Post Traumatic Stress

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Trincomalee, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. DPas

    DPas Member

    Odd argument that the country fought a war for freedom of speech and then wish to label those who disagree with us. When I was young there were many living around us who had served, including my father - just as today many of those old soldiers would not turn out on armistice day, some would indeed argue that it glorified war. Some were still close to it and remembered quietly and as this subject covers did not wish to relive it. 'Similar minded individuals' who disagree with some of nations involvements in modern conflicts - well here is one! Anyone linking glory with war needs to think again. A good soldier will obey orders - he will also offer advice. This is our fourth expedition to Afghanistan - they turfed us out on three (one casualties of 12000 British, Indian troops and followers). There was not going to be a military solution this time either that observation is not peculiar to the soldier.

    Sorry Wills, just to clarify, I was not trying to say anything against freedom of speech, however I do get the impression that sometimes people get confused or are unable to separate the political decision that led to service men and women being deployed, from the soldiers themselves. Anyway, not to confuse the issue, but what I am wondering is if there is somewhat more of a negative attitude to vets of more modern conflict relative to the attitude/respect shown for WW2 vets, and if so does this make these younger vets more prone to Post Traumatic Stress
     
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  2. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Goes in cycles during the 1960s many units in garrisons found that the the local population wanted the services well and truly out of town. It will happen again, when units are put into large scale camps - goodwill disappears, often the services or the service people are as much to blame as the public! The casualties in NI over the years were high and at times peaked, there was sympathy but among the public was the underlying attitude get out what are you doing there it is not OUR problem. After the South Atlantic hooray job well done but please do not wear a uniform here mate. There has never been a golden age when we have treated homecoming soldiers any differently - quick parade and cheers and then join the queue mate. Not sure if it has any affect on the minds of soldiers but maybe being shown the gate and moving from a routine they are used to (we all were) to one of being self sufficient comes as a shock to some. Some of course have indeed been involved in the immediate horror and it can scar the mind of any of us.
     
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  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I get PTS when my bacon and egg breakfast is late in the morning
     
  4. DPas

    DPas Member

    I get PTS when my bacon and egg breakfast is late in the morning

    Nice. I can think of no better start for the day. If you get bored with that use the eggs to make French Toast and make it into a bacon sandwich.
     
  5. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I am coming into this thread rather late, but Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is real battle wound. It varies in degree, of course, from my 'nightmares' which my wife after the first couple of years of our marriage said thank goodness you no longer shout out in your sleep as if issuing orders and trying to overcome a deep-rooted

    memory of the War. These occasion disappeared as these sharp memories receded over time: I no longer relive them as a situation which I am involved but view them as an 'observer', as if they had happened to someone else.

    However, a Captain already with an MC who was commanding his Rifle Company because his Company Commander was 'Left out of Battle', and lying in the forming-up place ready to go into attack with his batman close by his side only a few yards between them, came under artillery fire and an unexploded shell landed between them.

    We were subalterns and usually spent our off-duty time together and envied his delightful out-going personality, a dashing lad taking joy in everything he did and had the attributes of a natural leader as his award of the MC recognised. I warmly smile as I recalled our time in Cairngorms undergoing training in high-altitude warfare during the winter of 1943. There was the usual 'bull' occasions, and one is for ever in my memory when our two platoons were lined up with their kit all beautifully laid out ready for Commanding Officer's inspection and being in 'D' Company my friend anticipating we would be the last in the line and standing around idle not in my friend's nature, suggested we nip off to our bell tent - two erected in each marquee as we camped in the snow - and share a parcel just arrived from home. Standing eating cake and having a mug of tea, to my astonishment the flap our bell tent suddenly flips back and there was the Colonel with his entourage including our glaring Company Commander. Without hestitation my friend doesn't move but right away says 'Have a cup of tea, Colonel?' which was met with a tremendous bellow of laughter from the Colonel as he departed quickly saying 'Later, perhaps!' That our two Platoons were listed in Battalion Orders as 'outstanding' went some way to appeasing our Company Commander.

    But, after the incident of the unexploded bomb my dear friend was decisively changed and never again the same: his personality had dimmed, as if switched off. In civilian life he could not settle and drifted from job to job until an early death. A casualty in every sense of the word as someone deprived of limb and life.

