The Sandbag Times Issue No: 48


The Veterans Magazine

The Veterans’ Magazine Issue 48 | October 2018



Vamos Theatre Launches

Exciting New Project As ‘A

Brave Face’ Returns To

The Stage

SBT News Update

Plus all The Latest National &

International News from the

Armed Forces & Veterans’ World

Proud Sponsors of

The Veterans Awards

Supporting #abraveface


SBT News

4 Veteran Jailed in Turkey

A UK Veteran who fought

ISIS has been jailed

5 Veterans Report

1000’s of Veterans

Homeless on in Prison

5 SAS Soldiers Aquitted

Brecon Beacon Deaths

Soldiers Case Thrown Out

6 Israel Blamed For

Shooting Down Plane

Russia Accuses Israel over 15

deaths in accidental incident


9 Ask Kerry

Brand new advice on CV

and Careers

18 Combat Stress

All the latest from the

Veterans Mental Health


22 A Brave Face

The return of the hit play

plus a new initiative


12 Historic Tommy Atkins

Shackleton Barracks

Mrs Fox Goes To War

More from the Villagers in Little Hope...

The Veterans’ Magazine Issue 48 | October 2018

27 Have Faith


38 SBT Information

A page dedicated to back

issues, information, book

reviews etc

40 Mrs Fox Goes To War

All the latest gossip and

letters from Little Hope



Vamos Theatre Launches

Exciting New Project As ‘A

Brave Face’ Returns To

The Stage

SBT News Update

Plus all The Latest National &

International News from the

Armed Forces & Veterans’ World

Proud Sponsors of

The Veterans Awards

Supporting #abraveface

Issue 48

Editor: Pablo Snow

Magazine Manager: Matt Jarvis

Patron: Matt Neal

Honourary Patron:

Jacqueline Hurley

Additional editors:

Albert ‘Robbie’ McRobb

Jane Shields

Peter Macey

Mike Woods

News Media Manager

Jim Wilde

Recording Engineer and PR


Vince Ballard




SBT NEWS October Edition

British Veteran Jailed in Turkey For

8 Years For Fighting ISIS With YPG

By Blackpool Gazette

A former British Army soldier from

Lancashire who fought against the Islamic

State terror group in Syria has been sentenced

to nearly eight years in jail in


Joe Robinson, 25, was arrested on holiday

accused of fighting the Islamists alongside

the People's Protection Units of Syrian

Kurdistan (YPG), which the Turkish state is

hostile towards. Robinson, formerly of

Accrington, Lancashire, was sentenced to

seven years and six months in prison, but

he reportedly remains on bail while planning

an appeal. He has previously admitted

fighting IS but went on to deny he

acted alongside the Kurdish militia, considered

by Turkey as a terror organisation

because of its links to the Kurdistan

Workers' Party which is fighting for autonomy

for the region. Read More Here

GET HELP NOW: Rewind @ Tommy Atkins Centre

| 4



SBT NEWS October Edition

By INews

Thousands of Veterans Homeless or in Prison

More than 60,000 armed

forces veterans in the

UK have broken the law,

are homeless or are suffering

mental health

problems, a study has


The scale of their struggle

to adjust to civilian life

brought accusations that

ministers were failing men

and women who had

risked their lives for their

country. According to the

analysis, some 50,000 are

coping with mental health

conditions, 10,000 are in

prison, on parole or on

probation and 6,000 have

no permanent address.

Plaid Cymru, which compiled

the figures through

parliamentary questions,

academic research and

military charities, said the

actual figures were likely

to be far higher. Liz Saville

Roberts, its justice

spokeswoman, said the

party had been campaigning

for better care for veterans

for a decade. “Our

research shows that the

problem is still rife, and the

Government needs to start

taking its duty of care seriously,”

she said. Ministers

have disclosed that more

than 25,000 veterans

received mental health

treatment in 2016-17, but

the Mental Health

Foundation says only half

ask for help, implying there

are 50,000 former military

personnel with mental

health issues. Read more

SAS Soldiers Aquitted Over

Brecon Beacons Fatalities

Two SAS servicemen have

been acquitted at a court

martial of negligence over a

Brecon Beacons march in

which three reservists died,

after a judge ruled they had

no case to answer.

