The Sandbag Times Issue No: 45


The Veterans Magazine

The Veterans’ Magazine Issue 45 | July 2018

The Union Jack Club

The UK’s Premier Armed Forces Club

SBT News Update

Plus all The Latest National & International

News from the Armed Forces & Veterans’ World

Supporting #OP-WAMITS


Julie Warrington aka

SBT’s Mrs Fox

takes a trip into

Bomber County

Page 26

The Veterans’ Magazine Issue 45 | July 2018

The Union Jack Club

The UK’s Premier Armed Forces Club

SBT News Update

Plus all The Latest National & International

News from the Armed Forces & Veterans’ World

Supporting #OP-WAMITS

Issue 45


SBT News

4 Veteran Missing

Police release second photo

of Robert Mason

5 Para’s In NI Witch Hunt

Hundreds of soldiers called

to give evidence

5 More Russian Ships

Tracked off coast

Royal Navy called to track

Russian Warships again

6 Dame Vera Lynn Calls for

Website Block

Dame Vera asks to be

removed from website


16 Veterans Raffle

Chris introduces us to the

new Veterans Raffle

20 Union Jack Club

A look into the premiere

Armed Forces Club in


26 Bomber County

Julie’s visit to the

International Bomber

Command Centre


9 Historic Tommy Atkins

The Beginning of the end

23 Have Faith

Walk a mile in my shoes...

32 SBT Information

A page dedicated to back

issues, information, book

reviews etc

34 Mrs Fox Goes To War

All the latest gossip and

letters from Little Hope

Editor: Pablo Snow

Magazine Manager: Matt Jarvis

Patron: Matt Neal

Honourary Patron:

Jacqueline Hurley

Additional editors:

Albert ‘Robbie’ McRobb

Jane Shields

Peter Macey

Mike Woods

News Media Manager

Jim Wilde

Recording Engineer and PR


Vince Ballard




SBT NEWS July Edition



Police, this week released a second photo of

missing veteran, Robert Mason who went missing

from his place of work over two weeks ago.

Robert, 38 went missing shortly after arriving at

work on 11th June at approximately 0930hrs.

Police said that he left his car and mobile phone

at work and left with just a day sack.

Police, friends and fellow veterans have joined in

the search for Robert but despite intensive

searching and various leads from the public

there has been no trace of him.

Robert was believed to have been wearing a dark

fleece, dark trousers and carrying a rucksack

when he went missing.

He has been described as white, 5ft 8in tall, slim,

with dark hair and brown eyes.

Anyone who sees Robert or has any information

on his whereabouts is asked to call Warwickshire

Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously

on 0800 555 111 or visit

| 4



SBT NEWS July Edition

Royal Navy intercepts More Russian Warships

The Royal Navy's HMS

Montrose intercepted the

ships after shadowing them

in the North Sea.

This is the latest incident of

Russian vessels entering

Britsh waters as tensions have

risen between Moscow and

the West, Commander Conor

O'Neill, Montrose's

Commanding Officer, said:

"Royal Navy warships are

always prepared to respond to

tasking at short notice, so

when the call came, Montrose

was ready for action. “The

Royal Navy and Royal Air

Force, with the support of our

Hundreds of former paratroopers

have been asked

to give evidence at a highprofile

inquest into a shooting

incident during

Northern Ireland’s Troubles

more than 40 years ago –

despite the Prime Minister

pledging to end the “witchhunt”.

Northern Ireland’s

coroners service has written

to ex-members of the

Parachute Regiment and

the then Queen’s

Regiment about the 11

deaths in Ballymurphy in

August 1971. It has invited

NATO allies, constantly

monitor the seas and skies

around the UK, and our

operations are part of that 24/7

watch to ensure the UK stays

safe and secure.” A statement

from the Royal Navy said:

“HMS Montrose worked

alongside the Maritime and

Coastguard Agency to track

the two vessels as they

manoeuvred in some of the

most congested waters in the

world. “Montrose met the

pair both Steregushchiy-class

corvettes and monitored their

progress off the Danish and

Dutch coasts“After crossing

Ex-Paratroopers Hit By New Witch Hunt

A British army sergeant who

sabotaged his wife’s

parachute, causing her to

plunge 4,000 feet to the

ground after jumping from a

plane, was jailed for life for

trying to murder her. Victoria

Cilliers, 41, suffered severe

injuries to her spine, broke

her leg, collarbone and ribs

and only survived because

she landed in a newly

soldiers to come forward

as witnesses at the inquest

on September 10. The

Belfast coroner has also

written to the Provost

Marshal’s office – the head

of the military police – asking

for any records on the

incident. In 1971, what

was then the Royal Ulster

Constabulary had come

under sustained sniper

attack and senior officers

feared republican leaders

in west Belfast were about

to seal off Ballymurphy and

make it a “no-go area”, as

the bulk of the North Sea, the

corvettes dramatically cut

their speed and slowly

proceeded towards the north

Norfolk coast under the

watchful eyes of the British

frigate at the end of last

week.” Leading Seaman Jack

Shanley said: “I’ve been in the

Royal Navy for four and a half

years and this type of

operation is exactly what I

joined for.” Last month, the

Royal Navy used destroyer

HMS Diamond and a Wildcat

helicopter to monitor a

Russian spy ship close to the

coast of Britain. More here...

Life Sentence For UK Soldier For Wife Parachute Sabotage

ploughed field, a court heard.

Her husband Emile Cilliers,

38, who had denied

attempted murder, will have

to serve at least 18 years in

jail. Winchester Crown

Court heard that, knowing his

wife was planning a skydive,

Cilliers had sabotaged her

parachute in an airfield toilet

cubicle in Netheravon. Lines

to the main canopy were

the IRA had done in

Londonderry’s Bogside.

Soldiers from both regiments

moved into the

republican stronghold on

August 9 and came under

heavy fire as they

launched Operation

Demetrius, a mission that

was planned and directed

by the RUC, now the

Police Service of Northern

Ireland. Over August 9, 10

and 11, a total of 11 people

were killed including a local

priest, Father Hugh Mullan,

40. Read more here...

twisted and parts were

missing from the reserve,

stopping the chute from

opening when she jumped

from the plane in April 2015.

Police said that Cilliers’

motive had been to obtain an

insurance payout on his

wife’s death, which would

have allowed him to start a

new life with his lover. Read

more on this story here... 5 |



SBT NEWS July Edition

Dame Vera Lynn Demands Removal Of

Her Name From ‘Disrespectful’ Website

Dame Vera Lynn has

broken ties with a 75th

anniversary D-Day

concert after its organisers

were accused of ‘dancing

on the graves of the dead’.

The Forces’ Sweetheart,

101, asked for her name to

be removed from the

website for the event after

veterans and their families

slammed the event as

‘disrespectful’. Due to

take place on June 6 next

year, the Liberty Concert

will take over Sword

Beach in Normandy with

the aim of ‘stimulating

people to stand up again

for peace and freedom’.

After hearing the plans for

the concert, veterans set

up a petition to have the

event moved to a ‘more

sensible location’ which

has gained more than

1,000 signatures. The

petition reads: ‘They will

be partying on the very

ground that hundreds of

men lost their lives 75

years before fighting for

our freedom, where

families have scattered

ashes of loved ones who

fought on that beach, and

where returning veterans

want to go but will be

unable to. 'An additional

75,000 people in an

already very busy area

will become a liability.

'Let them have their

concert, but NOT on any

of the beaches in

Normandy and preferably

NOT on the June 6, 2019.

Read more here...'

British Veterans Feel 'Undervalued'

And Hide Military Service To Get A Job

Britains veterans feel

“undervalued” and many hide

their military service to get a job,

a detailed survey revealed

yesterday. It contrasted the

enormous affection shown for

old soldiers of the Second World

War with the indifference often

shown to younger veterans of

more recent conflicts such as Iraq

and Afghanistan. The survey by

the SSAFA military charity

painted an overwhelmingly bleak

picture of how former

servicemen and women feel they

are viewed by the wider public.

