Wives urging British soldiers to quit

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Oct 30, 2007.

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    The army of wives urging British soldiers to quit the frontline
    By SAM GREENHILL - More by this author »

    Last updated on 30th October 2007

    Partners of personnel returning from the frontline say the experience changed them

    British soldiers are under growing pressure from their families to leave the forces.

    Wives - and husbands - of personnel returning from the frontline say the experience has changed them in a way that is damaging family life.

    The first official survey of military spouses will make worrying reading for defence ministers accused of stretching the forces to unacceptable levels.

    Almost 4,000 spouses responded to the Ministry of Defence survey.

    Complaints ranged from the amount of time their partners were away to the quality of accommodation.

    Among the partners of privates and non-commissioned officers, nearly half (46 per cent) complained they were deployed on operational tours too frequently - and 37 per cent said they would be happier if their partner quit altogether.

    Asked if they thought a soldier's behaviour had changed as a result of their experience on the frontline, 42 per cent of wives and husbands said yes. Two-thirds (68 per cent) said the change had been "negative" or "very negative" on them and their families.

    One in five of these soldiers had sought professional counselling.

    In six years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, 253 British service personnel have been killed and some 5,500 wounded.

    Regiments are often sent back into action after minimal time with their families.

    The complaints were not confined to the Army. Half of Navy wives and husbands said they often felt lonely and isolated, while 38 per cent said they had experienced marital problems due to their partner being in the services.

    Defence Minister Derek Twigg said last night that looking after service families was a matter of "huge importance" and the survey would help target key concerns.

    But Tory spokesman Liam Fox said: "Unfortunately this is the human cost of overstretch."
  2. I see a flaw in the piece:

    It won't make 'worrying reading', since they don't give a *. They'll issue some vacuous, platitudinous nonsense that suggests that they care and are 'working hard to resolve the issues' and crack on in the belief that they've dealt with the problem (the problem being the bad PR, of course).

    Oh look - they've already issued the vacuous, platitudinous nonsense:

    At least it wasn't from Bob 'Einstein' Ainsworth...
  3. Tomorrow I celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary. well I ordered flowers and bought a card to give to the wife. As she drops me off for the transport to brize at silly a.m. to fly out and finish my 5th operational tour since we got married.

    Throw in 3 batus, 1 kenya, God knows how many FTX, pre deployment trg, various courses, adventure training, duties and a whole host of other piddly cr@p that keeps me out of my kennel.

    The result? One p1ssed off wife! And I am one of the luckier ones!
  4. I particularly liked:

    No mention of the RAF then. Does that mean the RAF wives didn't complain or they had nothing to complain about?
  5. I must agree the end result of undermanning and underfunding have been obvious for many years and ministers have done little to rectify it. Statement like this 'Defence Minister Derek Twigg said last night that looking after service families was a matter of "huge importance" and the survey would help target key concerns' are platitudes to try to cover up what is a growing problem of retention. One must ask that if looking after service families was of such huge importance why does this survey show otherwise?
  6. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    'twas ever thus. In the past though some effort was made to look after those left behind. A decent house etc. Even thats no longer considered important. Coupled with the constant op tours its likely we will lose very good men because the government want to save a few quid to spend on expenses.

    I just feel sorry for the poor b@stards that will have to pick up the peices when the string finally snaps and the military collapses.
  7. chimera

    chimera LE Moderator

    Nothing new here.

    It has long been the case since God was a boy that behind the majority of sign offs is a wife/girlfriend putting pressure on.

    And more often that not behind the majority of re-enlistments the girlfriend has spent the bloke's money, and the bloke decides that maybe things weren't so bad after all.
  8. This survey of course is more damming than it first appears. By far the largest numbers of marrieds are of course the officers and senior ranks who are essential for the continuance of effective professional forces loose these and you loose the core of knowledge and expertise which makes British forces so admired. This erosion of key personnel has been going on for some time now and this survey would indicate that it will accelerate.
  9. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Er, haven't wives pretty much always urged their loved ones to quit the forces, since Roman times?

    My missus wants me to work less, and I'm not in the forces, and only work 9 to 5.30 FFS!
  10. Certainly no one round here was asked, they probably would have got the same response as your collective spouses have given.
  11. It was pretty poor in my time in but NOTHING like it must be today with far fewer personnel and more operational tours. I don't blame 'the girls' one jot. All I would say is: make every effort to secure a job before leaving, and, try to stay in touch with your mates.
  12. The main problem there is the long notice you have to give before geting out. You are right though, it is much better to be going straight into employment. It is far harder to find a job once unemployed.
  13. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Piece to be on Jeremy Vine at noon.
  14. mysteron

    mysteron LE Book Reviewer

    As much as we dig at the RAF, the one thing they have done very well is their HR and social welfare - that is one of the reasons why we bang on about civvies in uniform slogans etc. They do it well, very well indeed - but there is a cost. The price they pay is that the RAF has diluted some (not all - bandwagon jumpers beware) of its make do and mend mentality that has made HM Armed Forces so well respected.

    This is not intended to open a debate about overstretch but the RAF do less time on op tours than the Army and fewer members spend less time in in really dodgy locations (In this context - I mean Qatar not those at the COB or in Kabul). So are their people happier - more likely than the Navy where their partner goes to see for 6 - 8 months or the Army when we poke off to nasty places and get shot at for 6 months at a time.

    Edited for typing mong
  15. Jeremy Vine is discussing this on his show today