The Sandbag Times Issue No: 46

sandbagtimes

The Veterans Magazine

The Veterans’ Magazine Issue 46 | August 2018

Danny’s Legacy

One Veterans Suicide Which Has Driven

A Nation To Act To Stop These Tragedies

SBT News Update

Plus all The Latest National & International

News from the Armed Forces & Veterans’ World

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

Supporting #OP-WAMITS


Email: info@sandbagtimes.com

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CONTENTS

Issue 46

SBT News

4 Suicides Unreported

MoD under pressure to

produce acurate stats.

5 Red Arrows Base To Shut

MoD proposes to close the

iconic base, RAF Scampton

5 Youngest Spitfire Pilot

Dies, 96

WW2 Pilot Geoffrey Wellum

dies. A Hero remembered

6 Former Top Brass Calls

For Shops To Close

Calls to Close shops on

Armistice Day 2018 to mark

100 years

Features

10 Danny’s Legacy

Mother Calls For Better

Veterans Help

12 Rewind Tecnique

Dr David Muss Takes Us

Through His PTSD

Recovery Treatment

26 Turn To Starboard

Victory For Veterans At New

Charity Regatta

Regular

13 Historic Tommy Atkins

On The Run

No More Falling Heroes

A brand new documentary investigating the

difficulties in transition to civilian life for our

Armed Forces Veterans. Page 14

29 Have Faith

Further Steps...

40 SBT Information

A page dedicated to back

issues, information, book

reviews etc

42 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

Manager

Vince Ballard


NEWS

THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE

SBT NEWS August Edition info@sandbagtimes.com

CALLS TO IMPROVE INSUFFICIENT

VETERAN SUICIDE REPORTING DATA

The Government is coming under increasing

pressure and being accused of ‘turning a blind

eye’ after an investigation uncovered that there

was no system to record the number of UK servicemen

taking their lives.

The investigation comes in the light of an

increase in veterans taking their own lives in

2018. Despite the findings, the MoD still insist

that the suicide rate is lower than that of civilians

in comparison per 100,000.

Veterans Charities are insisting that the correct

figures are sought so the true scale of the problem

can be tackled effectively.

But, despite the yawning gap in official records,

there is evidence that a disturbing number of exsoldiers,

in particular among those who fought in

the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan,

are taking their own lives or attempting to do so.

Partial figures provided under FOI rules by NHS

mental health trusts show at least 35 suspected

suicides among veterans receiving treatment

since 2012.

Among the former soldiers to have taken their

lives this year are 29-year-old Kevin Williams,

who was the youngest British soldier to fight in

Iraq when he was deployed on his 18th birthday.

He took his own life at his home in Basildon in

March after being diagnosed with PTSD and failing

to keep appointments for treatment. His comrade

and friend, John Paul Finnigan, 34, who

served alongside him during some of the toughest

fighting in Iraq, also killed himself 12 weeks

later.

The introduction of the NHS TILS system is one

way this issue may be tackled. This is being

rolled out across the UK by Dr Jonathan Leach.

GET HELP NOW: Combat Stress Helpline

0800 138 1619

| 4 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


NEWS

THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE

SBT NEWS August Edition info@sandbagtimes.com

Youngest of ‘The Few’ Geoffrey Wellum Dies

The youngest Spitfire pilot

to fly in the Battle of Britain

has died aged 96.

Geoffrey Wellum died at his

home in Cornwall on

Wednesday evening, the

Battle of Britain Memorial

Trust said. One of the "Few",

the decorated veteran airman

was approaching his 97th

birthday. The former squadron

leader served on the front line

with 92 Squadron. Some of

his first combat missions

included the "dogfights"

above London and the Home

Counties for which the Battle

of Britain became known. He

was just 18 when he joined the

RAF in August 1939. Mr

Wellum went on to be

awarded the Distinguished

Flying Cross and was

promoted to Flight

Commander with 65

Squadron and later led eight

Spitfires from HMS Furious

to relieve Malta. The Battle of

Britain Memorial Trust's

secretary Patrick Tootal said

members of the charity's staff

and volunteers had been

"much saddened by the news".

Tootal added: "Only this week

Sqn Ldr Wellum had been

Outcry At Proposed Closure Of RAF Scampton

Proposed plans to close

the iconic base for the Red

Arrows, RAF Scampton

has been met with strong

opposition from campaigners.

Defence Minister

Tobias Ellwood said: “The

MoD will close RAF

Scampton in 2022, relocating

the RAF Aerobatic

Team and others to locations

more fit for purpose.

The disposal of the site

would offer better value for

money and, crucially, better

military capability by

relocating the units based

The Royal Navy patrol ship

HMS Sabre has escorted an

unidentified Spanish warship

out of Gibraltar’s waters amid

ongoing Brexit tensions and

Spanish pressure about the

Rock’s future. Tourists on the

beach and on pedallos in the

seawater watched as the two

vessels sailed close to each

other. HMS Sabre is a patrol

ships currently part of

there.” Opened in 1916,

the Lincolnshire base was

the headquarters of 617

Squadron ahead of

Operation Chastise’s

bouncing bomb raids on

German dams in the Ruhr

valley in 1943. Lib Dem

Armed Forces spokesman

Jamie Stone said the sale

is “a huge blow to jobs in

Lincoln, as well as our

national heritage”. Shadow

Defence Secretary Nia

Griffith said: “There will be

a number of civilians working

at RAF Scampton who

talking enthusiastically about

attending the Memorial

Service at Westminster Abbey

on 16 September." Speaking

in 2013, Mr Wellum told how

he was sent out to fly while

still in his teens. "Somebody

said: 'Here's a Spitfire - fly it,

and if you break it there will

be bloody hell to pay'," he

said. "I ended with 146 hours

of flying time. Mr Wellum

stayed on in the RAF until

1960 and went on to write a

best-seller about his

experiences in the war - his

2002 memoir First Light.

Read more on this story.

HMS Sabre Chases Off Spanish Warship Near Gibraltar

Gibraltar Squadron, providing

protection and security to the

British Gibraltar Territorial

Waters. Spain and the UK

have wrestled over the Rock

for decades. A British territory

since 1713 and home to a vital

Royal Navy base, Spain has

long demanded its return. In

the years before Brexit, Spain

regularly slowed the border

crossing between the Rock

will be extremely concerned

about their future.

Former head of the RAF,

Air Chief Marshal Sir

Michael Graydon, said the

move cuts the number of

airbases available to military

aircraft and makes

each remaining airfield

more vulnerable to attack.

A No10 spokeswoman

said: “That closure is part

of a plan to deliver modern

and efficient military bases,

which will save the taxpayer

about £140million by the

end of the decade. More

and the Spanish mainland.

Gibraltar's future status has

also been a key part of

Spanish Brexit thinking,

Prime Minister Mario Rajoy

regularly raising the

temperature. Britain's

position - even years before

the Brexit vote - has always

been that Gibraltar is part of

the UK and will not be

surrendered to Spain. More

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 5 |


NEWS

THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE

SBT NEWS August Edition info@sandbagtimes.com

Former Military Brass Calls For All

Shops To Be Closed On Armistice Day

Royal Navy Veteran Who Wanted Police

To Shoot Him Died From Drug Overdose

A Royal Navy veteran who was

once at the centre of a five-hour

police siege died from a drug

overdose, an inquest heard. Neil

Emerson, who suffered from post

traumatic stress disorder, was

found dead at his home on

Oxford Road, Waterloo on

December 28. An inquest at

Southport Town Hall heard a

friend who went to the house

after being contacted by Mr

Emerson's worried sister saw him

slumped in a chair. Police

officers forced their way in but

the 53-year-old was not

breathing and was pronounced

dead at the scene. Tests found

alcohol at a level of 41mg/100ml

in his body. High levels of free

morphine were also detected,

which a pathologist said was

within the range associated with

fatalities. Coroner Graham

Jackson said there was no

All shops should be made

to close on November 11

as Britain marks the

centenary of the armistice,

two former military chiefs

have said. Armistice Day

and Remembrance

Sunday fall on the same

date in 2018 which also

happens to be 100 years

since the cessation of

hostilities in the First

World War. The armistice

was signed between the

allies and Germany at

evidence that Mr Emerson had

intended to take his own life and

his sister said he appeared to be

"in good spirits" a few days

before his death. Albert Howard-

Murphy, coroners' officer for

Sefton, said: "Mr Emerson was

last seen at 11am on December

24 by his friend David Jones at

his home address. "On

December 28 police were asked

to go to the address due to

concerns for his safety."

Merseyside Fire Service was

initially called to the scene after a

police officer reported a faint

smell of gas, but no appliances

were found to be on in the

property. A post mortem

recorded the cause of his death as

a drug overdose. Mr Emerson, a

military veteran, had a history of

alcohol abuse, post traumatic

stress disorder and anxiety and

depression. Read More Here.

Compiegne, France, and

took effect on the

“eleventh hour of the

eleventh day of the

eleventh month”. A letter

to the Times, signed by

former head of the Army,

General Lord Dannatt,

and former first sea lord

Admiral Lord West

among others, read:

“Marking as it does the

centenary of the end of the

First World War, we

believe it would be right

to mark it by ensuring

that, as on Easter Day, all

shops are closed that

Sunday. “We urge the

Government to bring in

the simple legislation

necessary to ensure this

very special act of

remembrance in 2018.”

The letter noted the move

has been proposed and

supported by the Union of

Shop, Distributive and

Allied Workers at its

annual conference.

GET HELP NOW: Text Combat Stress

07537 404719

| 6 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


NEWS EXTRA

New Veterans Centre

Opens In Southampton

By Colin Gaylor

A little over 20 years ago I had a dream that if I was ever to win

the lottery I would buy a house and turn it into a drop in centre

for our Veterans.

After service support, unlike your military uniform, is not ‘a one

size fits all’ which is why we need places like the drop in centres.

A place where you can come and get support, advice and

a hot meal.