The survey of 1,000 veterans, all

of whom have been helped by

SSAFA, found that 81 per cent

thought US veterans were more

respected than those in the UK,

75 per cent felt they were not as

respected as the emergency

services and 89 per cent said

civilians do not understand their

needs. Alarmingly, 70 per cent

said employers did not properly

value their skills or abilities with

some choosing to leave their

military careers off their CVs.

Invictus Games Racing Takes The

Fight To The Track in British GT

Inspiration comes from a

variety of sources globally,

as a new team will enter the

2018 British GT

championship this year in

the GT4 category for 2018,

as a selected crack troop of

injured veterans will make

up the newly created

Invictus Games Racing

outfit. Created through a

mutual collaboration

between the Superdry

clothing brand and the

Invictus Games Federation,

it sees the culmination of a

year’s worth of

development, with Superdry

Co-Founder James Holder

having commissioned two F-

Type SVRs to built to

compete under the current

regulations. Holder himself

has also competed in the

Championship in 2016,

having partnered with

Matthew George in the #44



SuperRacing Aston Martin

Vantage GT4 for a single

round, and was inspired to

make the partnership

happen, having watched the

Invictus Games in Orlando.

MoreHaving funded the

project himself, along with

the design and development

of the cars, it will help to

promote future opportunities

for other WIS (wounded,

sick or injured) servicemen

and women the chance to

experience full throttle

motorsport head-on. More..

| 6

TWO friends will trek through the Western

Front this year to mark 100 years since the

end of the First World War.

David Parkinson, of Over Wallop, and

George Ashworth, of Charlton-All-Saints

will be walking through battlefield sites in

France and Belgium to raise money for the

Royal British Legion. The pair were

inspired to make the trip after attending a

rugby match in Twickenham last

Remembrance Day. George said: “I’ll be

40 this year and I was looking for something

to do that was a bit of a challenge.

When David mentioned the walk I thought,

‘it’s worthwhile and a chance to go and

see it all’. I think everyone should go to

see it.” David agreed, adding: “It should

be the national curriculum that everybody

goes to get an idea about the sacrifices

those men made.” The trip will be

poignant for both men, who will be walking

with a group of about 30 people from

across the UK. “I had three great-grandfathers

who survived the First World War,

and it’s something I’ve always held close

to my heart,” David said. And for George

it has sparked an interest in his family history.

He said: “Both of my grandfathers

served in the Second World War. This

might be an opportunity to find out more,

because I know I have got great-grandparents

who did serve in the First World War,

but I don’t know where.” The pair will lay

a wreath at Thiepval’s Memorial to the

Missing of the Somme, on behalf of

Salisbury residents, which will be a tribute

to soldiers who died in all conflicts. David

and George are set to start their training

schedule at the end of the month, ahead


Pair To Trek Western Front In Memory Of Fallen Soldiers

of the trip in September, where they will

walk about 13 miles per day for four days.

They have currently raised just under £600

for the Royal British Legion, but hope to

reach a total of £3,000. George said: “It

would be nice to have a bit of support

from the people of Salisbury. Any donations

are gratefully received.” Visit

Are you:

A Service Veteran?

Aged 65 or over?

A family member or carer

of the above?

If so, you could bene 昀 t from the

support of a DMWS Welfare O cer

We are experts in the provision of Medical Welfare and have supported the

Armed Forces Community during medical treatment since 1943

We are here to help, contact your local Welfare O

cer today:

A Guide to Medical Welfare Services

for Health Care Professionals, Organisations

and Support Workers

Caring For Those Who Serve – Frontline To Recovery

Supported by the Aged Veterans Fund

funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR Funds.

DMWS Registered Charity number:

England: 1087210 | Scotland: SCO45460 7 |


With Jim Wilde

Greetings folks, It has been

almost 2 months since we

started the Daily News

Updates by way of podcasts,

and they seem to have taken off

really well. The feedback has

been very positive, and the listening/

viewing figures have reflected that, and

have continued to rise. Our focus is to bring

you the latest news, as and when it happens,

and in multiple formats to enable everyone to

share the content whether it be on PC, Mac,

Mobile or Tablet.

We are happy that this is now a stable platform,

and is responsive, and not processor

hungry. The next move, is to couple the

audio submissions with a Video News

Update, with discussion topics, which will

involve you, the reader/listener. There are

many Veterans and Military sites on the web,

all doing what they can to keep the issues

that matter in the public eye. Because of the

widespread nature of these sites, our target

is to bring all these sites together in a United

Veterans Forum, and share the load and

information. By doing this, posts like Missing

Veterans, and Suicide Awareness, will be circulated

much more expediently, and hitting a

wider audience, therefore having a better

chance of success.

Over the next few weeks, we will be working

with the various Admins on these sites with a

view to centralising and pooling our

resources to enable a more effective distribution

of information. In order to do this, we

will, of course, require your help by way of

feedback, and suggestions that can benefit

us all. If there is anything you think that can

be changed/modified to better the system,

then please contact us on the emails given


As always, you continued support is very

important to us, therefore, if you have any

news stories, pictures etc that you think are

worthy of inclusion, make sure you get them

to us as quick as you can. You can do that

by contacting any one of us here at the magazine.,,, or to the general

account -

Thank you as always, and we look forward to

hearing from you soon.

Walk The Mile Walk The Mile Walk The Mile Walk The Mile Walk The Mile

| 8

The Historical Tommy Atkins

The Beginning

of The End

Written By Peter Macey

July 1918 was famous for a number of worthy

news items but also two major world changing

events. Although at the time they might have

gone unnoticed and certainly one was kept a

deep dark secret for many years, the truth of

which was only discovered in the 1980s, some

70 years on from what happened, they were

nonetheless world changing.

On 15th July the German Army started an

offensive on the Western Front near to the

River Marne in France. What would become

known as the Second Battle of the Marne

would prove to be the last offensive by the

Germans and unbeknown to anyone at the start

of the battle would prove to turn the war in the

Allies favour, and the Great War would finish

just over three months later.

On the morning of 15th July twenty three

German divisions assaulted the French

positions near to the Marne. This was a rash

attempt to make an impact without the

realisation that the French Army, due to the

attachment of the American 42nd Division

now heavily outnumbered the German front in

every capacity of manpower, tanks and

artillery. The hope of the advancing Germans

was to split the French Army into two parts

and counter each in turn. East of Reims the

French Fourth Army had prepared a defence

in-depth to counter any bombardment and

infiltrating infantry. Their main line of

resistance was around two miles behind the

front and beyond the range of the enemy field

guns. The French gun line behind the front

was lightly manned, but the remaining guns

fired frequently, so the Germans did not detect

its weakness from rate of firing although aerial

intelligence told them otherwise but was

ignored. But the counter-intelligence gained by

the French was not ignored and so when the

attack came, the French and American armies

were well prepared for any ‘surprise’ attack.

The German bombardment was scheduled for

12:10. The French opened fire on the German

assault trenches at 11:30. When the Germans

finally opened fire they pounded the almost

empty French front line. The attackers moved

easily through the French front line but this

advance meant the infantry moving far more

quickly than the support armour and artillery.

They were ordered to stop and rest while the

other parts of the attack played catch up.

Early the following day the Germans were

stopped by accurate fire by the bulk of the

French artillery. They tried to advance again at

noon, but failed.

Meanwhile in the west on the south bank of

the Marne the Americans had to hold the river

bank by enduring an intense three hour

bombardment, including many gas shells.

Under this cover Germans stormtroopers

swarmed across the river in every sort of

transport—including canvas boats and rafts.

They erected skeleton bridges at 12 points

under fire from the Allied survivors. Some

Allied units, held fast or counter-attacked, but

by evening, the Germans had captured a

bridgehead 4 miles deep and 9 miles wide.

Despite the aerial intervention of 225 French

bombers, dropping 40 tons of bombs on the

makeshift bridges, the German commander on

the ground, Ludendorff regarded their advance

as “the very pinnacle of military victory”.

Then the French were reinforced by the British

XXII Corps and 85,000 American troops. The

German advance stalled completely, two days

after it had started.