Corporal James Dunsby, from

Wiltshire, Lance Corporal

Craig Roberts from

Llandudno and Lance

Corporal Edward Maher from

Winchester, died from heat

illness on the SAS selection

march in July 2013. The three

army reservists were among

78 aspiring recruits taking part

in a 16-mile trek through the

Brecon Beacons, carrying

loads of more than 22kg, on

what turned out to be the

hottest day of the year. Two

men, known only as Cipher

1A and Cipher 1B, faced a

court martial at Bulford

Barracks, accused of

'negligently performing a duty'

by failing to take reasonable

care for the health and safety

of the candidates taking part.

Read more here

Story: ITV

Veteran Apologises Over Train Suicide Attempt

Story: The Metro

A former soldier who

survived a suicide attempt

has said sorry to people who

witnessed him trying to take

his own life by jumping in

front of a train.

Perry Tatler, 29, who

previously served as part of the

Princess of Wales’s Royal

Regiment, kissed his two

young children goodbye for

what he believed was for the

last time before heading to the

train station. He now hopes

that his survival encourages

others to seek help if they feel

suicidal. Five months on he is

still in hospital having

sustained a broken back,

shoulder and ribs, and a bleed

on the brain. He is walking

again with the aid of crutches

and a back brace, and now

feels ready to thank those who

helped him. Perry said: ‘When

you get that low you feel like

you’ve got no other choice.

That’s how the demons make

you feel. ‘It sounds really bad

but I don’t regret doing it as

it’s made me appreciate life

more. Read more here 5 |



SBT NEWS October Edition

Russia Blames Israel After Syria Accidentally Shoots Down Plane: 15 Dead

RUSSIA has promised

retaliation after Israeli

airstrikes created a

“dangerous situation” by

performing random

attacks in Syria, resulting

in a Soviet reconnaissance

plane being accidentally

shot down by Syrian Air

Defence systems.

The aircraft, which was

used for electronic

surveillance, disappeared

from radar screens over

Syria at about 8PM BST

(11pm local time) on

Monday. It happened

Colin Maclachlan, a former

member of the SAS, says he has

lost count of the number of military

veterans who have taken their own

lives. When asked for a rough

number he replies “hundreds,

hundreds over the last ten years”.

Mr Maclachlan and Calum

MacLeod, a former King’s Own

Scottish Borders veteran, set up

the charity Who Dares Cares to

help veterans and members of the

emergency services who are

struggling with post traumatic

stress disorder (PTSD). They did

this because they were continually

talking to veterans or chatting on

Facebook and social media to

those who were reaching out to

them, and then discovering they

had taken their lives. Mr

Maclachlan, 44, from South

Queensferry near Edinburgh, who

joined the Royal Scots when he

was aged 15 and completed 18

years’ service, including seven in

around the same time Israeli

and French forces were

launching targeted strikes in

Syria. According to the

Russian defence ministry,

15 people were on board the

I1-29 turbo prop plane at the

time of its disappearance.

But on Tuesday morning,

following the French

military denying

involvement in the plane’s

disappearance, RIA news

agency reported the

Kremlin has accused Israeli

aircraft of deliberately

creating a “dangerous”

situation. Read more

By Daily Express

‘I’ve lost count of the military veterans who

have taken their own lives’ says SAS Veteran

the SAS, said: “Me and Cammy

were getting affected. “We

couldn’t cope with the amount of

people. I couldn’t physically cope

with the volume. “We would be

talking to seven or eight a day –

individuals and mutual friend,

clubs and societies, and then

finding out that one had

committed suicide. “There are too

many veterans have taken their

own lives for it not to be related to

PTSD and veterans who’ve seen

traumatic service. “It only seems

to be when it involves a celebrity,

like someone on ‘Love Island’ that

it makes the news. “But we have

literally hundreds of veteran

suicides every year and that

doesn’t get in the news.” Mr

Maclachlan, who emerges as the

main star of Channel 4’s ‘SAS:

Who Dares Wins’ in 2015, where

recruits were put through Special

Forces selection tests, applied to

join the SAS and was accepted at

his first attempt, aged 23. More

Story: INews

GET HELP NOW: Text Combat Stress

07537 404719

| 6

An old Westland Lynx helicopter has been

transformed into holiday accommodation.

The aircraft is based on the site of the former

RAF Wainfleet bombing range in


Owner Will Roughton said the accommodation,

which comes with a TV

and mini fridge, was attracting a

lot of interest from all ages.

