few of the beggars had houses from the local council but continued to beg because it was easy money. A lot of them were also older men with zero chance of establishing a decent career. As the only viable alternative was to work hard doing labouring on minimum wage you can understand why they'd want to sit around a park drinking cheap beer.

It's also worth pointing out that many of these people don't have the IQ or social savvy to hold down a job, tho some are just bone idle too. There's not really much they can do that's of use to society. I imagine a lot have mental health and learning difficulties too.

There was a story a while ago posted on arrse about a do-gooder minted house wife who took in a tramp. Maybe she'd watched too much Les Miserables? Her hubby gave the guy a job in his company and he lived in their house.

The tramp ended up stabbing the wife and her son cos he was a psycho drug addict.
Yes I remember that . Tragic
 
I do.

I posted earlier in this forum, wondering why Britain chooses not to instigate an Official History of our Fourth Afghan War ?

[ For example, Captain Roskill's Official history of the War at Sea 1939-45 was first published 9 years after VJ Day ]

The answer, of course, is that nothing was won. There has been no victory, no parade.

And as I write, British soldiers are even now doing the job they joined up to do in Kabul.

Announcement of fatality

So , an oral history it should be then.

First-hand testimony of all the minor triumphs and major fúck-ups ordinary guys and gals from ordinary British towns and cities saw in alien places like Nad-e-ali, Lash and Kajaki.

Of course there have been many books written about the Afghan experience, from Patrick Bishop's 'A Million Bullets' to Toby Harnden's 'Dead Men Risen', about the Welsh Guards bloody tour of Helmand.

It should not be left to journalists to tell the story.
You'll need someone like Ken Wharton to do this. He has written a number of books on Op Banner, mostly from material collected by blokes who were there but backed up by personal experience and a lot of research. I hope you can find someone to do the subject justice...

Ken Wharton - soldier and writer
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Some can
Some can't
Some just do: Emergency
 

Glue_Sniffer

Old-Salt
Two distinct examples

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.
I know it's not exactly what you're saying here, but I recall someone saying to me (in real life) that they thought some ex forces homeless people liked living outside, because it reminded them of the army (or something along those lines).

At the time it sounded like nonsense. Because I couldn't recall anyone in the army who preferred sleeping outside, rather than inside in their own bed. Or inside any building in a bed.

In fact, I can recall numerous individuals who would find any excuse they could to avoid having to sleep outside or even go on exercise at all.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
In fact, I can recall numerous individuals who would find any excuse they could to avoid having to sleep outside or even go on exercise at all
yep, me too.

The RM standard line is ' Any fool can be uncomfortable in the field '

My own view was Why sleep outside when there is a perfectly acceptable vehicle/ barn/Troop Shelter/derelict building/deck to keep the rain off. But then I was never one of the warry tactical types.

'Bashas and Bergens' were the exception rather than the rule in my brief time.

One of our own ( EggBanjo I think) does an annual event which involves an overnight in a dossbag to highlight the plight of homeless people.
 
Perhaps the army itself needs to make changes in constantly shunting people about, making it hard for people to buy a house in their career. The fact that people are doing their 22 yes and coming out with no housing of their own is wrong and needs to be tack.ed within.
 
The fact that people are doing their 22 yes and coming out with no housing of their own is wrong and needs to be tack.ed within.
Probably because Abdul from Kabul and his familly is occupying the house which should have gone to a soldier and his familly who have been on a council housing list for years.
 
I was thinking more along the line of encouraging more saving so that a guy within sight of his exit has funds to put down for a house, instead of coming out with nothing to show for it except a ruined liver
 

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