The German failure to break through allowed

Foch, the Allied Supreme Commander to

proceed with the planned major counteroffensive

which started on 18th July. Some

twenty four French divisions, and two US

divisions under French command, joined by

other Allied troops, including eight large

American divisions and 350 tanks attacked the

recently formed German stronghold.

This was the beginning of the end.

The Germans ordered a retreat on 20 July and

were forced back to the positions from which

they had started their Spring Offensives.

On 1st August, French and British divisions

renewed their attack, advancing to a depth of

nearly 5 miles. The Allied counter-attack came

to a halt out on 6th August in the face of the

German defences. But by this stage the

German stronghold had been reduced and the

Armies forced back by 28 miles. The German

defeat marked the start of almost unstoppable

advance by the Allies which culminated in the

Armistice around 100 days later.

In early July in Russia, the allies were

supporting the White Russians who were still

defending the Eastern Front. The Bolsheviks

who now formed the Government within

Russia had withdrawn from the War to

concentrate on creating a communist state.

But the contingent of non conforming

Russians were still fighting for freedom and

now supported by the allies in their attempts to

defend their homeland although most of the

German divisions had been moved from the

East to attack the Western Front.

But there would be a final act or authority by

the Bolsheviks, under the command of Lenin,

who had come to power following the

revolution in October the year before, the

former leader of all of Russia. In the early

hours of the morning of 17th July the Tzar

Nicholas II and his entire family, including his

wife Alexandra and their five children; Olga,

Maria, Tatiana, Anastasia and Alexie, were

executed in the basement of Ipatiev House in

Yekaterinburg, where they had been held

prisoner for some months.

The deaths of the former Royal family which

marked the end of the Romanov dynasty was

believed to have been carried out following a

direct order from Lenin. The deaths were

denied by the Bolshevik Government until

1926 when it was suggested they had been

killed by elements of the White Russians or

left wing.

The burial ground of the family was

discovered by an amateur sleuth in 1979. In

1981 the whole family were canonized as

Saints and declared Martyrs and Passion

Bearers by the Russian Orthadox Church


The site of their execution is now beneath the

altar of the Church On Blood.

Were your relatives involved in the Second

Battle of Marne? If so we would like to hear

from you. Please write into SBT or contact us

at Forgotten Veterans UK (FVUK). 9 |

The RWD Subaru’s of Sutton and Subaru that

have spent the main part of this season qualifying

at the back, locked out the front row –

closely trailed by Andy Jordan in the RWD

BMW. We struggled to find the right set up in

qualifying, and subsequently placed lowly in

P15 & P19 for Matt and Dan respectively. The

lads threw the kitchen sink at the cars

overnight with a setup overhaul, aiming to hit

the ground running in race 1.

Round Five: Croft

A Tough Weekend Under The Yorkshire Sunshine

Brings The BTCC 2018 Season To The Summer Break.

The gamble paid off on Matt’s car and he

managed to fight his way up to P9 in the first

race, a great result considering it’s not the

easiest track to over taken on given its unforgiving

nature – and any moves have got to

be made with real assurance that they can be

executed successfully. The set up changes

didn’t gel on Dan’s car and he fell back to

P19 at the chequered flag.

Race Report: Ben Durrell

The BTCC summer break is here, that’s our

trip to the North of Yorkshire done for another

12 months.

We knew we’d have nothing handed to us

this weekend, it’s a notoriously rear wheel

drive track and we got shown that once again

at the first opportunity in qualifying.

Matt got up to 8th early on in race 2, only to

be forced to the gravel by Dan Lloyd – dropping

him down to P11. He fought well on the

prime tyre to get back into P7 when the flag

waved, 4 places ahead of Dan who made up

8 places to finish P11. A favourable reverse

grid draw for Matt saw him line up P3 for race

3, with Dan in P12.

Race 3 saw Ash Sutton pass Matt on Lap 9,

only for him to retake the place at Clairvaux –

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

| 10


out braking him down the inside and forcing him to take to

the gravel. He held off the aptly-named ‘King of Croft’ Colin

Turkington for the remainder of the race, in doing so securing

a third top ten finish of the day for him and vital championship

points. Dan ended the day on a higher note, breaking into the

top 10 and extending his lead atop the Jack Sears Trophy

standings to 25 points.

DC: ‘I think I did the best job I could over the weekend, but

Matt’s greater experience definitely told. Race two was solid,

but we didn’t really have the pace on the hard tyre in race

three. Although the results perhaps don’t show it, I honestly

don’t think there’s a lot more I could have done. This championship

is tough, but as a driver, I’m learning and improving all

the time and that’s the main goal.”

We’ve now got 5 weeks until our next outing at Snetterton for

the BTCC’s 60th anniversary celebrations, during which time

we’re heading there for a tyre test where we’ll conduct some

valuable testing ahead of the second half of the campaign.

Matt’s now up into third in the championship, you can view

the standings here --

Matt Neal On Croft

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

“We really had to fight for every single point there, and my car

ended up looking a bit battered and bruised. I think all the

Hondas suffered, and Croft is normally a track that suits us.

We know there was some boost equalisation going on, so

that likely had a bearing on the weekend. We lacked speed in

qualifying, but we came through well to crack the top ten in

race one and we could have finished a fair way further up the

order in race two – the Civic Type R felt really strong on the

harder tyre – but for the contact. I think Dan [Lloyd] could

have given me a bit more room, but it is what it is. It would

have been nice to finish on the podium in race three; ultimately,

we didn’t quite have enough but fourth was still a very solid

result and we scored good points across the weekend

towards the Drivers’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ championships,

which is a positive way to go into the summer


Dan Cammish on Croft

“It was certainly an uphill struggle! I arrived here having never

driven a front wheel-drive car round Croft before and with not

a lot of time to adapt during free practice. We definitely

missed a trick this weekend. We were nowhere in qualifying,

so we changed the set-up massively for race one but that only

made things worse. Fortunately, Matt went in the other direction

and it worked for him so we copied that and from then

on, things picked up. I think I did the best job I could over the

weekend, but Matt’s greater experience definitely told. Race

two was solid, but we didn’t really have the pace on the hard

tyre in race three. Although the results perhaps don’t show it,

I honestly don’t think there’s a lot more I could have done.

This championship is tough, but as a driver, I’m learning and

improving all the time and that’s the main goal.”

Pabs On Croft: Questions & Answers

Another lovely Sunday sat on my backside in front of the

goggle box. I must admit, after soaking up the last few

races from trackside, I felt robbed of the atmosphere and

excitement. Well, at least I did until the programme on TV

started then I was immersed. But there is nothing like being

there and I definitely missed it.

There was no doubt that this was a rear wheel drive track

with strong performances from the Subaru (much to my

annoyance) and BMW’s. Don’t get me wrong, young Ash

Sutton conducts himself aggressively on the track as he

should do but always acts the gentlemen in front of the

cameras after. Anyone who saw the post qualifying interview

knows what I mean. All I will say, there’s a time and a

place if you must use coarse language and I question

whether 4pm on a Saturday afternoon was the place.

Enough moaning from me, Although Honda was clearly

playing catch up on Sunday, I truly believe our two lads

could not have done much more. Matt’s experience really

showed with a great display of very mature driving. We

have to consider his position in the table when he started at

Croft to his position when he left. A brilliant 3rd place! Well

set for part 2 of the season to challenge for a 4th title.

As for Dan, I have said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s

fast. Damn fast and worrying many front runners. Give him

the tools on the right circuit and his first win is within his

grasp. He is learning and learning well. Watch this space!

That’s it till the season starts again. Have a nice break all.

Photo: Jokob Ebrey

Standings: Matt Neal 3rd - 127pts Dan Cammish 13th - 80 pts Halfords Yuasa Racing 2nd - 204 pts Honda 2nd - 367 pts 11 |

The Tommy Atkins Centre

Tommy Atkins Centre June

Hello from us here at the Tommy

Atkins centre. The sunshine is

really belting through the

windows today, and it’s lovely to

see some new faces attending

our Peer Support group meeting

with Simon West from Combat


We’ve had a fairly busy this

month so far, quite a few people

booked onto different courses

and Lisa our psychotherapist

has a steady stream of veterans

she is currently working with,

though she is currently on a well

deserved break for a week or

two. No doubt she will be very

busy again when she returns.