I didn’t win the lottery but I did meet some people who shared

my vision and were able to put some resources behind the

vision. Tim Jones (Founder), Exforces.net, Sarah Austin (Chief

Operations Officer) and Danielle Doyle (Property Systems

Officer) Solent NHS Trust, and Caroline Hopper (Armed Forces

Covenant Programme Manager) Southampton City Council.

Our discussions centred on providing local Veterans with a

helping hand, whether that is by getting them out of the house

and in amongst company, connected with local support, into

housing and back into employment.

To achieve this, we are linking up with other organisations,

which will provide major support to our service at our new, dedicated

centre. The service will be run by volunteers, all of

whom will receive training to ensure we achieve real life

changes for people accessing our services.

Veterans Outreach Service will be a big part of our offer, with

the monthly meetings for help and support, and open for at

least 3 days per week until 2100hrs. We intend to increase the

service, with a view to going six days, dependant on volunteer

staffing levels.

Solent NHS Trust has offered us a short term lease for the

Woolston Clinic, which will enable Southampton Veterans’

drop-in centre to become a reality and begin to raise a profile.

Southampton City Council have given us funding to run a

monthly multi-agency drop for the next two years which will

help establish the support services we offer. This drop-in will

be part of a network of drop-in's for Veterans and their families

around the Solent region.

training will be given to cover the essentials in both applications

and social media.

None of this would have been at all possible without the help

and generosity from members of the breakfast club, staff of

Solent NHS Trust and Southampton City Council and the

Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership. Now

Southampton Veteran’s Drop-in Centre is established. We will

be looking for a permanent base in Southampton and looking

to eventually establish more centres, ensuring that we can

reach the most vulnerable ex-service men and women in our

region. I would like to give a couple of example of where inter

agency network has been successfully use already.

I had a call from a guy in Retford who had been on a 6 week

cruise and was holding a breakfast club in the med on the

Arcadia. It was here that he met an 84 year old navy stoker and

his wife who come from Nottingham. Unfortunately, the stoker

was taken ill and kept in sick bay until they docked in

Southampton where he was taken to the Royal South Hants

and his wife put into a B&B in Hill Lane. Frightened and lonely

she called Retford who used the breakfast club network and

called me. Long story short Tracey wasn’t having her stay in a

B&B and told me to bring her home and that is where she

stayed over Christmas and new year when myself, Vic and

Gavin took them home after his surgery to Nottingham. It was

during this time we met Martell from Defence Medical Welfare

Service and have been working together ever since.

We received an email from an ex-soldier in Mansfield who had

split from his family and was about to become homeless, but

he had a job to start in a little over a week in Southampton but

nowhere to live. I contacted David from Help 4 Homeless

Veterans and with a little bit of email toing an froing and David

contacting SAAFA and between them he was found a home

and a couple of our breakfast club members helped him move

in.

Two weeks ago I got a distress call from a vet who was in a dark

place and said he was losing his fight and his marriage. He felt

his meds weren’t working and asked for help. We talked over

the phone until he calmed down and I said I was going to make

a call to get him some help. I called Gary from Forgotten

Veterans UK. This guy now has buddy buddy support and so

does his wife.

The Woolston Clinic will have everything needed to help ensure

the Health and Well-being of our Veterans. It has a treatment

room for our volunteer nurse to perform a well-being clinic as

well as rooms that are to be used for group discussions or one

to one advice or support sessions with visiting guest agencies.

There is also a little IT suite for job searches, CV writing, looking

up information and maybe re-establishing contact with lost

family members. For those that may not feel too confident, IT

Do you have a story to tell or an issue you would

like to get out in to the public?

Then let us know here at the SBT

info@sandbagtimes.com

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 7 |


SBT NEWSDESK

With Jim Wilde

Hi folks, and welcome to

the Newsdesk. This

month, as Pablo will agree,

has been a very busy

month, from not only the

World Cup, the sizzling weather

and of course the constant stream

of news topics worthy of a mention.

You will have noticed that there have been a few

changes since the last issue. namely, the way

that we are reporting the news, and the daily

updates. We have put the audio

broadcasts/updates on the back burner for now,

whilst we try out the new video platform which

enables us to bring you live video content and

pictures to support the stories in the news. We

hope that you enjoy this new feature whilst we

develop the system, and grow our viewing audience.

This new broadcast medium allows us to bring

you all the latest in the Military and Veterans

world, whilst at the same time allows you to get

involved by sending in your clips and pictures to

be featured not only in the magazine, but in the

"Live" news updates each day. It may be that

you wish to raise awareness for a particular

topic, and have images you would like to submit

to go along with your comments. I have to be

careful I don't tread on Pablo's toes with my topics,

or steal any of his thunder though :) What

we would ask is, that you SHARE the posts wide

and far to get the message out there.

Over the last few weeks, one of the more serious

topics has been the increase in suicides in

the military and veterans world, and this really

does need to be addressed. In recent broadcasts

we have highlighted the fact that the

Ministry of Defence and Government does NOT

record veterans suicides, and this really does

have to change. This can only happen if WE get

involved. Sitting back behind our keyboards and

expecting the Government or MOD to address

these issues does not work. It is down to us.

In the last few weeks, there have been a number

of situations when a fellow veteran has needed

help, and the system has failed them, and continues

to do so. As a result, a number of sites

on Social Media have been set up with the sole

purpose in getting help to those that need it, in

a speedy and effective way. I cannot talk about

these issues without sending out huge respect

to the following organisations, who really are

going the extra mile to make sure we prevent

further casualties to the hideous disease that is

P.T.S.D. we have our very own walk in centre in

Worcester called the "Tommy Atkins Trust",

whose details are easily found elsewhere in this

magazine, and online.

A special mention has to go out to Jeff Williams,

a former Royal Marine Sgt Major, who has taken

GET HELP NOW: SSAFA Helpline

0800 731 4880

| 8 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


SBT NEWSDESK

up the mantle, along with Simon Maryan,

David Bellamy and the rest of the team at

"Veterans United Against Suicide"

(Facebook). These guys continue to raise

awareness, with regular updates, working

alongside "ICARUS Online", who very generously

stumped up the cash required to get

"Cpl B" RM into badly needed treatment,

which started this week. If you pop along to

their facebook page, you can see how you

can help, with donations etc for this worth

cause. ICARUS will be running an

"Immediate care Practitioner Course" in

Aberdeen from 29 - 31 August this year if this

is something you would like to get involved

with.

Of course, none of this would be possible

without your support and input. if there is

anything you can do, in ANY capacity to help

raise the awareness of PTSD, by either donating,

or offering up some of your time it would

be most gratefully accepted. Just pop along

to any of the websites mentioned for further

details.

Thanks again for taking time to read this, and

I look forward to your input and feedback in

order to further enhance the content, and the

means of delivery.

Drop us a line at info@sandbagtimes.com or

Jim@sandbagtimes.com.

Until next month, be careful out there in the

heat, and always keep a cold one close at

hand, you know it makes sense!

Jim Wilde

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 9 |


Danny’s Legacy

2018 has been an awful year with an increase in Veterans

taking their lives. In May, Danny Johnston sadly became

another of this years tragedies. But why? What is making

our heroes feel they have no other way out? Along with

Walking With The Wounded, The SBT investigates.

We cannot imagine what the families of

Veterans go through when a loved one takes

their lives. So many questions without

answers, so little understanding of what

drove them so far down that dark road. This

story has been repeated so many times this

year.

Despite the many tragic stories that have

unfolded, the death of Danny Johnston hit the

headlines in a way which stirred so many

people to act. In particular Walking With The

Wounded, along with Danny’s family and

friends are working together to establish a

meaningful legacy in Danny’s memory.

Danny Johnston, 35, served with the Princess

of Wales’s Regiment and Special Forces.

While in the Army, he was highly respected

and well regarded by all those who worked

alongside him. But he struggled to adapt to

life post military service and suffered in

silence with mental ill health. Tragically

Danny took his own life in May this year.

There was a huge outpouring of support and

love when Danny went missing. We want to

use that and make a difference, and raise

£100,000 in Danny’s memory to support

other veterans and family members who are

suffering from mental health challenges and

to make a difference to their lives. All the

funds raised will support beneficiaries of

Walking With The Wounded, many of whom

are struggling with mental health challenges,

and many of whom are finding the transition

from the Armed Forces difficult. There can be

hope and there is support. We want to

encourage people to step forward and seek

help, and find their future. Through Danny’s

legacy we want to stop anyone else going

through the pain Danny did and his family

are.

Incredibly, Danny’s mum has reached out to

the public in the aftermath of her son’s death

to appeal for something to be done to stop

more of our heroes ending their lives.

| 10 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


GET HELP NOW

NHS TILS Self Referral Numbers

North England - 0191 441 5974

Midlands/ East England - 0300 323 0137

London/ South East England - 020 3317 6818

South West England - 0300 365 0300

"Danny was too special to die alone, the way

he did, after all he had fought for and against.

He deserved happiness and a future, to grow

old with a family of his own. The devastation

that losing such a special person has caused

us is almost too much to cope with and I

could not bear the thought of another mother

going through this hell. If we can save one life,

just one, by raising awareness, then the pain

of Danny's death might have some meaning,

and there could be no better legacy for him

than that."

Danny’s mum, Viv Johnston.

Very emotional and heartfelt words from a very brave lady.

The truth of the matter is, Danny hasn’t died in vain. The wish

of Viv for Danny’s legacy to save lives is living in so many

ways. With WWTW, in the fundraising they are doing with his

family, in the pages of this magazine which is created to

ensure veterans know where to go to get help, in OP

WAMITS, which was dedicated to Danny’s memory, in the

new NHS TILS and CTS systems which is a much improved

service to help veterans without the pain of lengthy waiting

periods, but most of all, the man himself. A very brave, very

likeable young man who gave so much. Despite his loss, he

continues to inspire others. No, he definitely has not died in

vain.

So this entire issue is dedicated to Danny’s memory, to his

family, in particlar the very brave Viv, his friends and to every

veteran who may be suffering today. If you are one of those

and need help then please, please let somebody know. If you

are unsure where to start, then please contact us or the

Tommy Atkins Centre, regardless of where you are in the

country. You will also find help throughout this issue.