He said he was now considering

buying a tank which could be

driven during the day and slept

in at night. His latest project

"took off" after he found an old

helicopter for sale in Ipswich.

He said his idea had been a hit

with all ages, despite it being

"mainly for the kids". "I thought it

was just my immature mind but

seemingly not," he said.

He is also considering converting a World

War Two fire engine.

The RAF Wainfleet bombing range, which

closed in 2009, opened to aircraft in 1938

and was used throughout World War Two.

Before then, it had been used by Army

artillery regiments as far back as 1890.


Farmer Converts Lynx Into Holiday Home

The farmer said his next project

would involve a tank and possibly

"a DVLA course to add a tank

to your driving licence".


Read More Here

Are you:

A Service Veteran?

Aged 65 or over?

A family member or carer

of the above?

If so, you could bene 昀 t from the

support of a DMWS Welfare O cer

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

Armed Forces Community during medical treatment since 1943

We are here to help, contact your local Welfare O

cer today:

A Guide to Medical Welfare Services

for Health Care Professionals, Organisations

and Support Workers

Caring For Those Who Serve – Frontline To Recovery

Supported by the Aged Veterans Fund

funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR Funds.

DMWS Registered Charity number:

England: 1087210 | Scotland: SCO45460 7 |



With Jim Wilde

Hi Folks, and welcome to

this months media scribble!

I would like to thank everyone

for the support they are

giving to the magazine and

Video News Updates. Our

reader/viewer numbers continue

to climb, and we are very humbled.

It has been a couple of months since we moved

from audio to video news updates, and the

reception and feedback has been great. The

platform is a very stable one, and the only weak

point is the presenter.....(cough). But I will work

on that. The numbers have doubled since the

transition, so we think we are moving in the right

direction, and with your help and support we

can mould it to the service it needs to be.

One of the topics that raises its head at regular

intervals, is the problems veterans have when

trying to access NHS services such as their GP,

as there is some confusion in this area. Here is

a little info that should help clarify the situation.

Your GP will have to know this info if you are a

Veteran as it gives priority access to service

related conditions with the NHS. These are the

codes that have to be input from the GP side:

13JI: Military veteran

13JY: History relating to military service

13q0: History relating to Army service

13q1: History relating to Royal Navy service

13q2: History relating to Royal Air Force service

13q3: Served in armed forces

Whilst the Armed Forces Covenant is not ideal, it

is all we have at the moment. Use it.

The Suicide issue is still with us, and will continue

to be so. We have lost another 2 brothers

since the last issue. However, the awareness

has been raised, and from the many sites

around the net, it has become evident that a lot

more attention is being paid to this, and rightfully

so. The MOD has issues a booklet giving

advice and information, which is another step in

the right direction.

With BREXIT looming, folks are curious as to

how it will affect our Armed Forces, and what is

happening about the so called "European Army".

We will do some research, and address that in a

future issue.

We are always looking at new ways to bring you

news and information, and we would love to

involve you directly in this. How would you like

to feature in the magazine, or even be on one of

the "Live" news broadcasts?

Are you involved in, or working on something

that could make a difference to our

Soldiers/Veterans lives? If so, then we want to

hear from you. There are a number of ways you

can do this. Firstly, head to our main website - Click the subscribe

button (if you haven't already), and leave your

contact details and any relevant information

there. Secondly, head over to our Facebook

Page at

which is where all the news and views

and videos are posted, and mesage us from

there. You can also contact us on Twitter by

using - @Sandbagtimes.

If you would rather hit us up direct, then use the

following emails:

That's it for this month folks, as always, look out

for each other. Wherever you are, whoever you

are with, take time out to lift your head and take

a look around. You never know, there might be

a brother looking for help.

Thank you as always for you ongoing support,

and for keeping the magazine alive. Without

you it could not happen.



0800 731 4880

| 8


Ask Kerry...

Let her help you to open doors

Linkedin: Kerry Dedman BA PGCE

‘This summer has been astonishing for job

interviews. What really pleases me is how

many of the interviews have been secured for

non-advertised vacancies. Many years ago I

was told 80% of jobs are never advertised.

At that time I had no idea if that figure was a

random one picked from thin air. I now

realise the information is correct. This summer

[July, August and up to mid-September],

my mil and ex-mil CV clients have accrued

over 100 job interviews. Hasten to add this is

not 100 individuals but the accumulated figure

of first, second and third round interviews.