It was an incredible honour to

have Matt Neal and Ben

Durrell from Team Dynamics

here earlier this month. Two

incredibly supportive guys,

finding out all about the work

we’re doing with veterans. We

even got to have a drink with

them later in the afternoon,

which is always a lovely way to

round off a meeting.

If you’re ever in the area, feel

free to call in for a chat. We’re

open Tuesdays and Thursdays

0930-1530 at 26 Sansome Walk

Worcester. The kettle is always

on ready for a brew.

Enjoy the fantastic weather

while it’s here. Talk again soon.

Jane xx


News From The Tommy Atkins Centre

NHS Veteran Lead Visit

Dr Jonathan Leach, NHS

Veteran Lead, England

popped along to

Worcester last week to

speak about the new TILS

and CTS system in which

the Tommy Atkins Centre

and SBT will be promoting

and recommending Watch

out for information over the

coming weeks on this new initiative, contact numbers

and details will be available here in the very

near future for self referrals.

TAC Welcomes Doctor

We are very pleased to

announce that Dr David

Muss has joined the

ranks of the Tommy

Atkins Centre. David is

the founder of the

Rewind technique used

in helping veterans with

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The treatment that

David uses is so effective he is confident of stopping

the effects of PTSD in just a few sessions.

David is also coaching centre Psychotherapist, Lisa

Whittaker in the technique. If you would like to

know more about David and Rewind please go to

page 22 or contact us at the Tommy Atkins Centre.

BTCC Driver & SBT Patron, Matt Neal Takes

Time Out To Visit The Tommy Atkins Centre

What a complete pleasure to

welcome the SBT Patron and 3

x British Touring Car

Champion, Matt Neal to the

centre in Worcester. Despite

Matt’s incredibly hectic life, his

support for veterans is second

to none. Matt, currently lying

3rd in this years championship

was treated to a guided tour of

the centre followed by a presentation

by the SBT editor on

the truth behind the in’s and

out’s of how the centre makes

the difference to so many.

Matt was accompanied by

Team Dynamics Marketing and

Sponsorship Manager, Ben

Durrell who also works very

closely with the magazine.

Ben is currently looking into

the possibility of getting Team

Dynamics Motorsport, Matt’s

team, signed up to the Armed

Forces Covenant. This would

be a first for the world of motor

sport and just maybe, the start

of a very welcome trend.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

| 14

Patron to The Tommy Atkins Centre


The Raffle That Is Just The Ticket For Veterans

Have you heard of the YES (Your Emergency

Services) Society Veterans Raffle that helps

our Armed Forces & Emergency Services

Veterans charities? We hadn’t either, until we

spoke to founder (and former Police Officer),

Chris Hearn, who told us all about it and

explained just why he felt the need to take a

huge leap of faith and set it up in the first


“Don’t get me wrong,” says Chris, “I respect

the National Lottery and all the other lotteries

and raffles that do great things for good

causes. What I don’t like, however, is the

amount of money that they take out of the

funds for things like ‘admin costs’ etc.”

And once you look into it – it’s a bit of an

eye-opener. On the YES Society website

( it clearly shows in diagrams

(laid out below) that the 3 major lottery

companies in the UK are giving less

than a third of the money they collect back

to good causes and some also have admin

costs of almost a third!

“Once I found out exactly how little was

going back to good causes, I just thought

that was unacceptable,” says Chris. So he

formed the non-profit organisation YES

Society & then created the Veterans Raffle,

designed upon a purposefully built platform

that could give most of the money to supporting

Good Causes and the rest back in

Prizes, and with super low admin costs too.

Chris also wanted to make sure the funds

went to charities that made a real difference

in their communities. He felt this was very

relevant both to him and to his former colleagues

with whom he had worked alongside

for many years. YES Society has chosen

to focus on supporting those who are

suffering from mental health related conditions

such as PTSD, those who have complex

injuries such as loss of limb and those

who find themselves out of work and/or


“Some large military and emergency service

charities are brilliant at raising money – but

| 16

ased upon ethics, morals, social responsibility

and transparency. We didn’t want to

repeatedly ask for money so instead have

gone for a monthly commitment model

which aims to reward loyal support. We give

a greater percentage to UK Good Causes

than any lottery and we also retain the lowest

percentage for our total operational costs.

We also do not operate a rollover with our

Veterans Raffle, which means there's a winner

every draw. No prize is ever shared.”

So it’s fair all round then?

“Absolutely. Entries, draw results and prize

notifications are electronic which means that

there's never a lost ticket. You don't need a

membership card and you never have to

check the results yourself to make a claim

either. YES Society does absolutely everything

for you, from start to finish!”

Founder: Christopher Hearn

How do I support the Veterans Raffle

what they actually do with it is fairly limited

and proportionately only helps a small

amount of people,” says Chris. “In my

research I’ve found some brilliant smaller

charities that do so much with so little but

could help so many more if they only had the

extra funds. All the charities we’ve currently

selected to support are specialists in their

field and we know exactly where their funds

are prioritised. We will work closely with

these & other charities to help secure their

future and to continue to provide much

needed support to those in greatest need.”

So why should we play the YES Society

Veterans Raffle then Chris?

“YES Society has built its Veterans Raffle

To keep things both simple and fair, everyone

subscribes to donate exactly the same

amount (£10) per month via the YES Society

website, using the most secure payment

method available today (Direct Debit). No

commission is paid to any third party retail

outlets. No cash, card or cheque options so

your donations can't go astray, and the vulnerable

are protected too. It has to be the

simplest and safest registration processes


For more about YES Society or to simply

enter the Veterans Raffle then go to:

to help do some good and have fun at the

same time!


Proud Sponsors of

The Sandbag Times

The SBT would like to

welcome Urban Prints,

Worcester as an official

sponsor for our magazine.

Urban Prints

Unit 7 The Gallery,

The Shambles,


WR1 2RA 17 |



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CASE STUDY – Andy Darby

A Royal Engineer in the Forces

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Andy joined ChipsAway 15 years ago and was

concerned about the transition from military

to self employed, however after following the

proven ChipsAway business model and taking

advantage of the available training and support,

it was a smooth transition. Within a couple of

months, Andy was already earning the same

level of income he had as a soldier! Andy now

enjoys a great lifestyle, drives a top of the range

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are over 3x more than his previous salary!

“Being my own boss is great, the satisfaction of seeing your

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Welcome To The Club

The Union Jack Club is the only Non-

Commissioned Armed Forces Club in the

UK and has been used by the serving and

ex serving community for over 100 years.

Serving Non-Commissioned members

of HM Armed Forces are

automatic members and Non-

Commissioned veterans are invited

to become members for an

annual fee of £17.

Located next to Waterloo Station in

London we offer a relaxed environment for

members and their guests to enjoy themselves.

The Union Jack Club’s versatile

accommodation caters perfectly for individuals,

couples, families and groups. The

263 rooms consist of single, twin, double

and family accommodation. There are also

apartments that can sleep up to 6 people,

a luxury suite with adjoining lounge and

well equipped fully accessible bedrooms.

The restaurant is open to all members

whether you are staying or just passing

through and offers a modern a la carte

menu, which changes with the seasons.

Serving we are told the best breakfast in

London and fresh seasonal dishes with

ingredients delivered daily from local suppliers

the restaurant offers quality and is

well priced.

The Main Bar serves a variety of beverages

with a pint of beer starting at £2.50

and a bottle of wine at £13.50. The Bar

has a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere,

with quieter, more intimate areas

where people can gather and catch up.

The popular bar snack menu includes

some classic choices such as the British

beef-burger or Club sandwich. Our traditional

afternoon tea includes a scone, jam

and clotted cream and a refreshing pot of

fresh tea or coffee.