JustGiving - WWTW/ Danny Johnston

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 11 |


REWIND

RTT Case Studies

The Tommy Atkins Centre in Worcester is

very pleased to have its very own doctor in

the form of Dr David Muss. But what makes

David so special is his ability to help our veterans

using his own technique called Rewind•

Minimizing the risk to the counsellor of

Trauma Therapy. This amazing practice is developing compassion fatigue, particularly

proven to help veterans with trauma injuries for those therapists involved with heavy

such as PTSD very effectively and quickly, workloads.

But what makes this treatment so special.

We let David explain.

The Rewind Therapy (RT) has become

internationally recognised as indispensable

to treat PTSD.

It is easily learnt; applicable to survivors

trans culturally and usually requires no more

than two sessions to bring about closure for

single traumas. The results are enduring** -

a follow up of two years showed no relapses

in that period of time. (RT) was first introduced

into the literature of Post Traumatic

Stress Disorder by myself (founder of this

association) back in 1991; ** "A new technique

for treating Posttraumatic Stress

Disorder". British Journal of Clinical

Psychology, 1991, 30,91-92. 19 policeman

with PTSD were treated with the Rewind and

followed for two years. All reported being

well, returned to work and there wasn't a single

relapse. The Rewind is different from

other imaginal exposure therapies because

no details are disclosed to the therapist

Hence the treatment is known as "closure

without disclosure" The benefits of non disclosure

include:

• Minimizing the risk of the client being re-traumatized.

There is no fear of disclosing sensitive information

e.g. In the case of servicemen, for

By

Dr David Muss

example, about deployment.

• For survivors of rape and sexual abuse the

benefit of not having to disclose details of

the event to a stranger is self-evident

The Rewind offers a way of permanently

stopping the involuntary recall by filing the

traumatic event so it comes under

control..Voluntary recall remains. For single

event traumas, two to three sessions at most

are required. For multiple event, such as:

combat, sexual abuse; domestic violence;

etc. each traumatic event can be dealt with

separately over separate sessions but,

depending on the way the involuntary recall

represents, can also be dealt with in one

session. The exact science of the Rewind

treatment,as for all treatments,is unknown,

but attempts have been put forth to explain

the mechanism by:

Changes in the integration of the memory

mediated by the modulation of arousal

(Dietrich,2000), and dissociation from the

traumatic sequellae (Dietrich et al,2000).

Bio Informational Theory (Foa et al.)

1997Treatment aimed at introducing new

information incompatible with some or all of

the memory structure at the root of PTSD

symptoms

Classical Learning ( rooted in basic behavioural

psychology)Conditioning paradigm,

the Traumatic Memory is associated with

implicit and explicit cues which evoke the

memory outside of the conscious control of

the suffferer.

Dual Representational Theory (Cognitive)

Brewin , Dagleish, Joseph 1968Traumatic

memories are held in two separate

forms,explicit verbally accessible memories

and implicit situationally accessible memories

Temporal Dynamics Model of Emotional

Memory Processing (Diamond , Campbell,

Park et al (2007) based on animal studies.

Most recent thinking, based on neuronal

research, suggests the mechanism of the

intervention may be explained in terms of

memory restructuring through the mechanism

of reconsolidation Riccio,D.C.,

| 12 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


HISTORICAL TOMMY ATKINS

On The Run

Written By Peter Macey

On the evening of 8th August 1918,

General Ludendorf, who had led the

German Army so successfully against

the Allies for most of the war described the

battle that had started earlier in the day as ‘the

Black Day of the German Army’.

The Battle of Amiens, also called the Third

Battle of Picardy was the opening phase of an

Allied attack that became known as the

Hundred Day Offensive which would

ultimately lead to the end of the First World

War. With the advancement in armour and

artillery accuracy the Allies managed to

advance over seven miles in one day, one of

the greatest advances of the war. Amiens was

the first major battle to involve armoured

warfare from both sides and marked an end to

trench warfare that had existed since the

beginning of the war on the Western Front.

The war and fighting in general had become

mobilised and the Germans were on the run.

As had become the norm of attacks in the First

World War they tended to follow the strategy

of bombardment followed by advancement

and Amiens was no different in that aspect.

The only real difference was the sheer scale of

both men and armour that the Allies were

moving forward with. The battle began at just

before 4.30 on the Morning of 8th August

when the British Fourth Army attacked north

of the Somme, at the same time the Australian

Corps were advancing South in the centre of

the British Forces and the Canadian Corps

were further South advancing alongside the

main Army. In the meantime the French 1st

Army opened its bombardment of the German

forces before starting its own advance just

under an hour later.

Once again mainly due to poor intelligence by

the German hierarchy the attack was totally

unexpected by the German forces and they

only started to return fire after the attack had

been going on for several minutes by which

time the positions where the Allies had been

entrenched had been abandoned for the

advance. The whole of the initial attack

involved British, Australian, Canadian, French

and American forces and just three hours later

they had travelled over two miles and captured

enemy positions with relative ease.

The Canadian and Australian forces advanced

quickly to the three mile mark by 11am and a

gap of fifteen miles was punched through the

German line South of the Somme by the end

of the first day. The British had less success

further North due to the terrain being tougher

to cross although the attackers did achieve

their first objective at Chipilly Spur.

Some thirteen thousand German prisoners

were taken by the Fourth Army with their

French counterparts taking another three

thousand. And whilst the body count was

rising with nearly thirty thousand German

casualties the Allies did suffer nearly nine

thousand of their own.

The reason for Ludendorf’s remark was not to

do with the Allied advancements. He was

referring to the morale of the German Army in

general. The German troops in large numbers

were retreating knowing they could not win,

insulting officers who tried to turn them back

and heckling any reserves who were

advancing to the front to support their fighting

comrades.

The advance continued on 9th August but not

with the same successes of the first day of

fighting. The battle had widened on the north

and the south of the initial attack. Allied

infantrymen had outrun the supporting and

slower artillery and the initial force of more

than five hundred tanks that played such a

decisive role was reduced to only six that were

fully fit for battle within four days of the start

of the battle.

At this point in time the German Army on

Chipilly Spur commanded a wide field of fire

to the south of the Somme with their flanking

fire holding up the Australian Corps until late

on 9th August and the supporting Canadian

Army hitting congested roads which stalled

their advance. Communication problems also

came into play with the British 32nd Division

slowing have lost communication with the

Allies.

On 10th August, there were signs that the

Germans were pulling out of the area they had

taken so successfully during Operation

Michael a few months before and the Allies

captured nearly fifty thousand prisoners and

five hundred German guns by 27th August.

The Germans had started the war with what

was called the Schlieffen Plan before the Race

to the Sea. This was slowed by the war on the

Western Front that quickly developed into

trench warfare and became something of a

stalemate for a number of years. The German

Spring Offensive earlier in 1918 had once

again given Germany the offensive edge on

the Western Front. But with technology

playing a bigger part in weaponry the Allied

armoured support helped, which came into its

own from November 1917 onward weakened

the German’s trench positions. Interestingly

the British Third Army with no armoured

support had almost no effect on the front line

while the Fourth, with fewer than a thousand

tanks, broke deep into German territory over

and over again.

The Battle of Amiens was another turning

point in the war and from this point on there

was no turning back by the Allies during a

period which became known as the One

Hundred Day Offensive running from 8th

August until 11th November 1918.

Were any of your relatives involved in the 100

day offensive? If so we would like to hear

from you at SBT and Forgotten Veterans UK

(FVUK). Please share your experiences of

those that were there if you can.

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 13 |


At New Cha

Victory For Veter

Reg

| 14 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


TURN TO STARBOARD

ans

rity

tta

Armed Forces veterans pitted their sailing

skills against each other at the launch of a

charity’s new racing division.

More than 50 injured veterans took to the

water to compete at a special 3-day regatta

held at Gosport near Portsmouth last week.

In partnership with Help for Heroes and The

Endeavor Fund, the event was organised by

Turn to Starboard, the charity set up to help

those affected by military operations by taking

them sailing. Many of those taking part in

the sailing event had barely set foot on a

yacht, yet made the decision to brave the

waves and learn new skills.

Beneficiary Lt Cdr Jay Saunders said: “A

couple of weeks ago I was hiding in my bed,

but this regatta had me up and chasing a

win I would never have dreamed of. Thanks

to Turn to Starboard I discovered that my

PTSD can’t take control of me when I’m sailing

and the racing element has enabled me

to turn my anxiety into adrenaline, and of the

good sort. I found my competitive nature

returning and I needed to get to the front of

the fleet. I’m so thankful that Turn to

Starboard has helped me find a part of

myself that I thought that I had lost.”

Over the duration of the regatta the crew

were led by professional skippers on eight

racing yachts to compete in three races

around the Solent. Under clear skies and

enjoying gusts of 10 to 15 knots, ‘Team

International’ skippered their way to the finish

line at least eight boat lengths ahead of

their nearest friendly rival ‘Team ABF

Soldier’s Charity’. ‘Team Endeavor’ asserted

their dominance over the rest on the fleet to

finish in third place.

The event was followed by an awards ceremony

at Haslar Marina with trophies for the

winners and runners up.

Turn to Starboard Chief Executive, Shaun

Pascoe, said: “We’re really excited about the

launch of our new racing division this summer.

The sport of sailing helps individuals

affected by operations to get active outdoors,

regain confidence and learn new

skills to help start new careers in the marine

industry. With support from Help for Heroes

and The Endeavor Fund, we are able to

show people how sailing is a great way to

get active outdoors and enjoy the physical

and social benefits the sport can provide.”

Set up just four years ago, Turn to Starboard

has helped more than 1200 injured veterans

with many gaining sailing qualifications to

start new careers in the marine industry. The

Falmouth-based charity is aiming to raise

£100,000 towards a new training boat by the

end of this year.

For more information about Turn to

Starboard, or to make a donation, visit turntostarboard.co.uk.

