Investigation into the increasing numbers of British soldiers returning from Iraq and going AWOL, rather than facing life in the British Army. Featuring the stories of young men who return from battle so scarred and disillusioned they vow never to return even if it means going on the run.
10,000 AWOL is a work of pure fiction that is 10% of the Army which would clearly be missed. 1100 could be realistic.
The suggestion that AWOL goes unreported taking that fictious 10,000 even higher is also bollocks. If a soldier is missing for a very brief period then it is often dealt with as missing a parade true. But then there has always been a difference between AWOL and late for a parade.
The issue is why these alleged 10,000 have gone AWOL and how many are the result of Iraq, Afghan etc. My suspicion is that the majority will be for the same old, same old reasons: debt, family problems and so forth. I'm sure that 'trauma' from operations is the cause in some cases but AWOL is a perennial problem and I'm not aware that the numbers have jumped enormously.
Thank you for the response. At the risk of seeming absurdly archaic and reactionary, I am still at a loss to understand why so many (if the figures are true) go absent from Active Service?
I reiterate my earlier question - what are the the penalties these days for going AWOL from Active Service?
The penalties used to be so severe, that the soldier's (lengthy) sojourn in Colchester, would be the least of his problems.
If he ever returned to his Regiment, he would find that his erstwhile comrades-in-arms had long memories and heavy boots.
Memory, of course, may be tricking me, but I really feel that this tended to be less of a problem say 35, years ago than it is now, and for several reasons:
Firstly, the principle of 'collective punishment' - for instance, if someone failed to return from R&R during Active Service - the next two due to go would automatically forfeit the privilege.
Secondly, the certain knowledge that if one ever saw daylight again, one would be Persona non grata throughout the Regiment.
I cannot believe that today's young soldiers are any less courageous than those that went before, so what can be the reason? - Loss of Esprit de Corps? - Lack of effective deterrent? - Less cohesion and camaraderie between the troops?
I honestly don't understand it, and I would be obliged for any thoughts from those currently serving.
Edited to add: Well, I payed close attention to Panorama - and I must be a Dinosaur or obtuse (or both) because I still don't get it.
Watching the program just now, so glad I left the Army when I did.
I know of two soliders from my regiment that have commited suicide due to the traumers in Iraq.
American soliders have got the best facilities in the world for recovering from these kind of situations. however here in the UK our guys get treated like sh1t.
The soliders in this program that have been kicked out seem to be reasonably good soliders and need to be treated properly, im not saying treat them with kid gloves but give them a bit of flexibility to get their heads together.
If you kick out say a L/CPL who has been in the Army for maybe 4 years, surely it would be worth trying to help him in (depending on his crime), as it is going to take the time and money to train somebody else up to this standard.
Watched it last night and the way Panoramas reporter went on about Soldiers constantly looking over there shoulders for the Police / Rmp, anyone not connected to the Military may think that there are hundreds of RMPs rifting through allotments / outhouses and scouring the countryside looking for these individuals.