Other amenities include a baggage room,

internet café, espresso bar, car parking,

laundrette, FREE Wi-Fi, games and changing

rooms, private event/reception rooms,

library, use of Soho Gym and more can be

found via

Throughout the year we hold events for

members including military history lectures,

monthly wine tastings, and receptions.

For our latest events go to

Above all else, the Union Jack Club offers

a sense of belonging and community with

like-minded people so do please have a

look at and

join us and do check out the latest videos

of the Union Jack Club at

| 20



Canada Calling

The Canuck Connection

A Happy 151 st Birthday to Canada 01 July . I am very

Proud of my Adopted Country Canada and her Military.

The news that Canada is considering allowing non

Canadian Citizens to enlist is heartening. The

requirement to be a citizen of Canada, was adopted I

believe in the late 60s or early 70s. Until then non

Canadians could and did enlist. I fact in my year of

enlistment to the Soldier Apprentice programme in 1960

there were many of us Non Canadians in the

programme. It was not until 1969 that the father of our

current PM, advised serving military personnel that no

courses for promotion, would be given to non Canadian

Citizens. Why I will never know as the majority on Non

Citizens, were admirable in both honour and services to


Meanwhile our primary ally and NATO partner the UK are

seeking recruits with a lower education requirement?

It seems that History is once again repeating itself with

regard, to Military Recruiting.

On the SUBJECT of Canada’s Birthday a hearty Bravo

Zulu to all members currently serving and to Canada’s

Veterans of all services.

On that note this humorous cartoon

has appeared lately in Canada. The

rumour has it that the return of equipment

would be to give to Immigrants.

However TRUTH be known Canada

is drastically short of Equipment.

Enjoy Canada Day with your families,

stay safe.

Nil Sine Labore


Walk The Mile Walk The Mile Walk The Mile

| 22


Walk A Mile In My Shoes...

This month’s reflection centres on a project that I have just

undertaken. Bear with me on this. There is an old saying that

you should never judge somebody unless you’ve walked a

mile in their shoes. Never a truer word said. But sometimes

to understand a person you need to walk a mile in their shoes.

This has never been more apparent to us than now as we try

to get the public to understand the road veterans walk. In this

day and age, news stories come and go so quickly one can

be forgiven for forgetting the problems of other people.

Especially when we are caught up in our own day to day lives.

This can make awareness of the problems of others so

difficult. The thing is regardless of how empathic we feel for

somebody, there is no way we can walk a mile in somebody

elses shoes. All we can really do is try to understand the best

walk, I will consider what they must have been through. You

see, these 21 have all taken their own lives this year. I shall

walk in my old Army boots as they did and I will try to get

people to understand what I am doing and why I am doing it

in the hope that more people can walk a mile for someone

they know that may be suffering. I know that God will be with

me and will give me strength to complete the task. But

whatever your beliefs, whatever your thoughts, whatever

drives you forward, I ask you to walk a mile for somebody.

More would be better and please let the world know what you

are doing it for. What I also ask is during your walk, pave the

way for our suffering veterans to get the help they need. All

you need do is find your nearest veteran centre or

organisation that can help and post it on social media with the

details for veterans to use. Maybe that way, we won’t add any

more miles to my walk.

we can. But it can be a good idea to take the time to try to

understand someone a little more. Learn about what has

made that person good and bad. The more you know, the

more you can start to walk a metaphorical mile but without this

understanding and knowledge their shoes will never fit you.

No one can really understand what Armed Forces Veterans

have been through unless you have served alongside of them.

And even then, that would me physically being alongside

them on duty. That is the only way. But no-one can be

expected to fully understand. Just to know that there is a long

road walked. I would like to point out at this point that this is

for everyone, not just Veterans but in light of recent events I

would like to keep with our heroes. My idea, therefore is to

walk a mile for a certain group of people. 21 of them in fact. I

could never understand what they have been through but as I

If you would like any more information on my project OP

WAMITS (Operation Walk A Mile In Their Shoes) please go to

our website or get in touch with us. Thank you and God Bless 23 |


The Heropreneurs Awards is a new initiative created to celebrate the achievements of ex-

Armed Forces personnel in business. It is run by Heropreneurs, the charity created in 2009,

that helps ex-Armed Forces personnel and their dependants on the road to creating their own

businesses. The Awards are run in association with The Telegraph and the Warwick

Business School, and with support from Goldman Sachs, the Ministry of Defence, OBXtek

Inc and the Veterans’ Foundation.

The Judges for the Heropreneurs Awards are all exceptional people who have been recruited

from the world of business, politics, and the Armed Forces. Chaired by General Sir John

McColl KCB CBE DSO, the Judges include Paddy Ashdown, Deborah Meaden (of Dragons’

Den), Major General Andrew Pringle CB CBE, Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory KBE

CB (Controller, SSAFA), Chris Weston (CEO – Aggreko plc), Andrew Brode (Chairman -

RWS Holdings plc), Rear Admiral Alex Burton (CEO - EWaterPay), Emma Jones (Founder –

Enterprise Nation), and Emma Willis MBE DL (Founder – Style for Soldiers).

The Rt. Hon. Tobias Ellwood MP, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence, who

will be presenting the top award for the Heropreneur of the

Year said,

"Many people have left the Armed Forces and created their

own successful businesses. I am delighted to have been

invited to attend the Heropreneurs Awards and to join people

from the worlds of business, and the Armed Forces, in

celebrating these achievements."

Deborah Meaden, Entrepreneur and investor from Dragons’ Den, said,

"I am delighted to be joining the judging panel for the Heropreneurs Awards

and to witness first-hand the entrepreneurial spirit that exists within the

Armed Forces Community."


| 24


Kevin Sneader, McKinsey’s Global Managing Partner – elect, said

when he met Peter Mountford, the Chairman of Heropreneurs

“Heropreneurs is a big idea, and I love big ideas”. Kevin is attending

the Awards dinner.

Peter Mountford, Chairman of Heropreneurs added,

“People who have served in the Armed Forces have many skills and

abilities that can be used to create great and inspiring businesses once

back in civilian life. Heropreneurs now wants to celebrate the

significant accomplishments of ex-Armed Forces personnel in the

business world through The Heropreneurs Awards.”

A total of eight Awards will be made in the following categories:

• Business Leader of the Year

• Employer of the Year

• Entrepreneur of the Year

• Heropreneur of the Year

• Military Partner of the Year

• Start-Up of the Year

• Veterans’ Foundation Award

• Warwick Business School Award

(the winner of this Award will

receive a bursary of 100% to

complete an MBA with the

Warwick Business School)

The Awards ceremony will take place on 14 November 2018 at a formal dinner in the

Plaisterers’ Hall in the City of London and will be hosted by broadcaster and journalist, Naga


Naga Munchetty said,

"I am delighted to support Heropreneurs by presenting their inaugural

awards at the Plaisterers' Hall on 14 November. The ethos of

Heropreneurs and their way of supporting the military community is


There is no charge to enter the Awards or for Finalists to attend the Awards dinner.

Further sponsorship opportunities are also available.


For more information contact:

Peter Mountford, Chairman of Heropreneurs

Amanda Rayner

Mobile: 07774 842761

Head of Events


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!01494 671332 25 |


Bomber County, June 2018:

Today, the skies over the beautiful county of

Lincolnshire are blue and untroubled. The

vapour trail from an airliner, high-flying and distant,

is visible to the naked eye and the occasional

pale cloud scuttles across the heavens.

Peaceful and serene, the distinctive shape of a

great mediaeval cathedral – the crowning glory

of the city of Lincoln – sits, as it has for almost a

millennia, on a hill above the Lincolnshire flatlands

which stretch as far as the eye can see

before blending in seamlessly with the horizon.

It is a hot day. It is a quiet day. This is twentyfirst

century England at peace.

It’s difficult to imagine a time when this was any

different, but there’s a reason why we British

have a tradition of giving our counties nicknames

– we call Kent ‘The Garden of England’

in memory of her agricultural heyday,

Lancashire and Yorkshire are known as the Red

Rose and the White Rose respectively as we

hark back six over hundred years to a bloody

civil war and the emblems of two branches of

the Plantagenet dynasty which met on battlefields

across the country and pretty much tore

us apart – and then there’s this peaceful

Lincolnshire, which we are – justifiably if a little

oddly - proud to call ‘Bomber County’.