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 15 |


The Tommy Atkins Centre

Tommy Atkins Centre August

Hello from a very sunny

Worcester. We’re all making

the most of the glorious

sunshine here, though I

have to confess that Pablo

& I went to the Upton Blues

Festival last Friday evening

and the rain came down

pretty heavily for over an

hour. Typical!!

Pablo, Dr Jonathan Leach and

I did our bit for Operation

WAMITS too by taking a walk

along the SAS route of the Fan

Dance on Sunday 15th. I’m pleased to

say I was sensible and only tackled the first

hill, though once I’d recovered enough I

managed to get up and down it twice. Pablo

& Jonathan completed somewhere in the

region of ten miles each of the SAS route (I’m

really not jealous!!)

It’s been fairly quiet at the centre this month,

though we have had a Peer Mentoring group

with Combat Stress, and have another on

31st July. Combat Stress have also run

several meetings here too, and I’ve assisted a

homeless veteran in finding a permanent

home. We’ve had an awful lot of support too

from our Worcester Breakfast Club members

who dug deeply in their pockets and

purchased some Jacqueline Hurley prints

kindly donated to us to raise funds, along with

some pens and keyrings from Woody Turner.

To date, thanks to their generosity were on

social media to let veterans know t have

raised £165, so thank you guys and girls.

Very much appreciated.

I’ve been keeping a keen eye out on social

media for missing veterans, and pleas for

help. If you want to do your bit please take

part in our Operation WAMITS campaign, take

a video or photo’s as you walk and post to

social media to let veterans in your area know

where they can go to find help.

Well people, don’t forget to slap on plenty of

sun screen if you venture out anywhere, until

next time stay safe, and please, please,

please get the message out there on social

media to let people (not just veterans) know

where your local veterans can go to find help

if they need it.

Jane xx

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk/tommyatkinscentre

Over The Hills And Far Away...

Pablo & Dr Jonathan Leach Kick Off OP

WAMITS With A Jaunt Over Pen Y Fan

A warm, sunny Sunday morning in July was the perfect setting

for the SBT Editor and NHS Veterans Lead, england to

take a nice stroll over the beautiful Brecon Beacons in Wales

accompanied by Jonathan’s faithful hound, Jessie.

Heart disease and aged quite a few more years. The last 500

metres of the climb was definitely the worst but I battled on

until we climbed the last little struggle to the summit of Corn

Du. A swift walk across to the next peak and we were there.

Fun and suffering aside please do not forget what we did it

for. OP WAMITS. We posted on social media, we got our

message out to veterans in our area, now it’s your turn!

Armed with all of the mountain walking kit I could muster, first

aid kit, chocky bars, water pack, more chocky bars, emergency

bad weather kit (Yeah, really needed that!), even more

chocky bars, and anything else I could think of all wrapped

up in my gucci little day sack, we set off for the day, driven to

Wales by our old mate, Uncle Trevor with Jonathan and

Jessie following close behind.

Conditions truly could not have been any better. On arrival,

very keenly, we had a little stretch and then set off. Within

about 20 paces past the famed phone box, I regretted making

the decision of returning to an old stomping ground from

years before. But soldier on we must. And we did.

It was a very painful experience, I must admit. It had been

some years since I had walked the Fan, I had recovered from

GET HELP NOW: Tommy Atkins Centre

01905 27825

| 16 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


BRAND NEW

Patron to The Tommy Atkins Centre


DAI4FILMS

NO MORE FALLING SOLDIERS

What happens to Military Personnel leaving the

Armed Forces? And what can we do to help?

Shaun Johnson (Royal Horse Artillery),

Cassidy Little (Royal Marines),Phil

Campion (SAS) and Neil Davies

(Parachute Regiment), tell their inspirational

story of overcoming PTSD, addictions, homelessness,

amputations and attempted suicide,

as they investigate why military veterans are

struggling to cope with civilian life.

The Government promised the nation that

Military Veterans and their families would be

given priority treatment in health care and

housing, it was called the Armed Forces

Military Covenant.

Veterans struggle with physical and Mental

Health problems such as Post Traumatic

Stress Disorder and some self-medicate with

alcohol and drugs. And thousand of veterans

end up homeless, eking out a lonely existence

living on our nations streets struggling

with addictions.

Many of them fail to cope and refuse to ask

for help, some end up in Prison and for an

alarming and growing number; the way out is

suicide.

The generous UK public raises money for

charities to help fallen soldiers; how is that

money used and what else needs to be

done.

Is the Armed Forces Military Covenant working?

And are charities left to shoulder the burden?

The No More Falling Soldiers team will investigate

the Armed Forces Covenant, veterans

in prison, mental health/suicides, homelessness

and support/rehabilitation through military

charities and the arts and offer Dai4films

GET HELP NOW: Royal British Legion

0808 802 8080

| 18 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


“I aim, to find

out why this is

happening and

moreover, what

can be done to

try and end this

hideous problem”

Phil Campion - Former SAS

on Veterans Suicides in 2018

Dai4Films have been making

award-winning programmers

for all the major

UK and US Networks since the

1990’s. Across hard News stories,

Documentaries, Undercover

investigations, feature films and

Comedy shows. Dai4films has a

fantastic raft of committed filmmakers

who voted the company

their filmmaking outfit of choice to

work with. So if it gets their creative

juices flowing, were filming

it.

We are a Film and Television

Production Company that are

launching the project with many

years of experience producing

Network series and hit shows.

This is a project of passion for us,

as are veteran soldiers ourselves

and deeply concerned with the

issues the project will raise. We

have extensive contacts in the TV

production sector and many

promises of help to achieve our

aims.

We have the production equipment

either on lone or hired at

discount rates. Out team are prepared

to work on deferred wages

and already had offers of help on

the post-production.

We have via the participating

charities agreed access with our

project subject areas and personnel.

Most of our filming will be in the

UK but any international filming

will be hosted by Military

Veteran organizations.

We are well versed in

Health and safety having

taken the required BBC

courses and will have public liability

insurance to cover the project.

Security will be by x-forces personnel

with many years of experience.

Experienced TV professionals will

do all our filming and with a real

commitment to the subject matter

and none of our filming will be in

dangerous or difficult areas.

Editor on No More Falling

Soldiers

It is so apt that we present the

work of Dai4Films and this amazing

documentary in this issue. I

believe that Veterans, no, the

whole of the UK need this documentary

to highlight what really

goes on. Not from a film companies

point of view, not from a

celebrities point of view but from

the view of people that can really

put across the reality of the

issues. Veterans themselves.

Only in this

way will the

truth finally

be told. The

SBT is fully

committed to

the making of

No More

Falling Soldiers’,

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 19 |


“My wife applied for me and life

has absolutely changed since I

started this journey. Being part of a

team again has enabled me to get

my confidence back. Being diagnosed

with PTSD was a massive

INVICTUS UK TEAM 2018

TRAIN AT TEDWORTH HOUSE

Invictus News

Prince Harry Recites Poem To

Mark 100 Days

Prince Harry has delivered heartfelt words in

a stirring ad for the Invictus Games 2018,

which take place in Sydney this October.

The Prince is one of several people to recite

a line from the poem "Invictus," written in

1875 by William Ernest Henley, as they go

about their daily lives. The cast also includes

Invictus Games Sydney 2018 competitor

Jamie Tanner in action at wheelchair rugby

training as well as other competitors and veteran's

widow Gwen Cherne and her daughter

in an emotional moment.

Read More Here...

Royal Australian Mint Releases $2

Coin For Invictus Games

A new $2 coin has been released ahead of

the 2018 Invictus Games.

The new coin features an image of a

wheelchair competitor to help celebrate the

spirit of unconquered wounded, injured and

ill men and women from the defence forces.

The Royal Australian Mint expects to release

2.3 million of the coins into circulation

between now and the games being held from

October 20-27 in Sydney.

The coin was designed by one of the Mint’s

own coin designers.

The military personnel representing

the UK at the Games in Sydney

later this year have been practising

at Tedworth House.

Sitting volleyball players from the

UK's Invictus Games squad have

been put through their paces in

Tidworth.

They trained at the Help for Heroes

Recovery Centre at Tedworth House

on Saturday (23rd June) to ensure

they're mentally and physically prepared

for the event.

A team of 72 wounded, injured and

sick military personnel and veterans

will represent Britain in Sydney this

autumn.

Places on the UK Team were hotly

contested this time around, with a

record number of people taking

part in trials across 11 sports.

415 hopefuls have been whittled

down to the 72 chosen by Help for

Heroes, with support from the MoD

and the Royal British Legion.

RAF Sgt Paul is recovery from

PTSD and views the Invictus

Games as a way to repay his family

for their unwavering support during

the darkest times in his life. He

said:

step for me and I built on that by

using fitness rather than alcohol to

help me cope.

"Coming to these training camps

every weekend has given me my

life back, my family back and I’m

enjoying life again. It’s got me motivated

to become a sitting volleyball

coach, I want to do all the qualifications

and use the Invictus as a

springboard for my career.”

Former Private Pa Modou Njie was

discharged from the Army in 2012.

An amputee, he lost both his legs

(left leg below the knee and right

leg above the knee) in Afghanistan

after stepping on a roadside bomb.

Despite life-changing injuries, Pa

sees Invictus as his way of looking

to the future:

The Invictus Games benefits me

both physically and psychologically.

Being a part of the team improves

my self-confidence and I’m able to

achieve my highest potential. All of

Team UK have really worked hard

to be where we are so it’s great to

all come together at these training

camps. Invictus sets a platform for

me and it’s a lifetime journey. It’s a

distraction from issues I face.”

Team members will compete in athletics,

archery, wheelchair basketball,

cycling, powerlifting, indoor

rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming,

sitting volleyball, wheelchair

tennis and for the first time in 2018,

sailing.

