Plea for Combat Stress in Sunday Times


June 10, 2007

A land unfit for heroes
This week, Falklands war veterans commemorate their victory 25 years ago. About 300 men who came home will be missing from the parades. They have killed themselves. Many more are battling suicide, and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are swelling their ranks. This is their story — and they’re angryReport: Michael Bilton
Connecting a vacuum-cleaner hose to his car, Ian Cubbold, 60, switched on the engine, took sleeping tablets and lay down to inhale the lethal exhaust fumes and die at his home near Yeovil, Somerset, in 1993.

There were no such preparations made by Colin Dreary, aged 31. He simply picked up a knife and stabbed himself to death at his home in Sunderland in 1994.

Mark Crown, 39, died in June 1995. He handcuffed one hand to his car steering wheel, doused himself with petrol and set himself ablaze. He left a wife and two children.

Jim Laker was 37 in September 1997 when he launched himself off the roof of a building in Aldershot. Stephen Rawlins, a guardsman aged 38, hanged himself at his father’s home in south Wales on Remembrance Day, 2000.

Martin Harbert, 44, hanged himself, leaving three children, in May 2001. Charles Bruce, 46, threw himself out of a plane without a parachute in January 2002. John Hunt, 39, took an overdose of pills in June 2002, at his home in Calne, Wiltshire. That same year, Godfrey Williams, 40, died in Llandeilo, south Wales, after stabbing himself in the heart with a bayonet.

They were policemen, teachers, lorry drivers and care workers or simply unemployed. But they had one thing in common. They were all Falklands war veterans, they had all suffered post-traumatic disorders, and they were all failed by the system.

It’s hardly surprising that some soldiers and sailors who experience the full horrors of war fail to readjust to civilian life. Haunted by their experiences, terrorised by flashbacks, they develop psychiatric disorders and, in spite of the support of family or friends, succumb to suicide.

What is surprising is that these nine men represent a roll call that shames Britain.

A total of 255 British servicemen died during the conflict. But around 300 veterans – the equivalent of half a battalion of fighting men – have died by their own hand since the Argentine surrender to the British task force on June 14, 1982, in Port Stanley. This week marks the 25th anniversary. Up and down the country there will be celebrations, parades and reunions to mark the event. It is likely that every ex-serviceman who served knows of a comrade who will not be among the parade participants. The services of remembrance will pay homage to those who lost their ................."

When will the government do their duty to those who did theirs????

edited to add: sorry just seen already posted

Similar threads

Latest Threads