Some seventy eight ago, if you’d been standing

on this very spot looking up at the skies, it

would have been a very different story. Britain

was at war and to be honest, things weren’t

looking too good. By the late summer of 1940,

the Nazi war machine had eaten its way

through the very heart of Europe and the British

Expeditionary Force had been driven back to

the beaches of Dunkirk where it had been rescued

at the eleventh hour under the cover of

the guns of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air

Force by an incredible flotilla of little boats from

Britain which, crewed largely by ordinary people,

had crossed the open sea under enemy

fire to bring their men home.

With some 338,226 allied troops safe and

sound back in Blighty and following the collapse

of France, Britain braced herself for the

expected invasion. Between July and October

of 1940, the Battle of Britain raged in the skies

over southern England with the men of RAF

Fighter Command (men from home, Empire

and occupied territories which included Poland,

France and Czechoslovakia amongst others

and some eleven Americans who risked losing

their citizenship for engaging in a foreign war)

displaying outstanding courage in defying the

greatest odds and refusing to be beaten by the

superior strength of the Luftwaffe.

RAF Bomber Command had been formed in

1936, when the shadows of war were already

beginning to form over Europe, it was known

that – contrary to the agreed terms of the Treaty

of Versailles - the German High Command had

been building up its military capabilities and its

air force in particular was beginning to pose a

serious threat to Germany’s former foes. With

the outbreak of war, the race was on for Britain

to assemble a sufficient number of planes –

both fighters and bombers – for both the

defence of the British Isles and to carry the war

across the English Channel and into Germany.

Initially, bombing missions from Britain

focussed on military and logistical targets such

as taking out the assembled German invasion

barges and fleets standing ready in the

Channel ports, a vital – if slightly less glamorous

– role than Fighter Command’s part in

the Battle of Britain and it was only after a stray

Luftwaffe bomber dropped its load on London

that Churchill ordered Bomber Command to

really go on the offensive and undertake the

retaliatory bombing of Berlin. With Fighter

Command’s resources stretched dangerously

thin and close to the brink, this action helped to

| 26


turn the tide in the Battle of Britain as Hitler,

furious that his capital city had been bombed,

ordered Goering to change his plan of attack

and to switch from the ideal of destroying the

RAF to bombing British civilian targets thus

inadvertently giving British home defences precious

time to recover and replenish. With the

Battle of Britain in the bag, the country could be

considered to be ‘safe for now’, and by early

1942 the Americans had arrived and the prognosis

for a final victory was much improved.

There was still a war to win, however, for

defence was not enough, and prior to the D-

Day landings the only practical way to carry the

war into Germany and the occupied territories

was via the men of Britain’s Bomber Command.

With the war gathering pace and more and

more airfields being needed for Britain’s mighty

new bomber fleet, where better to build those

runways, control towers and hangars than the

beautiful flatlands of Lincolnshire? Not only did

the county provide space, ‘big skies’ and ideal

terrain for the airstrips themselves, but it was

also relatively close in proximity to Germany

and would provide bomber crews with a pretty

straight run across the North Sea and into

occupied northern Europe. It is estimated that

during the course of the war there were some

100 allied airfields spread across the county,

not all operational on a daily basis (some were

emergency landing strips, some were training

fields and decoy sites), and it is now nigh on

impossible to count them all on account of a lot

of paperwork having been destroyed when the

war was over. What is certain though is that

once the allied retaliatory bombing offensive

began in earnest, it came in with a fury from

rural Lincolnshire. The legendary Dam Busters

took off from RAF Scampton, close to the city of

Lincoln itself, and a visit to the churchyard there

– indeed to practically any churchyard in the

county - stands testimony to the price many

airmen paid.

Over the course of the War, almost 58,000 servicemen

and women from Bomber Command

would come to pay the ultimate price in the

struggle for freedom. We should remember,

that it was not only bomber crews who perished,

but that servicemen and women shoring

them up around the clock on the airbases back

home also fell victim to enemy action.

By the end of the war, the RAF had some 108

bomber squadrons and over 1,500 operational

aircraft and raids against such as fuel refineries,

depots and communication links had damaged

the German war effort beyond repair. Industrial

cities in Germany also came under fire and it

was ultimately this, the bombing of civilians

which would cause Bomber Command’s reputation

to be tarnished in the eyes of some and

even vilified in others. This is not the place for

such a discussion however and it should

always be remembered that the crew members

of the allied bombers who set off towards occupied

Europe were following orders in time of

war, and displayed a bravery and heartbreaking

courage above and beyond that which many

who later criticised them would ever be able to

muster themselves.

For many years following the Allied victory of

1945, the heroes of Bomber Command were

largely ignored, forgotten even, and it was not

until 2012 that London’s Bomber Command

memorial was dedicated but it was still felt by

many that a tribute to the crews ought really to

be built in the East of England, in close proximity

to the crumbling control towers and long

overgrown runways in the county which would

have been the last sight of home for many who

did not return and in the shadow of the most

welcome landmark in the world for those who

did make it back – Lincoln Cathedral – and thus

it was that the International Bomber Command

Centre dream was born. A trust was launched

in 2009 by the then Lord Lieutenant of

Lincolnshire, Tony Worth, and by late 2017 the

memorial was completed and it was opened in

January 2018. Sadly, Mr Worth passed away

just a few short weeks before the opening of

the memorial centre and so he wasn’t able to

see his dream realised. In order to complete

the memorial, the IBCC charity had to borrow

£1.5 million and they’re looking to raise funds

to repay that as soon as possible.

Today, visitors from far and near flock to the

spire which reaches for the sky in the flatlands

of Bomber County, it is a long overdue and welcome

addition to that iconic view of the

Lincolnshire skyline. I have stood and looked

at Lincoln Cathedral through an aperture in the

new International Bomber Command Centre

memorial, it was a beautiful day and all was

well with my world certainly. The memorial

stands 102 feet high to mirror the exact

wingspan of the iconic Lancaster bomber, it is

built from Corten weathering steel and around

the base of the spire are 270 steel boards on

which are carefully stencilled and laser cut the

names of those 57,861 souls who did not live to

see their final victory. There are no ranks or

awards noted, as the sacrifice of all remembered

is equal and ultimate, the dead of 45

nations, brothers in arms who fell in the cause

of freedom.

Freedom. We have an understandable tendency

to take it for granted but the very word itself

is a misnomer. Freedom isn’t free at all, it carries

a very heavy price tag indeed. It is a parting

gift to us from each every and person commemorated

on the IBCC memorial and indeed

on monuments and cenotaphs and war graves

around the world. A gift for which we should be

eternally thankful.

Lest We Forget.

For more information about the International

Bomber Command Centre, and to make a

donation if you’d like to support them, please

visit 27 |

TO ORDER PLEASE CALL: 01226 734222




SBT Supporting

Armed Forces &

Veterans Breakfast Clubs


Walk The Mile Walk The Mile Walk The Mile Walk The Mile Walk The Mile

| 38

| 30

Veterans Breakfast Clubs

Sapperfest: That time of the year again!