    He is as fresh in my mind as ever and see him as he once was, but as I write lament the good man I knew so well but who in battle lost his 'inward power and spirit he was so richly endowed' and alas a loss not healed through time but a loss that was irreplaceable.

    Joe Brown.
     
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  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Joe, sadly I recognise all of that. half the trouble is that we do not look after those that suffer mental battle stress and cannot deal with it....and that is a great shame and a stain onthe nations conscience....
     
  7. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I am coming into this thread rather late, but Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is real battle wound. It varies in degree, of course, from my 'nightmares' which my wife after the first couple of years of our marriage said thank goodness you no longer shout out in your sleep as if issuing orders and trying to overcome a deep-rooted

    memory of the War. These occasion disappeared as these sharp memories receded over time: I no longer relive them as a situation which I am involved but view them as an 'observer', as if they had happened to someone else.

    However, a Captain already with an MC who was commanding his Rifle Company because his Company Commander was 'Left out of Battle', and lying in the forming-up place ready to go into attack with his batman close by his side only a few yards between them, came under artillery fire and an unexploded shell landed between them.

    We were subalterns and usually spent our off-duty time together and envied his delightful out-going personality, a dashing lad taking joy in everything he did and had the attributes of a natural leader as his award of the MC recognised. I warmly smile as I recalled our time in Cairngorms undergoing training in high-altitude warfare during the winter of 1943. There was the usual 'bull' occasions, and one is for ever in my memory when our two platoons were lined up with their kit all beautifully laid out ready for Commanding Officer's inspection and being in 'D' Company my friend anticipating we would be the last in the line and standing around idle not in my friend's nature, suggested we nip off to our bell tent - two erected in each marquee as we camped in the snow - and share a parcel just arrived from home. Standing eating cake and having a mug of tea, to my astonishment the flap our bell tent suddenly flips back and there was the Colonel with his entourage including our glaring Company Commander. Without hestitation my friend doesn't move but right away says 'Have a cup of tea, Colonel?' which was met with a tremendous bellow of laughter from the Colonel as he departed quickly saying 'Later, perhaps!' That our two Platoons were listed in Battalion Orders as 'outstanding' went some way to appeasing our Company Commander.

    But, after the incident of the unexploded bomb my dear friend was decisively changed and never again the same: his personality had dimmed, as if switched off. In civilian life he could not settle and drifted from job to job until an early death. A casualty in every sense of the word as someone deprived of limb and life.

    He is as fresh in my mind as ever and see him as he once was, but as I write lament the good man I knew so well but who in battle lost his 'inward power and spirit he was so richly endowed' and alas a loss not healed through time but a loss that was irreplaceable.

    Joe Brown.

    Joe,
    That was beautifully written and adds another poignant reminder of the many lives damaged and lost.
    I'm quite sure your Captain would be touched by those kind words and your fond memories.
     
  8. MI9

    MI9 Member

    Agree Joe and Sapper well put and Lest We Forget.
     
  9. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    A 50th Division veteran put it well in an IWM interview: "That's the worst wound there is."
     
  10. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    A 50th Division veteran put it well in an IWM interview: "That's the worst wound there is."

    My great uncle returned from WW1 with the loss of vision in one eye and a steel plate in his skull.
    But those physical injuries were not what made him unrecognizable to his family and in a grave by age 50.
     
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    BBC News - 'Violence risk' after military tours

    Violent offending by UK military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan: a data linkage cohort study : The Lancet

    Representative on the radio this morning to comment on the above study, stated that they are helping veterans of WW2 as well as recent conflicts.
    The Veterans' mental health charity - Combat Stress | Combat Stress
    Combat Stress is the UK's leading charity that specialises in the treatment and support of British Armed Forces Veterans who have mental health problems.
    Mental ill-health affects ex-Service men and women of all ages. Right now, we're supporting over 5,000 Veterans aged from 20 to 101. We're a vital lifeline for these men and women, and their families.
    Our treatment and support services are always free of charge, and are proven to work.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've just spent 8 weeks on a course with a 12 year soldier who's just got out. He finished a full screw with three tours of Op Herrick amongst some other rather gucci stuff he did- He'll not be writing a book anytime soon ;)

    I was quite saddened to hear the stories he told me about troops in Afghan. One that walked out of the compound when he was on stag to commit suicide and the big shocker for me and I knew it was a problem but not how much was the amount of frontline infantry troops buying drugs locally on tours and getting smashed off their faces on opiates. One of the reasons he cited for leaving was some blokes he just couldn't trust in combat. More appalling was the fact he told me a significant amount of JNCO's were turning a blind eye to it as they were taking drugs themselves and SNCO's were covering for them.