Of these a comfortable 80% were for jobs not

formally advertised.

How come? They have all done the following/

1. Network, Network, Network. Have a plan,

get yourself known, join appropriate social

media groups and of course phone me up

and go ‘Kerrrrrrrrry………..’. This is not an

ad-hoc approach. They have thought with

care and put their thoughts into acts.

2. Research, Research, Research. Take

time to get to know the Company you would

like to work for. Do not just rely upon their

Company web page.

The company know they have

a potential employee who has

shown tenacity, enthusiasm,

hard work and determination.

The right attitude. First

impressions matter. My alumni

are ‘smashing it’. I am

always proud.

Traditionally, high summer has

always been a quiet period.

Not this year and certainly not

with the calibre of my mil and

ex-mil CV clients.

Although I now have a ‘Pavlovian’ reflex to a

curved yellow fruit………’

The above article is the September Blog for

my website’. I

have reproduced it for The Sandbag Times

A] Want more people to read it

B] The ‘Ask Kerry’ Problem Page will be

answering your queries directly.

This Advice and Guidance Column is intended

for people preparing for transition, going

through transition and beyond. All emails

will be read. Some will appear in The

Sandbag Times. [Identity withheld]

3. Make polite contact and show enthusiasm.

It is far better to spend several hours on diligent

research than spend the same amount

of time sending out hundreds of speculative

‘pebble dash’ emails. You are wanting to create

a good impression so to achieve that you

need to plan well.

The above approach works. I am aware of 48

job offers since 1st July.

GET HELP NOW: Combat Stress

0800 138 1619 9 |

when he was collected by Rob Austin, breaking

his rear suspension and sending him to

the back of grid for Race 2 with early retirement.

Dan produced a strong display to close

out the top ten when the flag waved.

Round Nine: Silverstone

Following Snetterton Success, Rockingham proves to

be a round to forget

A tough weekend for the team, which ultimately

culminated in Dan securing the first

Silverware of the season – The Jack Sears


Qualifying showed how close the weekend

was going to be, with the top 29 cars covered

by just over 8 tenths of a second. Matt qualified

P6 (+0.167s) and Dan in P11 (+0.274s).

Matt’s weekend was derailed early in Race 1

Race 2 saw Dan run the mandatory option

hard tyre, not the favourable shoes to have

on yesterday. He managed the car brilliantly

to cross the line 15, while Matt surged from

the back of the grid to close the race in P14.

Race 3 is where we had some fun. With both

Matt & Dan on the optimum tyre they were

able to work together to break into the top

ten and finish 7th and 8th respectively.

We’ve consolidated 2nd in the Teams’ classification

for Honda, and sit third in the manufacturers’

Championship – so hopefully we’ll

have some more silverware to add to Dan’s

JST win.

Matt Neal on Silverstone

“It has been a positive end to a weekend that

could have delivered a lot more.

Unfortunately, the incident in race one set the

scene for the remainder of the day and the

fact it was entirely out of our control just

makes it all the more frustrating. Nonetheless,

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

| 10


we worked hard as a team to get the car ready for race two

and it’s satisfying to race back into the points from the back

of the grid. We carried that momentum into race three as

myself and Dan worked our way through the traffic. If there

were a few more laps available I am confident we would have

taken at least three more places. On a positive note, the Civic

Type-R felt quick all weekend so I am already looking ahead

to the final round at Brands Hatch where the Halfords Yuasa

Racing team will look to end the season on a high!”

Dan Cammish on Silverstone:

“It’s terrific to seal the Jack Sears Trophy in my rookie BTCC

season. The drivers that have won the title in previous years

have gone on to achieve great things so I hope this will be the

first of many big BTCC trophies with my name on! As for the

event overall, it was a tough day at the office but with plenty

of positives to take away. I don’t think we did very much

wrong this weekend but the small margins of the BTCC

around a circuit with only four corners worked against us at

the crucial moments. Nonetheless, when we get the Civic

Type-R into its sweet spot as we did in race three then it

shows how competitive we can be, which only makes me

more determined to prove it at the final round.”

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Standings: Matt Neal 9th - 188pts Dan Cammish 11th - 176 pts Halfords Yuasa Racing 3rd - 345 pts Honda 2nd - 673pts

Pabs On Silverstone: Racing and Teamwork at

its Very Finest.