And From Around The Clubs... 39 | 31 |


A word from the Ed

Hi folks and I do hope you’re all

enjoying the wonderful sunshine

here in the UK. Oh, I wish. In

the middle of magazine writing,

trying to help the centre, trying to

launch a project, walking the dog

and making dinner, I do get the

odd five minutes to take in the

lovely weather. But on to the

minutes of the meeting. I do hope

you’re all getting the jist of Op

Wamits. Basically, I’m asking all

of you to walk a mile (or more)

hopefully in military style

footwear (not essential but it will

make it a little more realistic) and

then post it on Social Media for

all to see. On your video, please

state anyone you may be doing it

for but most importantly highlight

to veterans in your area where

they can get help. If you are

unaware of these details then let

me know and I will get the details

for you. Hopefully by spreading

the word will inform your

veterans where they can turn to in

times of desperation. We may

just be able to stop a few more of

the growing trend of suicides here

in the UK. We have a bit of a

bumper issue this month, many

thanks to all who have

contributed articles and bits and

bobs. I have to say it is a great

read. Special mention to the

Union Jack Club, Yes Society, our

very own Julie Warrington aka

Mrs Fox, AFVBC boss, Dereck

Hardman and all of our regular

writers. Wow!! Should keep us

all going for a while. I need to

say a big thanks to our patron,

Matt Neal for popping over to

visit a few weeks ago. He really

is a great ambassador for us

veterans, he even forked out for a

round in the pub after the meeting

(need to teach him about

Guinness though). There are

some great things on the horizon

from our Matt but more on that in

the near future. Just want to say a

huge congrats for getting himself

into 3rd position in the BTCC this

year. Thats it from me, laters! Px

“I hate being the new guy!”

Ways to find us

The Sandbag Times



A Song For A Hero

The Brand New Rock Opera which tells the truth of what

happens to our heroes when the killing ends. Packed with

incredible songs, breathtaking graphics and an emotional

rollercoaster of a story that will leave you asking

questions for a long time to come.”

Where Do They Go...

...When the Killing Ends

| 32


The Art Of War

By Stephen Coontz

The Chinese

dragon is

flexing its

muscles. As its

military begins

to prey on

neighbors in the

South China

Sea, attacking

fishing vessels

and scheming to

seize natural


America goes on

high alert. But a far

more ominous

danger lurks closer

to home: A nuclear

weapon has been

planted in the harbor

at Norfolk, Virginia―

site of the biggest naval base on

the planet. The target: a secret

rendezvous of the Atlantic Fleet

aircraft carriers and their battle

groups. When the CIA director is

assassinated and Jake Grafton is

appointed to take his place, Jake

gets wind of the conspiracy but

has no idea when or where the

attack will occur. Meanwhile, a

series of assassinations―

including an attempt on the life of

the President of the United

States―shakes the nation and

deliberately masks a far more

sinister objective. Can Jake and

his right hand man, Tommy

Carmellini, prevent a

catastrophe far more

devastating than Pearl Harbor

and stop a plot to destroy the

U.S. Navy?

Reach For The Skies

Central Band of the RAF

Here’s a bit of a military one for you in light

on the RAF Centenary. Wonderful military

music beautifully produced.


Dwayne Johnson

Naomie Harris

Malin Akerman

Here’s one we watched recently.

Very tongue in cheek but worth

a watch. When three different

animals become infected with a

dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and

a geneticist team up to stop them from

destroying Chicago.

Back issues of The Sandbag Times are available to download here 33 |


Mrs Fox Goes

To War...

The Chronicles of Little Hope

1939 - 1945

Villager of the month:

Dee Day

and - after all - a rent-free dwelling with

three fireplaces, an ice house and a painted

boudoir was not to be sniffed at.

As soon as War was declared, Dee volunteered

to become an ARP warden (having

promised Hilda Ffinch that she'd be sure to

finish typing the sentence she was on and

lock the infamous memoirs away in the

safe before sallying forth to save the day)

and took her duties very seriously indeed...

At Hilda Ffinch's new Lonely Hearts Agency,

things were not really going as planned. Dee

quite fancied Tarquin, but he'd been missing in

Indo-China since 1926...

Hilda Ffinch:

The Bird With All The Answers

Hilda Ffinch, Little Hope's very own Agony

Aunt (page 5 of the Little Hope Herald) was

easily bored and terribly rich. She loved nothing

better than taking on the problems of others

and either sorting them out or claiming

that she'd never heard of them if it all went tits

up and they had to leave the district under

cover of darkness having followed her sage


You can catch up with the adventures of Dee

Day at

Diana' Dee' Day lived with her mother Holly

and younger sister May in the old lodge at the

entrance to Hilda Ffinch's rather grand estate

where she tapped away religiously on her

trusty typewriter from dawn to dusk each day

transcribing Ms Ffinch's somewhat dubious

memoirs. A terribly sensible girl, May was

aware that Hilda had almost certainly never ridden

up K4 on the back of an arthritic yak with

the Duke of York, but went along with the charade

as Hilda Ffinch was a generous employer

This month’s letter comes from old Mr

Cummings, he’s having a spot of bother with

church verger Miss Mayflower. Not to worry

though, Hilda’s on hand with her usual brand

of sage advice...

| 34


up sausage together in Oxford Street!

Seventy six is no age at all, my good man, there’s

many a good tune played on an old trombone. I’ll

wager that in years to come a song will be written

about just that.

Be of good cheer now and perhaps consider taking

a gentle stroll with the ladies of the Little Hope

WI when they sally forth gathering nuts in the

greenwood, I’m sure that they’ll be only too happy

to take it in turns to hold your bag for you should

it become a little heavy.

Letter of the Month

Dear Ms Ffinch,

I seem to have an issue with a lady called Miss

Mayflower, the church verger who seems to

be giving me the eye. Forty years ago, I may

have been flattered, but at the age of 76 I can

hardly tie my shoelaces, never mind do anything


I realise that I am one of the very few men left

in our village with our brave men fighting the

good fight and am happy to play my part in

the war effort, but I do have my limits!

Please advise, what should I do?

Yours desperately

Alfred Cummings

With regards to Miss Mayflower herself, I’d take

her name with a pinch of salt and stop worrying.

She flowered just before the Titanic went down

and has been all talk and no action ever since.


Hilda Ffinch,

The Bird With All The Answers

P.S. If the more militant members of the WI do

happen to slip their hands into your pockets and

offer to lighten your load, say “No!” as it won’t be

the odd tanner they’re after and at your age you

need to watch it.

If you’d like Hilda Ffinch, The Bird With All The

Answers to address your own wartime problem,

then pop along to

to subject your

personal crisis to her (hopefully) sober scrutiny.

Remember to give yourself a suitable wartime

alias! Letters will be answered online and a selection

of them published in next month’s Sandbag


Dear Mr Cummings,

Oh come, come now, sir! Do get a firm grip on

yourself and endeavour to man up! If the

Reverend Aubrey Fishwick can gamely fend off

the sex starved harpies of Little Hope - admittedly

with help from a bell, Book and candle

in his case - then I’m sure that you can give an

equally good account of yourself!

Are you not, after all (as local legend has it),

the sterling fellow who gave our dear Mr

Churchill a bunk up so that he could get his

leg over during his escape from the Boers in

Pretoria in 1899? Why sir, without your

impressive upward thrust we might even now

be watching Herr Hitler and Lord Halifax

shopping for lederhosen and a bit of spiced- 35 |

Poetry Corner

On reaching the top of the hill I traced

the inscriptions on the war memorial,

leaned against it like a wishbone.

The dove pulled freely against the sky,

an ornamental stitch. I listened, hoping to hear

your playground voice catching on the wind.

By Mike Woods

I am grateful to Pablo Snow, editor of The Sandbag

Times for the opportunity to write this section of the

magazine. I am delighted to be able to include a

poem by Jane Weir, one of the poets prescribed on

the AQA GCSE syllabus in the section entitled

‘Power and Conflict’. Her moving poem, ‘Poppies’

appears below. It was commissioned by Carol Ann

Duffy, the Poet Laureate as one of ten poems published

in The Guardian newspaper in response to

the conflict in Afghanistan. A film in which Jane

talks about the genesis of the poem can be found



Jane Weir

Three days before Armistice Sunday

and poppies had already been placed

on individual war graves. Before you left,

I pinned one onto your lapel, crimped petals,

spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade

of yellow bias binding around your blazer.

Sellotape bandaged around my hand,

I rounded up as many white cat hairs

as I could, smoothed down your shirt's

upturned collar, steeled the softening

of my face. I wanted to graze my nose

across the tip of your nose, play at

being Eskimos like we did when

you were little. I resisted the impulse

to run my fingers through the gelled

blackthorns of your hair. All my words

flattened, rolled, turned into felt,

slowly melting. I was brave, as I walked

with you, to the front door, threw

it open, the world overflowing

like a treasure chest. A split second

and you were away, intoxicated.