    You know things are bad when a 12 year infantry Cpl calls the guys who work for him 'Mongs' and means it.
     
  13. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    dbf.

    Yes, I heard the broadcast report this morning and was encouraged. Rightly they mentioned one of the stumbling blocks that prevent lads seeking treatment was the belief - the 'stigma' - that somehow you are 'mental'. That thought must be widely talked and argued against so that society always accepts it a hazard that comes with the job of being in the Armed Services. A 'situational pressure' that can affect everyone no matter who is exposed to the effects of aggressive training and ultimately exposed to inflicting harm on the enemy and be themselves in harm's way.

    To those who have the responsibility of pursuing and identifying this 'wound' they must push on with the work to provide the needed support and treatment. It is a justified cost to be met by the society our Armed Services seek to protect and defend.

    Joe Brown.
     
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  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Joe
    Thank you for your very compassionate posts.

    I particularly agree with your last paragraph. One can indeed only hope, as was voiced this morning, that with further research, education & assessment this injury will be regarded just as any other resulting from service for one's country.

    The stigma you mentioned can only be added to by observations such as: younger veterans cannot be as tough as those who served before them. Despite some assertions on this thread, I for one can't believe that the basic wiring of the human mind could have changed so dramatically over just a couple of generations.

    My regards to all,
    Diane
     
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  15. pierce09

    pierce09 Member

    Drew,
    i'm also inclined to agree with your last post's title, that's not the Army i know. having spent two tours of Herrick attached to infantry units, i can gladly say i've not seen or heard of any drug taking whilst on tour of British soldiers. but i don't dispute it is feasible. the Afghan security forces are regularly takers of drugs, especially the police. it's sad to hear a British soldier leaves the force and is not be able to look back with pride at all of his time served and talk fondly of all his colleagues.

    Also, having read the first post by Sapper, i disagree with being softies. whereas 70 years ago, soldiers would be told to man up and get on with it, now PTSD can be identified.
    the following link was an operation in 2007 that resulted in an 18 year old reservist in pieces in the aftermath. a full time carer to his two disabled parents, he only joined the TA to earn a bit of extra cash and do his bit. (as a carer, he couldn't join the regulars as was his dream). after Op Petchow, in which he was in the front platoon that suffered the most casualties, including Pte Botha, he was in shock. and tears. i hope he has sought help because he sure as hell was traumatised by the whole thing and this wasn't prolonged

    http://image.guim.co.uk/interactive/1197643019643/890059/afghan_mercian_battle07.swf
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Drew,
    i'm also inclined to agree with your last post's title, that's not the Army i know. having spent two tours of Herrick attached to infantry units, i can gladly say i've not seen or heard of any drug taking whilst on tour of British soldiers. but i don't dispute it is feasible. the Afghan security forces are regularly takers of drugs, especially the police. it's sad to hear a British soldier leaves the force and is not be able to look back with pride at all of his time served and talk fondly of all his colleagues.


    Oh it wasn't all doom and gloom we pulled up our sandbags and swung the lattern a lot in 8 weeks and shared many a funny story, far more than the drugs. I know of two soldiers kicked out for dealing drugs in my time, a Guardsman and a Gunner from the Kings Troop both were when I was in green kit and the camp I was in on my first tour in Kosovo was shut for a CDT and loads were trying to get out on driving details and hiding-rumour was some seniors were pissing in bottles for juniors after asking if they had been using.

    Anyway the guys he spoke of were on the FOBs IIRC and I would hazard a guess that the stress's of combat may have contributed to their preferred method of relaxation.
     
  17. pierce09

    pierce09 Member

    if they were in FOBs, i'd say boredom was possibly the main reason then!! i started smoking again because of the boredom factor in a FOB (the stress of combat was merely an accelerator of how many i smoked!)
     
  18. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

  19. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

  20. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Well done, Australia. A concerned and sensible policy. I like the apt descriptive
    phrase that a man can be 'done down' by what he has seen and done.

    Joe Brown.
     

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