Huge disappointment for the SBT team, purely because we

were meant to be at Silverstone over the weekend but a

media issue messed that up for us. But let’s not bring

things down with that, lets look at the action on the black


Bum firmly planted on my sofa, dog fed and watered and

snoozing happily, it was time for qualifying to begin. I have

to say Matt was on it from the word go. He was bloody

quick throughout. But there was a lot of the master craftsman

at work especially getting out on to the track just at the

right moment to have the best

chance of a quick time. I have to

admit to being a little bit of a spotterin

watching the live timing

screens on the BTCC website so I

was getting all the info as it happened.

So cool!!

field from the back to 14th with Dan just behind in 15th. I

have a feeling the team work was beginning here.

Race three was nothing short of magical as both drivers

worked together to maximise points. But the speed of both

drivers made me wonder if Mr Austin hadn’t busted Matt’s

suspension, whether there would have been more silverwear

on offer. But there was no doubt in anyones mind that

the Honda Civic R (FK8) is a very competitive machine with

two top class drivers in the cockpit both very capable of

winning lots of races, although we will have to wait for next

season for the next title hunt. On a final note, a huge well

done to young Dan for winning the Jack Sears trophy in his

first BTCC season. A very impressive first year...

Anyway Matt finished Qualies in 7th

with Dan just a blink away in 11th.

So on Sunday, back to the sofa,

dog walked, fed and watered, Jane

walked, fed and watered, on to the


Race one very quickly ended in

disaster for Matt when he was

knocked off through no fault of his

own by Rob Austin which put him

to the back of the grid on race two.

Dan, on the other hand came

home in 10th. Race two was a

cracker for Matt cutting through the

Photo: Jokob Ebrey 11 |



Today, 20th September marks

the Liberation of Nijmegan

from German in 1944

The city of Nijmegen played an

important role in Operation Market

Garden. With two bridges across the

Waal river it was vital for the Allied advance

towards Arnhem and Germany later on. On 20

September 1944 U.S. troops managed to

capture both bridges and liberate the city.

The city of Nijmegen played an important role

in Operation Market Garden. With its two

bridges across the Waal river (the main branch

of the Rhine), control of the city was vital for

the planned push towards Arnhem and

Germany. On 17 September the first attempt

was made to capture the two bridges by units

of the American 82nd Airborne Division that

were dropped around the nearby village of

Groesbeek. The American forces managed to

get within 400 metres of the Waal bridge but

were then thrown back by German forces. The

next day another attack was initiated, but

again the paratroopers were unable to secure

the bridge.

On 19 September the ground forces of the

30th Corps made contact with the airborne

units in Grave. A combined attack to secure

the bridges was made, this time with tank

support from the Guards Armoured Division.

Again the Allied advance was halted just

before the bridges. By this time the German

forces had received reinforcements from the

10th SS Panzer Division and put up stiff

resistance. It was becoming clear that the

bridges could not be stormed. The plan was

made to attack the bridges from both sides at

the same time. This would mean putting

forces across the river in boats. On 20

September units from the 82nd Airborne

crossed the river under murderous enemy fire.

They managed to establish a beachhead on the

northern bank of the Waal and from this small

foothold they eventually were able to storm

and capture the bridges of Nijmegen and

liberate the city.

| 12


Patron to The Tommy Atkins Centre

The Tommy Atkins Centre

Tommy Atkins Centre October

This last month has flown by.

The air has cooled

considerably over the past

month, and with the

cooler weather now here

my thoughts go out to

our Brothers and Sisters

everywhere who may

find themselves

struggling day to day.

I would urge everyone to

be vigilant and look out for

each other. If you haven’t

seen or heard from a friend

for a few days please give them

a call, or knock on their door to

say hello. Don’t assume they are okay

until you know firsthand that they are, and if

they need a helping hand let them know you’re

there for them, and tell them about the different

organisations available to offer them some support.

Combat stress, SSAFA, The Royal British Legion,

a local veteran centre such as ours are all here to

assist. Make the call for them if, or offer to go

along with them for support. And most importantly

if they are suffering from mental health issues urge

them to contact their GP and try to make sure they

do so.

Here at The Tommy Atkins Centre we’ve recently

managed to secure some accommodation for

another homeless veteran on the very same day

we found him. We accompanied him to our local

council and within hours he was offered temporary

accommodation in a local Travel Lodge until

something more permanent could be found for him.