GET HELP NOW: NHS England Midlands

0300 323 0137

| 20

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


INVICTUS GAMES 2018

The Invictus Games Choir team up with Carly Paoli

A choir formed of members of the

Armed Forces who have been

affected by their service have

teamed up with classical star

Carly Paoli on her latest single

‘Liberty’. The Invictus Games

Choir, who feature on the track,

are a community choir for serving

and veteran personnel from all

services, who are wounded,

injured or sick, to help them in

their recovery.

Supported by Help for Heroes,

the Choir’s rehearsals and performance

opportunities build confidence

and provide a creative outlet

to help support the choir members.

The choir have now been

given the opportunity to sing on

Carly Paoli’s latest single ‘Liberty’.

The song is written by the

Grammy Award winning songwriter

Walter Afanasieff whose many

credits include hits for Celine

Dion, Barbra Streisand and

Mariah Carey. Featuring The

London Symphony Orchestra, the

song was recorded at Abbey

Road and Strongroom Studios.

Carly met members of the Invictus

Games Choir at the 2018

‘Soldiering On Awards’ and felt

the lyrics reflected the endeavours

of the group and asked if they

would like to record backing

vocals to enhance the track.

Speaking about ‘Liberty’ and

recording with the Invictus Games

Choir, Carly said “It’s really special

to have the choir singing with

me, they have all experienced so

much more than I could ever

imagine. The words in ‘Liberty’

say “from ashes…we’ll rise above

it all” and the members of the

choir are the epitome of individuals

who have done just that in different

circumstances and situations.

Being together as a choir

exemplifies that unity and the

healing power of music. Every so

often a song comes along that

has a powerful message. This is

such a song and I don’t think

there could be a more powerful

group of people to share such a

strong message with.”

Read More Here...

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 21 |


GET HELP NOW

NHS mental health

care for veterans

Mental illness is common and can affect anyone (including

serving and ex-members of the Armed Forces and their

families). Whilst some people cope by getting support

from their family and friends, or by getting help with

other issues in their lives, others need clinical care

and treatment, which could be from the

NHS, support groups or charities.

Within the NHS, there are a range of

mental health services that provide

different types of care and treatment.

This includes dedicated mental

health services for service personnel

approaching discharge from the British

Armed Forces and veterans. By veteran

we mean anyone who has served for at

least one day in Her Majesty’s Armed

Forces (regular or reserve).

These services are called the NHS

Veterans’ Mental Health Transition,

Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)

and the NHS Veterans’ Mental Health

Complex Treatment Service (CTS).

Both of these services are provided by

specialists in mental health who have

an expert understanding of

the Armed Forces.


NHS mental health care for veterans

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)

Accessing the TILS in your local area is quick and easy:

• If you are due to leave the Armed Forces, the TILS will work with the MOD to

offer you mental health support through your transition period and beyond.

• Both serving personnel approaching discharge and ex-forces will have a

specialist assessment two weeks after the TILS has received your referral.

Where appropriate, the TILS will aim to see you for your first appointment

two weeks after this. You will be supported by a military aware team who

will develop a personalised care plan with you.

• Your assessment may find that other NHS services can provide more relevant

support. If this is the case, the TILS will help you access these services, which

could include talking therapies or treatment for other conditions, such as

eating disorders or psychosis.

• If you have significant mental health difficulties that are

military related and have not improved with previous

treatment, you will be referred to your local CTS.

Accessing NHS mental health services

If you think you or your partner / spouse may be

struggling to cope, the NHS Veterans’ Mental Health

Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) and

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment

Service (CTS) can help.

Access to both of these services is via the TILS. You can contact the

TILS direct or ask your GP or an Armed Forces charity to refer you.


NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)

Access to the CTS is via the TILS. This ensures that any previous treatment

and support has been considered.

This service provides a range of intensive care and treatment for people

with military related complex mental health difficulties, many of whom

will have experienced trauma.

Once referred to the CTS, the service will aim to see you for your first

appointment two weeks after this.

You will be supported by a military aware

team who will develop a personalised

care plan with you. This will include

arrangements for crisis care.

Supporting you and your

family to live a healthy life

We know that families can be

affected when their loved ones

are unwell, so where required they will be

supported to access local services to help ensure they get the

right care and treatment.

With your permission and where appropriate, they will also

have the opportunity to be involved in developing your care plan.


NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition,

Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)

This is a dedicated out-patient service for

serving personnel approaching discharge

from the Armed Forces and veterans who

are experiencing mental health difficulties.

The TILS provides a range of treatment,

from recognising the early signs of mental

health problems and providing access to

early support, to therapeutic treatment

for complex mental health difficulties

and psychological trauma. Help may also

be provided with housing, employment,

alcohol misuse and social support.

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex

Treatment Service (CTS)

This is an enhanced out patient service for

ex-forces who have military related complex

mental health difficulties that have not

improved with previous treatment.

The service provides intensive care and

treatment that may include (but is not

limited to) support for drug and alcohol

misuse, physical health, employment,

housing, relationships and finances, as

well as occupational and trauma focused

therapies.

Accessing NHS mental health care for veterans

Access to both of these services is through the TILS. You can contact the service direct

(see below) or ask your GP or a military charity to refer you.

North of England services: call 0191 441 5974 or email vwals@nhs.net

• Midlands or East of England services: call 0300 323 0137 or

email mevs.mhm@nhs.net

• London or South East of England services: call 020 3317 6818 or

email cim-tr.veteranstilservice-lse@nhs.net

• South West of England services: call 0300 365 0300 or email sc.veterans@nhs.net

To access these services you must:

• be a resident in England and have served in the UK Armed Forces for a full day

• be registered with a GP practice in England or be willing and eligible to register with a GP

• provide your military service number or another form of eligibility.

Both services work with a range of local organisations, including the wider NHS, charities,

housing, employment agencies and social services, to ensure the appropriate support is in

place for you and your family.

If you experience a mental health crisis before being assessed by the TILS and you are

not under the care of a mental health team, you can get help by dialling 111, booking

an emergency GP appointment, visiting A&E or calling 999. A mental health crisis often

means that you no longer feel able to cope or are not in control of your situation.

It is important to register with an NHS GP and tell them that you have served in the

Armed Forces so, where appropriate, you can access these and other dedicated services

for veterans.

For more information, visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk and type in ‘veteran’


During recent attendance of YES Society’s volunteers at various Armed Forces events, a few members of the public

have mistakenly thought that they were already supporting the Veterans Raffle, when in fact they were members

of the Veterans Lottery!

YES Society do not wish to discourage support of any charity supporting our Armed Forces Veterans however

none of the existing charities promoting lotteries reward the support of the public to the extent of YES Society, via

their Veterans Raffle.

YES Society apportion 40% towards Prizes in their Veterans Raffle whereas some lottery promoters are only apportioning

@ 3 – 8% which, in YES Society’s opinion, is totally unethical & immoral.

A spokesperson from YES Society stated that they would be deeply concerned if members of the public were to

accidentally commit their support to the wrong raffle/lottery. YES Society will continue to highlight their significant

benefits over the competition in the hope that even if someone should accidentally subscribe to the wrong

raffle/lottery, that they’d soon discover their error and switch accordingly!

Those already registered with the Veterans Raffle are enjoying prizes from £100 up to £25,000 each month, which

of course others aren’t offering, or certainly not with better Winning Odds than with the Veterans Raffle.

Whether making a single donation or entering the Veterans Raffle, on behalf of all the smaller specialist Veterans

Charities, YES Society would like to say a huge “Thank You”.

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 27|


CANADA CALLING

Canada Calling

The Canuck Connection

As a cook trained in the

Canadian Army, I would

like today to mention a

few of the Duties carried out by

Cooks in the military. Call them

baconburners’ food service

techies, whatever the term

good or bad, cooks survive

and carry on. An army

marches on its stomach.

This saying, which attests to the

importance of forces being wellprovisioned,

has been attributed to

both Napoleon and Frederick the Great. It is recorded in

English from the early 20th century.

Military cook’s courses in all countries of NATO are all

run to the highest standards of Food Services. From

SQC to LQC ( small quantity cooking to Large Quantity

Cooking ). Cooks are responsible for the safe production

of food, menu planning, storage, Hygiene , whether it be

in the field or a base kitchen.

Imagine rising at 4 am to be on shift by 5am. Feeding

500 plus men and women. A hearty nutritious meal to

start their day. In the field this is far more interesting as

no civilian kitchen help are available to set up.

The night cook will have the burners primed and ready

for breakfast service. Depending on the size of the unit,

there may be a single cook or a few on shift.

The cook has an important part of the Morale of his

soldiers. Well fed happy soldiers can and will carry carry

out their duties far better than a disgruntled one.

Cooks from the military prepare meals from the newest

recruit to her Majesty our Queen, the Olympics, Military

Tattoos around the world.

Army catering is the butt of many jokes, but in the end

joking aside, who does a soldier depend on for his

meals?

Canadian Army Cooks Are trained so well that the Navy

wants us. That line said a lot after integration. Prior to the

integration of the Canadian Forces there were 3 Cooks

Schools. Hochelaga just outside Montreal for the navy.

Clinton for RCAF cooks in Ontario. Then there was the

RCASC Cooks School in Camp Borden Ontario. No

points for guessing which one survived….RCASC(S)

Many army cooks were posted to ships and a great

many of them loved it. I did 2 years on HMCS Yukon, 2

years which I did not like. Cooks are trained as drivers

and on ships they have secondary duties. Firefighters,

first aiders etc. Never the less I loved my overall trade.

Made many good friends over the years, and am still in

contact with a few.

That is it from CANADA CALLING for this issue. Last but

by no means least a bit of history from the ARMY: in

WW1.

Armies march upon their stomachs, so old Bonaparte

has said.

• And thoughts like this have come to not a few.

There's a great sustaining power for the fighting men

ahead

• In a dixie full of hot and steaming stew. And our

hearts were singing praises as we backed our carts for

more

• To the grimy, greasy Army cooks who helped to

win the war.

Nil Sine Labore

Have a great Summer

Robby

Have You Walked A Mile Yet?

OP WAMITS

GET HELP NOW: NHS England South East

020 3317 6818

| 28 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


HAVE FAITH

More Footsteps...