After you'd gone I went into your bedroom,

released a song bird from its cage.

Later a single dove flew from the pear tree,

and this is where it has led me,

skirting the church yard walls, my stomach busy

making tucks, darts, pleats, hat-less, without

a winter coat or reinforcements of scarf, gloves.

Alongside her poetry writing, Jane is a textiles

designer. The thread of imagery associated with her

close knowledge is reflected in her choice of words

such as ‘bias’, ‘blockade’ and ‘felt’, all of them resonantly

ambiguous. They are developed in the fourth

satanza to communicate the emotional respnse fo a

mother to her son’s imminent departure, her worry

being expressed as the ‘tucks, darts, pleats’ of her

stomach.This poem is one of a triptych, the others

being entitled ‘A Hank of Yellow Wool in a

Landscape’ and ‘The Face’. In response to my asking

if it would be possible to include the pom in The

Sandbag Times, Jane wrote “‘Poppies’ was inspired

by a ramble up to the war memorial in Matlock and

through the very graveyard mentioned in the poem

with my lad as a small boy many years ago. It got

me thinking about Sassoon’s poem, ‘Sick Leave’

when he was hospitalised at Craiglockhartt suffering

from shell shock. He reported seeing men from his

platoon at the foot of his bed asking him what he

doing and why was he not with them.”


When I’m asleep, dreaming and lulled and warm,

They come, the homeless ones, the noiseless dead.

While the dim charging breakers of the storm

Bellow and drone and rumble overhead,

Out of the gloom they gather about my bed.

They whisper to my heart; their thoughts are mine.

“Why are you here with all your watches ended?

From Ypres to Frise we sought you in the line.”

In bitter safety I awake, unfriended;

And while the dawn begins with slashing rain

I think of the Battalion in the mud.

“When are you going out to them again?

Are they not still your brothers through our blood?”

Siegried Sassoon

Siegfried Sassoon formed a famous friendship with

| 36


Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart hospital in Scotland. This

was portrayed wonderfully in Pat Barker’s novel,

Regeneration (1991). They contributed to a poetry magazine

called The Hydra, of which there is an online

archive. It was at Craiglockhart that Owen’s Keatsean

sensuousness was leavened by the example of

Sassoon’s ironic bite.

It is wonderful that The Sandbag Times provides the

space for poetry on all subjects, something that would

have pleased both Sassoon and Owen. Tragically,

Wilfred Owen was killed in action on 4th November

1918, just one week before the Armistice was signed.

Sassoon died in 1967. As well as his poems. it is well

worth reading his two volumes, Memoirs of Fox-Hunting

Man and Memoirs of an Infantry Officer.

One is often left wondering what else Wilfred Owen

might have gone on to write after producing, by the age

of twenty-five what are probably the best know poems

ever written about war experience. Future editions of

The Sandbag Times will feature this mighty poet.

One of the most important pieces of advice that can be

given to anyone wanting to be a poet is to read the

work of others. This is part of the apprenticeship of writing.

An apprentice learns from a master of a trade and,

over time, develops the necessary skills to qualify as an

exponent of that trade or craft. Often, this involves the

ability to make or build something. It is not surprising,

then, that the word poet derived from the Greek poiein,

‘to make’. A poet, then, is a maker. This necessitates a

deliberate act, the application of craft and technique all

fired in the forge of imagination. Shakespeare describes

the process in the voice of Theseus speaking to

Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, having

already said that ‘The lunatic, the lover, and the poet /

Are of imagination all compact.’ (V,i,7-8):

The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;

And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name. (AMND V,i, 12-18))

The raw material of the trade is words and the skill lies

in the shaping of the poem in terms of diction, syntax,

form and sonic effects. All this, of course, is coordinated

through the individual insight consider of the poet. This

leads us to another consideration of what a poet is. The

Romans used the word vates or seer to describe a poet.

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, one of the characters

who appears in the opening scene is interchangeably

given the name s poet or soothsayer, the latter meaning

‘truth teller’. This also implies a prophetic ability. It is the

poet/soothsayer who famously advised Caesar to

‘beware the Ides of March’, which proved to be the day

of his assassination at the hands of the conspirators.

These days, we do not credit poets with the power of

clairvoyance but there is still an acknowledgment of

their insight and ability to ‘see into the life of things’ as

Wordsworth put it. We respond to what T.S Eliot said a

poem should be - ‘the best words in the best order’.

With all this in mind, what follows is an example of what

is an expertly crafted poem. It was written by Gerard

Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) in 1877, while he was

studying theology at St.Beuno’s in North Wales.

The Maker and the Made

It is well known that we tend to turn to poetry at significant

points in ours lives. Although we may know what

we think and how we feel, it is not always easy to convey

thoughts and feelings in a form of words equal to

them. Often, we find a poem that says exactly what we

think and feel and have a sense of recognition because

it so precisely says what we wanted to articulate. There

are those of us, though, who do have a compulsion to



Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and


And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 37 |

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows


With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Whilst not everyone will subscribe to the theology

of this poem, its technical features are

striking. In the first instance, it is clearly the

work of a writer who has done his time as a

poetic apprentice and has reached the point of

technical mastery to the point of being innovatory.

Hopkins wrote in his journal, ‘the effect of

works of genius is to make me admire and do

otherwise’ and in this poem, a curtal sonnet, a

version of the form he invented, we do indeed

see Hopkins doing otherwise. He reduces the

standard fourteen lines of the Italian or petrarchan

sonnet to ten and a half lines, whilst

maintaining the same proportions of the standard

form. The compact container of the curtal

sonnet is suited ot the purpose of giving us the

sense of all things being crammed in to the

world, the plenitude of being. The alliteration,

assonance and rhyme deployed in the poem

link the disparate facets of the world in one

unifying principle which, for Hopkins, is God.

Hopkins was always at pains to arrive at the

essence of things, their ‘inscape. In a letter to

his friend, Robert Bridges (Poet Laureate1913-

1930), he wrote, ‘, pattern or what I

am in the habit of calling inscape is what I

above all aim at in poetry.’ Pied Beauty certainly

fulfils the poets aim through its careful

design and patterning. A lot more that can be

said about this poem; it serves as an example

of how a great deal can be expressed in a

short form.

Keeping apprenticeship firmly in mind, it is a

pleasure to include a poem by Hannah

Searson who, at the age of fifteen, has successfully

combined free verse with an element

of refrain and repetition to address what is a

very difficult subject. Well done, Hannah.

To our minds

To our bodies

To the lies we tell ourselves

To our souls

To our hearts

To our thoughts that are kept on dusty bookshelves

In for four

Hold for seven

Out for eight

In for four

Hold for seven

Out for eight

In for four

Hold for seven

Out for eight

In for...

It just doesn’t work

It just keeps on like an endless cycle

Our minds constantly go berserk

It’s an endless recital

It’s a constant battle

It’s a never ending race

Our crooked mind lets out it’s sick cackle

And then we’re gone without a trace

And just like that

We slip into darkness

Forever waiting for that light

Until our hope falls flat

But regardless

We’re stuck in a never ending headlight

Of doubt

Of fear

Of all that put us down

In for four

Hold for seven

Out for eight

Maybe just Maybe it may work today.

Hannah Searson (15)


In for four

Hold for seven

Out for eight

In for four

Hold for seven

Out for eight

That’s what they teach us

That’s what we get taught

When we break down

And don’t know what to do anymore

We get told that same ritual

We get shown that same thing

that’s unintelligible

Win This Fantastic Title

This unusual and beautiful book collects together twenty

five of the often read, well-loved poets. Each

poet is illustrated with an original watercolor

portrait by the talented young artist,

Charlotte Zeepvat, who reproduces in

pleasing script one of their works, giving a

biographical summary that placed the poet

firmly in the battlefield context in which

their work was conceived.

To have a chance at winning this

fabulous book, simply email your

poetry to:

| 38

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