You can’t throw a stick these days without hitting someone

that has a story to tell about footsteps, or taking the next step

or following someones footsteps, the list goes on.

Two weeks ago the footsteps thing was hammered into my

brain so hard but this time it was physical steps. Walking up

Pen Y Fan for the Op Wamits project really tested me out. Of

course it’s not an easy mountain to walk up but achievable

for most people with a basic fitness level. The problem I had

was two years ago I was diagnosed with cronic heart disease,

put on a critical list and rushed into surgery. It was

devastating to find out that this fit lad who loved challenges

was no longer fit enough to just wallk to the shops. Thankfully

the operation was a great success and, with medication,

it. The biggest one is, never give up. No matter how high

your mental mountain is, it has a summit. Keep walking, you

will get there. Sometimes you need a hand. I did. I focused

on why I was there, I remembered the long path I had walked

to get me to this position and I allowed God to help me the

last few steps. I read this passage the night before to help

me.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have

taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind

and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the

goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward

in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 13/14

I conquered my past, I achieved my OP WAMITS, but the

biggest reward was the one I have been employed for. I was

able to turn around, hold out my hand and help others to the

summit. In my mind, I shall remain on the top of Pen Y Fan

as long as I am able to hold out a hand to my fellow veterans.

meant I could pick my life up again. It did take a long time but

I vowed one day I would go up the Fan again under my own

steam.

One step in front of the other, one at a time, you will make it.

Back to my recent effort, the last 500 metres felt like 500

miles. Every step felt like I was dragging two of me up there.

But I couldn’t give in. I had promised a lot of people, including

veterans that I would do it. In my mind, during that last 500

metres, I was carrying all of the pain of the last two years, I

was carrying the hopes of OP Wamits, I was carrying the

burdens of all of my brothers and sisters who I try to help but

the heaviest was carrying the will to go on.

Don’t get me wrong, I wont compare half an hours leg ache

with the suffering of our troops but there are a few lessons in

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 29 |


BATTLEFIELD TO BOARDROOM

The Institute of Leadership and Management

British businesses missing key productivity

and skills boost by ignoring military

veterans, study shows

Businesses are missing out on key opportunities

to boost their skills base and productivity

by not effectively employing well-qualified

former military personnel, according to

new information released by The Institute of

Leadership & Management.

According to The Institute, 86 per cent of veterans

say business managers still don’t

understand how military honed skills can

transfer into boosting businesses on civvy

street.

Coinciding with both Armed Forces Day (30

June) and the 100th anniversary year of the

ending of World War One, The Institute of

Leadership & Management has released its

new report Tales of Transition, which identifies

the barriers to helping ex-forces personnel

enter the civilian workplace. The report

also details the steps that business leaders

can take to support the transition of around

15,000 people1 who leave the UK Regular

Armed Forces each year.

The key findings and highlights from the

focus group research include:

• Military life – Participants felt that military

personnel had a strong culture of learning,

as around 30 per cent of their time in the military

is based around learning and developing

skills. It is also felt that the military

lifestyle creates a culture of strong team

work and continual improvement where

good teamwork is often considered more

effective than the actions of an individual.

• Barriers to employment – There is a stark

contrast between the language and corporate

behaviour used by civilians and veterans,

so it’s unsurprising that culture dominated

almost half of the sessions (46 per cent),

as a barrier to employment. Participants also

discussed issues in demonstrating confidence,

‘selling themselves’ to civilian bosses

and the struggles they faced when finding

employment at a similar skill level to the one

they were operating in while part of the military,

often due to biased civilian perceptions.

• Better transition – The group recognised

that a range of services are available to help

the transition for veterans. However, it was

believed that the most vulnerable and in

need of these services failed to access them,

as they were unsure about which options

best addressed their own transition.

According to The Institute of Leadership &

Management’s Leadership Redeployed

report, 86 per cent of survey respondents

Based on findings from a series focus

groups, the report reveals that veterans are

often being recruited to jobs that don’t match

their skill sets, which goes to affect productivity

when they’re not used to their full

potential.

At a time when the UK’s business community

could benefit from a productivity boost

and an uplift in skills, the research found that

service leavers often feel disadvantaged

when they enter competitive ‘civvy street’,

despite the years of varied training they’ve

received and the skills they’ve developed

during military service.

The focus groups were made up of representatives

from all three military services,

people who had left or were in the process

of leaving military services and civilians with

experience of employing service leavers. It

included representatives from Help for

Heroes, Deloitte LLP, Barclays UK VETS

Programme, Officers Association and ILM,

who discussed the key issues from both

employers and veterans.

| 30 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


BATTLEFIELD TO BOARDROOM

said many employers don’t understand how

military experience transfers to other sectors.

Also, 69 per cent said many civilian employers

are not aware of the talent, skills and

attributes of ex-forces workers and so they

miss out on the full benefit of employing

them, even when they do offer them a job.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as the

research shows the positive perspective veterans

have about the leadership skills

they’ve developed in the military and that

many people do make a successful transition

into civilian jobs. Veterans identified leading

a team, people management and communication

as the top three leadership capabilities

– all of which are crucial in the civilian workplace.

In addition, almost half (47 per cent)

of survey respondents said they described

the transition of their military skills into a civilian

environment as a positive experience and

41 per cent said it was easier to seek help

and develop a suitable support network in

civilian organisations (40 per cent).

Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and

standards at The Institute of Leadership &

Management, said:

“Members of the Armed Forces acquire

many new skills and capabilities during their

service, the skills and capabilities that modern

organisations need now.

“Our research encourages employers and

veterans to think again about how truly transferable

these skills and capabilities really

are.”

Spokesperson for Help for Heroes added:

“Help for Heroes fully supports the findings

of this report. Veterans are skilled, drilled,

proud and driven and employers need to

recognise the value former Service Personnel

can bring to their company. This research

highlights the barriers faced by those transitioning

into civvy life, and we hope leaders

will heed the advice given on how best to

support this transition.”

The partners behind the Tales of Transition

report have created an online central

resource hub to help businesses ease the

transition for any veterans they employ. This

comprehensive toolkit is available on The

Institute’s website:

https://www.institutelm.com/resourceLibrary/t

ales-of-transition-reformulating-the-challenge.html

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 31 |


VETERANS AWARDS

In the UK we have a huge number of highly successful Armed Forces

Veterans that have made the transition from the Military to civilian life.

We want to reward these veterans who have gone above and beyond

and excelled in their relevant fields. They will act as role models for

future service leavers.

We want to find the people who even during the most difficult periods

have excelled.

To learn more about the Veterans Awards please go to

Twitter - @AwardsVeterans

Facebook - Veterans Awards

Welsh Veterans Awards - 26th June 2019

English Veterans Awards - 25th September 2019

| 32 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


Saudi Careers

Let your career take off with

BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia

We are looking for skills to support our fast jet platforms

(Typhoon, Hawk and Tornado) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,

including Aircraft Technicians, Technical Instructor and

Operational Support, offering an excellent salary package

and a considerable range of benefits.

At BAE Systems, we provide some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security

solutions and employ a skilled workforce of some 82,500 people in over 40 countries. Working with customers

and local partners, we develop, engineer, manufacture and support products and systems to deliver military

capability, protect national security and people and keep critical information and infrastructure secure.

For further information and specific opportunities please visit:

www.saudicareers.co.uk


LET YOU

BAE SY

SAUD

TAKE

At BAE Systems, we help our customers to

stay a step ahead when protecting people

and national security, critical infrastructure

and vital information. We provide some of the

world’s most advanced, technology-led

defence, aerospace and security solutions

and employ a skilled workforce of more than

83,000 people in more than 40 countries.

BAE Systems Saudi Arabia provides customers

in Saudi Arabia with a wide range of

support and services in the areas of defence,

aerospace and security – for equipment,

facilities and infrastructure right through to

intelligence gathering. We are one of the

largest employers in the private sector with a

workforce of nearly 4,700, more than half of

whom are Saudi nationals.

For 50 years the work carried out here in the

Kingdom has played a crucial part in supporting

the country’s national objectives.

Today we’re committed to recruiting, developing

and retaining the brightest talent in our

industry as we look to build upon our proud

heritage and enjoy new successes through

our enduring partnership with Saudi Arabia

in support of the Kingdom’s strategy for economic

development via Vision 2030.

Many of BAE Systems Saudi Arabia con

tracts are within the Military and Technical

Services area. They include the provision of

contracted manpower for the support of PC-

9, Hawk and Tornado aircraft.

This activity covers flying instructors for training

Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) aircrew,

ground instructors for training RSAF technicians

and

a spares and repair service for PC-9, Hawk

and Tornado aircraft.

GET HELP NOW: NHS England North

0191 441 5974

| 34 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


FORCES RECRUITMENT SERVICES

R CAREER

OFF WITH

STEMS IN

I ARABIA

We believe there is no limit to what we

can achieve together. As part of this

unique organisation, our people enjoy

career opportunities many people never

manage to find.

As a valued member of our team, you'll

enjoy much more than a competitive, tax

free salary. Whether you join us on your

own, or with a family, you can expect to

enjoy a superb new lifestyle. You'll see

that all the practicalities of daily life are

catered for, with accommodation and utilities

provided free of charge. You and your

family will have our full support whilst living

with us. And, with excellent facilities,

including medical centres, schools,

shops, swimming pools and gyms, each

of our compounds offers all the comforts

of home - as well as the opportunity to

explore a whole new world.

But it's not just about an attractive financial

and benefits package. You'll have the

chance to further your skills by working

on a range of exciting and cutting edge

projects. And, with the chance to gain

valuable experience beyond your job, you

could enhance your life as well as your

career. All in all, we think that you might

want to stay for longer than you expected.

To apply visit: www.saudicareers.co.uk

All appointments in Saudi Arabia are subject

to receipt of all necessary

Government and/or Customer approvals.

CAREERS IN SAUDI ARABIA

BAE Systems Saudi Arabia

offers a wide range of career

opportunities at many locations

and are actively recruiting a

number of positions within the

following disciplines:

• Professional/Functional

• Teachers/Instructors

• Aircrew

• Technical Specialist

• Technical

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 35 |


Veterans Breakfast Clubs

Armed Forces &

Veterans Breakfast Clubs

www.afvbc.net

WEBSITE

Leading Writer Rebecca Fyans

Shines at the Rising Star Awards

Leading Writer Rebecca Fyans has been named as a

Rising Star in Defence at a prestigious awards ceremony

in London, singling her out as an inspirational role model

in recognition of her tireless charity work championing a

cause she is so passionate about.

You don’t need to spend long with Rebecca to realise why

she was plucked from 1,250 high calibre entries, to win

the award. Her enthusiasm is infectious, she is positive,

approachable and fiercely determined to use her own

experiences to improve that of others, spreading a positive

message of life with someone that has Down syndrome.

After travelling across Asia Pacific in 2004 Rebecca

realised she wanted to do something different so joined

the Royal Navy in 2007 at the age of 27. She’s worked on

board HMS York, in Camp Bastion hospital in Afghanistan

and the shore establishment HMS Nelson, before finding

out she was pregnant in 2012.

Her son Sebby was born in 2013 with Down syndrome

“This is when my life changed for the better, forever” says

the hardworking mum of two.

The Royal Navy allowed me to take a career break to

dedicate my time to ensuring he had the best start in life.

During this time I became closely involved with a children’s

charity, the Portsmouth Down Syndrome

Association.

"Volunteering as a charity Secretary, Trustee and new parent

liaison I have; delivered training to midwives on how to

give a positive diagnosis of DS; lectured college students

and educational professionals; spoken at charity events

and high profile dinners; been filmed for TV and organised

and taken part in multiple fundraising events.”

After four and a half years Rebecca returned to the Navy,

where she now works in Naval Legal Services at Navy

Command HQ, in Portsmouth and says she hasn’t looked

back:

“I’m proof that you can have a full-time career in the Royal

Navy, a husband that also serves in the military, two children

- one with additional needs - and be a Trustee who

aims to inspire women to stay in the Armed Forces after

having children.

The skills I’ve learnt in my role as trustee definitely benefit

me every day in my job in the Navy, likewise I bring skills

and perspective from my military career that has changed

the way the charity carries out its business.”

Rebecca’s husband Mike, a Marine Engineer serving on

board HMS Queen Elizabeth, is right behind her charity

efforts, which she says, just wouldn’t be achievable without

his support.

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

19 |


Armed Forces &

Veterans Breakfast Clubs

www.afvbc.net

WEBSITE

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, It’s Shrewsbury

AFVBC On Top Of The O2 Arena

On Saturday 7th July, in temperatures above

30 degrees, a team of 27 members from

Shrewsbury Armed Forces & Veterans

Breakfast Club (SAFVBC) climbed over the O2

in London to raise money for Blesma.

This event had been in planning since

January, but who’d have thought it would have

been on the same day that England played in

the Semi Finals of the World Cup!

Our team was joined by Brian Chenier from

Blesma, who came not only to support Clive

Smith but take photos for us too.

Every year SAFVBC undertake a challenge to

raise money for a selected military charity. This

year we chose Blesma after we were inspired

by one of our members Clive Smith, an ex

Royal Engineer, who lost both of his legs

above the knee whilst on his second tour of

Afghanistan in 2010.

Clive was a Lance Corporal and the lead man

on patrol of the Counter-Improvised Explosive

Device (C-IED) Task Force in Helmand

Province when he stepped on an IED, which

threw him 30 ft into the air.

On the journey from Afghanistan to Queen

Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham Clive’s heart

stopped twice.

When he awoke from his induced coma he

then had the monumental task of recovery and

learning to live life as an amputee in the civilian

world!

In 2016 Clive was awarded the ‘2016

Inspirational Award’, at the Soldiering on

Through Life Trust, which is a national recognition

award for the Armed Forces Community.

In 2017 Clive also took part in the Invictus

Games in Canada as captain of the

Wheelchair Rugby Team.

His challenge this year, as part of the SAFVBC

Team is to boldly go where no other above

knee, double amputee has gone before – Over

the Top of the O2.

You can read more about Clive and his inspirational

journey on his website www.letsgetlegs.co.uk

where you’ll see that nothing

slows him down too much.

The other members of the team were also facing

their own challenges on the day. Some

had fears of heights, some disabling illnesses,

some showed that age was just a number, as

our eldest member at 81 years young conquered

the O2 like he was still a teenager.

The start of the climb was one of the toughest

parts, the heat made it much harder.

For Clive it was especially tough as he had to

hold onto the guideline and then navigate his

safety line through a small metal gate attached

to the guideline. He had 88 of these gates to

get though. It was tough going and at times

Clive was literally using his hands to haul himself

up the dome on the path.

The camaraderie within the team was incredible.

Everyone spurring and cheering each

other on.

At the top of the dome, with beautiful blue

skies, we took in the superb views across

London.

We took time to take photos and had a little

relief against the heat due to a slight breeze.

We flew the flags from the top for the AFVBC

network, SAFVBC and for Blesma. The flags

were donated to us by Newton Newton Flags.

Clive became the first above knee, double

amputee to climb the O2.

Before we went down the other side Katy

Newby woke up the Capital as she played

Reveille on her bugle, another first for the O2.

Going down the dome was slightly tougher,

especially for Clive who was being bounced

around by the rest of us. The path over the O2

is like a rubber trampoline so at one point we

stopped behind Clive, so that he could get

ahead of us, away from the bouncing.

The smiles from everyone as the took their

final steps off the dome were dazzling.

The sense of achievement obvious!

It was a great team effort by all.

We rounded the day off with a meal before

heading to the Union Jack Club for the night

to celebrate out great achievement together.

| 38 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

| 38 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


Veterans Breakfast Clubs

Our initial target to raise £5,000 has so far

been exceeded at over £8,500 the team are

now pushing to make £10,000

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the

team can find our Just Giving page via this link

and they will be able to choose which team

member’s Just Giving page to donate to

https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/saf

vbc

The Shrewsbury branch of Armed Forces &

Veterans Breakfast Club (AFVBC) was founded

by WRAF Veteran Amanda Cundall in March

2016 and is currently run with the help of 12

administrators.

Meeting twice a month, the club members are

a mixture of veterans of all ages, from all arms

of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, as well as

serving members and their families who get

together for breakfast and a healthy portion of

military banter.

As well as breakfast gatherings the SAFVBC

get together for quiz nights, Summer BBQ’s,

Armed Forces Day events, Christmas Parties

and various other events throughout the year.

Last year at our venue we held a surprise

medal presentation for our eldest member,

Reg Steventon, who at 98 years old was

awarded the L’egion D’honneur after Amanda

secretly applied for it on Reg’s behalf when

she spotted that he was eligible for it from

some service records that he had. Sadly, Reg

passed away just 3 months after receiving his

medal but when he recounted the day he said

that “it was the best day of his life”.

The beauty of the AFVBC’s is their simplicity.

There are no complicated joining procedures,

no apologies are expected if a member cannot

make a gathering, no dress codes but best of

all is that they are completely free to join!

The aim of the AFVBC’s is to bring veterans

together in a safe, relaxed environment where

they can make new friends and meet up with

old ones over a tasty breakfast whilst swapping

stories.

To some the AFVBC’s have provided a lifeline,

especially as so many veterans, upon leaving

the Armed Forces experience isolation and

loneliness. Many suffering in silence with

PTSD, not knowing where to go for help.

Recently we have been recognised as a support

group by the Armed Forces Covenant

alongside SAFFA and RBL, which

is a great leap forward for the

organisation which is also registered

as a CIC (Community

Interest Company)

For anyone wishing to join the

Shrewsbury branch of AFVBC

please contact us via our website

www.shrewsburyafvbc.co.uk or

you can find us on Facebook

here. Click Link

To find your local branch of AFVBC simply log

on to www.afvbc.net and type in your town.

There are currently around 260 AFVBC’s

worldwide.

The SAFVBC would like to thank Toby Cavery,

not only for their support of the Armead Forces

Community but for their sponsorship of the

Shrewsbury Armed Forces & Veterans

Breakfast Club Team ‘Going Over the Top’.

Also huge thanks to Newton Newton Flags

and to Blesma for their support in organising

this event. Special thanks to Molly and Brian.

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 39 |


Information

A word from the Ed

Who’s bright idea was it for me to

go trapsing over a Welsh

mountain at my age? Oh yeah,

mine! I think I’ve covered the

launch of OP WAMITS in the

Tommy Atkins section so I won’t

bore you with any more details of

pain and glory. Ok, it wasn’t that

bad but so far, it seems myself,

Jane and Dr Jonathan Leach are

the only ones to have walked for

OP Wamits. Come on folks, we

need you to let veterans in your

area know where they can get

help. Just walk a mile around

your local park or through town,

anywhere. Just walk a mile!

Ok, ear bending over. Now to a

serious point. I’m sure I don’t

have to tell the readers of this

publication that we have a

problem in the UK at the moment

with Veterans committing suicide.

As far as we can tell there have

been 23 known deaths so far.

Lord knows how many are going

unreported and it has also now

been reported that the MoD are

not keeping any form of record

but hey, take a look at SBT Issue

19 from May 2016 (Yes, two

years ago) we made a point of

this which went mostly ignored.

Surprising how that one has come

back around. We can’t do

anything about the actions of the

MoD or the Government and I

refuse to get involved with the

blame culture but what I can do is

ensure that I do everything within

my power to make sure Veterans

know where to go to get the help

they need. Hence, throughout this

issue, I have put the ‘Get Help

Now’ blue banner all over the

place. No apologies for that one,

in fact, spread it about folks, you

may save someones life.

I think I’ve waffled on enough for

Keep up to date with our news

programme each day with Jimbo

and enjoy the sunshine while we

have it. Have a great Summer,

take care Pabs x

The Bloody Things I Do For Charity!”

Ways to find us

The Sandbag Times

www.sandbagtimes.com

thesandbagtimes

@thesandbagtimes

info@sandbagtimes.com

A Song For A Hero

Please download this album free of

charge, but I would like to ask you to make

a small donation to Danny Johnston’s Just

Giving link on Page 11.

Click here to access the album

| 40 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


Information

The Battle Within

By Neil Spencer

Thought

provoking and

gripping, the battle

within is an

excellent read". Matt

Johnson, author of

best seller Wicked

Game. Synopsis...

"Neil you've

experienced more

emotional stress in

the space of 2 years

than the average

person would

experience over a

lifetime. The fact that

you can still function is

testament to your

strength of character".

Came the words from the

doctor. 21st April 2004. A

day Neil will never forget. A young

fit soldier, he was on his first

combat tour as a member of the

mortar platoon in the 1st Royal

Welch Fusiliers when he was

caught up in one of the worst

suicide bomb attacks the British

faced during the Iraq campaign.

Camp Chindit, a small military

base located just outside Basra

was the scene of 2 deadly car

bombs that left 11 dead and

many more seriously wounded.

Blown 5 metres by the blast

and hit by shrapnel. Neil was

medically evacuated back to

the UK for treatment, but soon

realized like many others, the

real battle had only just

begun. This is the inspiring

true story of a mind that

cannot be broken

A Song For A Hero

For Danny

Please download this free and if you like it,

donate a few quid to Danny Johnston’s

JustGiving page on page 11.

Inside RAF Brize Norton

Acompelling ‘inside view’ of the

Royal Air Force at their largest

base in the world. A 7 x 60min

observational documentary series with

unbridled access – never before granted by

the MoD. We spent six months with the men

and women based at RAF Brize Norton as

they flew around the world to destinations

including Afghanistan, Cyprus and The

Falklands; delivering troops, cargo and

dealing with emergency situations worldwide.

Back issues of The Sandbag Times are available to download here

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 41 |


MRS FOX GOES TO WAR

Mrs Fox Goes

To War...

The Chronicles of Little Hope

1939 - 1945

Villager of the month:

May Day

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

advice.

“Stepping out with a new young man proved

jolly confusing to May at first and to be honest,

a visit to Hilda Ffinch didn't really help matters

much...”

You can catch up with the adventures of May

Day at

https://www.mrsfoxgoestowar.co.uk/may-day

This month’s letter comes from Miss Barbara

Knockers, and it’s all about fashion. Slightly

disconcertingly, Hilda’s on hand with her usual

brand of sage advice...

The younger of the two Day girls, May lived

with her mother Holly and sister Dee in one of

Hilda Ffinch's 'Grace and Favour' residences at

the entrance to the rather grand Ffinch country

estate. A bit of a wild one, as the saying goes,

May did mean well when she joined the ARP

but experienced technical difficulties when it

came to the old 'lipstick or whistle first?' conundrum.

That said, May could always be relied

upon to keep scurvy from the door by charming

oranges from sailors, lemons from soldiers and

the very best bananas from the fly boys. ...

| 42 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


THE CHRONICLES OF LITTLE HOPE

Letter of the Month

Dear Ms Ffinch,

I am having difficulty in finding an adequately

fitting brassiere on account of my fuller figure

and rather large bosoms. Sourcing ladies

undergarments is becoming more of an issue

by the day.

Could you recommend a regiment who might

gave a few yards of parachute material to

help keep my modesty?

Desperately yours

Miss Barbara Knockers

Dear Miss Knockers,

I’m not at all sure, my dear, that the Parachute

Regiment has enough silk in its arsenal to cover

your assets this side of VE Day. Without wishing

to be overtly personal, I was on hand to witness

the hullabaloo caused at the greengrocers on

Thursday last when you inadvertently took out

two crates of Webb’s Wonder lettuce and poor

Mr Augustus Peabody on account of your sizeable

bosom commandeering his shop counter

and tipping the scales in his general direction.

The poor man cracked his spectacles rather

badly, although there’s some conjecture as to

whether this happened spontaneously on noting

your approach or on account of his having come

a cropper, as it were, when suffering facial contact

with a 2lb brass weight.

That said, one does appreciate the difficulties

you must be facing and, after much thought, I

think I may have the answer, I am sending you

a parcel (second class) containing two old colanders

and the front flap of a khaki tent, the latter

having been kindly donated by the Little Hope

Girl Guides (Beaver Patrol) which will hopefully

enable them to attain their bush craft badges,

thereby killing two birds with one stone.

Obviously, canvas alone will not suffice to keep

your barrage balloons tethered to the lawn, as it

were, but with a little ingenuity and some garden

twine I think that you may yet have the brass

neck to appear in public again.

Now, obviously, one is aware that we are constantly,

as a country, being exhorted by the

Government to save our old pots and pans for

making spitfires, but Constable Clink assures me

that no action will be taken against you for reinforcing

a canvas brassiere with said colanders,

particularly as – in a tight corner – they might still be

used to strain the greens, as it were.

If I might just add a little fashion tip before finishing,

do think on and remove the base of each colander

before covering them with said charitably donated

fabric, otherwise you may inadvertently adopt the

aspect of a dreadnought about to fire a couple of

broadsides.

I do hope this helps.

Yours,

Hilda Ffinch

The Bird With All The Answers

Dear Mrs Ffinch,

Recently, during a charity tea party which I held

for the local ‘Saucepans for Spitfires’ campaign, I

was disconcerted to receive a number of complaints

about the crab paste sandwiches which I

carefully cut and served up on my best china tea

plates. I don’t mean to complain but there is a

war on and times are hard, and I’m quite hurt that

some of the villagers saw fit to spit rather than

swallow, as it were.

Where did I go wrong?

Yours dejectedly,

Mrs Winifred Slack

Dear Mrs Slack,

I myself attended your slightly unusual soiree, might I

suggest that you purchase your crab paste from the

fishmonger’s next time rather than the chemist?

Yours (still gargling with Jeyes Fluid),

Hilda Ffinch

The Bird With All The Answers

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

Answers to address your own wartime problem,

then pop along to https://www.mrsfoxgoestowar.co.uk/hilda-finch-agony-aunt

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

Times.

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 43 |


Poetry Pages

By Mike Woods

Given that we are in the throes of the hottest summer

since 1976, it seems appropriate to consider

poetry associated with the season. Shakespeare’s

sonnet number eighteen is a fine example of writing

in that form and is one of his most popular. It follows

the rhyme scheme he established - three quatrains

and a couplet with an abab cdcd efef gg pattern.

Sonnet XVIII

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course,

untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare, (1564 - 1616)

The central opposition in the poem is the conflict

between death am immortality, while its simple message

is that a work of art can immortalise its subject.

The object of the persona’s love is immortalised

in the lines of the poem. The second line is

quite typically hyperbolic in the Petrarchan mode,

summer being presented as unpredictable in comparison

to the lover. The Elizabethan preoccupation

with mutability is felt strongly throughout. In the

kinetic flux of life, we seek permanence. Beauty is

fleeting in relationship to eternity but it can be captured

by the permanence of a poem.

Great art, of course, will also outlive the artist.

Shakespeare shows supreme confidence in his

work. Four hundred and two years after his death in

1516, those of us who are breathing and who have

‘eyes to see’ are still reading the poem so he was

clearly justified in writing what he did.

Characteristic of a great writer is the ability to both

assimilate and challenge tradition, and

Shakespeare certainly does this in the opening line

of this sonnet. Rather than launch into a paroxysm

of direct praise in comparing the lover to a summer’s

day, Shakespeare chooses to open the poem

in the form of a question. Being acutely aware that

love poems in the Petrarchan tradition feature poets

hyperbolically gushing in unqualified praise of the

lover using extravagant comparisons, Shakespeare

apparently subverts this by asking whether or not

the object of the persona’s love is worthy of being

likened to a summer’s day. The second line,

though, leaves us in no doubt that the speaker is

very much besotted with the object of his love,

being ‘more lovely and more temperate’ - exceeding

its beauty and being neither too hot or too cold.

He admires the beauty and balance of his beloved

| 44 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk


POETRY CORNER

in contrast to the summer which can be excessively hot

when ‘the eye of heaven’ (a marvellous metaphor for the

sun) blazes at its height or disappointingly cold when

cloud covers its ‘gold complexion’. Beauty in all things

will fade and die but the persona argues that his lover’s

beauty will never do so, hijacking the short-lived season

itself by transforming into a metaphorical ‘eternal summer’.

Unlike the short ‘lease’ the summer has on beauty,

the lover well and truly owns the freehold, living forever

in the memory through the sonnet, a form that Charles

Tennyson Turner called ‘a moment’s monument’.

The summer is often seen by the press as the silly season

but some would argue that this is simply an extension

of the winter of discontent that began in

November 2016 when the election of Donald Trump

seemed about as likely as the discovery of a flying dodo

or water on Mars. One thing is for sure, this summer will

be eternal in the memory for all kinds of reasons.

DISCOVERY OF THE DODO’S BLACK BOX IN-FLIGHT

RECORDER

Truth – What is that? (Pontius Pilate)

If you are hearing this, I could well be dead,

so listen. I got the better of all birds,

the ones who laughed at me, the ones who said

my name is Portugese for crazy, nerds

who claimed it’s Dutch for lazy. Soft in the head

doves of San Francisco, charmed by his words,

preached peace, praised sun and moon. I broke bread

with them. They sang their songs in modal thirds. I

waddled as they trilled, and watched them soar into the

blue above my head, green pain

came pounding. It was then I knew the score.

I had to make Mauritius great again,

fit myself for flight, like my folks before.

Unlike a certain Disney duck, I’m real,

survived a flood of tears. That saved some face.

In Wonderland I won the Caucus race

and let you know to show I have appeal.

Half the lies they tell you are not true;

I flapped my dodo’s wings, and then I flew.

Michael Woods

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:

mike@sandbagtimes.com

URBAN PRINTS

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,

Worcester

WR1 2RA

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www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 45 |


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ORDER ONLINE: www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

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