No veteran should be left out on the streets, and

we’re here to make sure that in Worcester at least

this doesn’t happen.

We’ve had some fantastic positive feedback from

veterans with PTSD trying out The Rewind

Technique with Dr Muss here at The Tommy Atkins

Centre. It’s great to see the difference it’s making

to those who try it. If you are interested in giving it

a go yourself, please contact us here and we will

arrange an appointment for you with Dr Muss.

We’ve had a very busy month at the centre,

Combat Stress have been in regular attendance

carrying out one to one meetings with clients, and

also running a peer support group monthly. And

everyone is welcome to call in for a cuppa and a

chat if in the area. Bring your partner along too.

Come and see if we can offer you any advice or

assistance, or just come along and have some

banter with us. You’re always very welcome.

Until next month stay safe out there, and please

look out for each other.

Fund Raiser for The Tommy

Atkins Centre @ Gurkha Trust

Set To Rock Worcester

The Tabot on the Tything in Worcester will be the venue of a

fundraising tribute night to raise funds for two worth-while military

charities later this month.

Entry to the event is free although The Talbot will be asking for

a £4.00 donation for the food being supplied, all proceeds

going to Charity.

The entertainment will include The Jazz Singers (as pictured)

with Rat Pack tribute and our very own Pablo doing a Neil

Diamond Tribute. ‘Poor’ Bob Jones will also be showing off

his Blues skills alongside other performers.

Therewill be information on hand for services at the centre

including Combat Stress, SSAFA, the Rewind Therapy, NHS

TILS service plus lots more.

The event has been kindly organised by Ex-Guardsman Ken

Allen, Worcester Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club

who also works very hard with the Gurkha Trust helping less

fortunate adults and children in Nepal.

The evening wil be kicking off around 8:30pm and running

through until midnight. Hope to see you all there.

GET HELP NOW: Tommy Atkins Centre

01905 27825

| 14

For almost a century, the charity has helped

former servicemen and women deal with

trauma-related mental health problems such

as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic

stress disorder (PTSD). Over this time

Combat Stress has gained experience and

specialist knowledge which it now wants to

share with a wider audience.

Combat Stress launches

new mental health magazine

Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for

veterans’ mental health, has relaunched its

magazine which now aims to help anyone

struggling with mental health problems.

Available to download from the charity’s

website, the magazine Combat Stress features

interviews, lifestyle features and advice

on how to take good care of your mental


The autumn issue focuses on self-care and

includes tips on how to get a better night’s

sleep, a simple exercise to relax your mind, a

guide to how physical activity can help mental

wellbeing, and interviews with TV presenter

and journalist Susanna Reid and blogger

Emily Reynolds.

Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat

Stress, said:

The Combat Stress magazine has always

been a great way for us to showcase the

work we’re doing to transform the lives of

veterans who come to us for help. We made

the decision to relaunch our magazine as we

want to empower anyone living with PTSD or

other mental health problems, to help them

better understand and manage their conditions.

“We know that invisible illnesses can be just

as hard to cope with as physical ones and

we hope our new magazine will help to raise

awareness of mental health problems.”

Combat Stress worked with design company

Studio Texture, to review, develop and produce

its refreshed magazine.

Stuart Youngs, Creative Director at Studio

Texture, said:

“Public conscience and understanding

of mental health issues

is better than it's ever been. But

there's still a long way to go.

With Combat Stress, our opportunity

was to help further and

deepen this understanding with

an even broader audience.

“We didn't want to look like a

typical charity magazine, but we

also didn't want to stray too far

from the cause Combat Stress is

fighting for – because this gives

everything we advocate and

share within the magazine credibility

and authority our readers

can trust. After all, Combat

Stress has been dealing with the

extremes of mental health concerns,

across generations, for

almost 100 years.

“We're delighted with the outcome.

An insightful, accessible

and fresh way of tackling often

challenging subject matter, creating

a valuable resource for those

suffering with mental health, their

families and broader society.”

| 18



Talks are

on the hour,

every hour.

Come and 昀 nd out more about Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity

for veteran’s mental health.

Join us for a hot drink, a slice of cake and talks on how we support

veterans and the ways you can help.

Tuesday 16 October 2018


The Royal Maritime Club

78-80 Queen Street, Portsmouth, PO1 3HS

To 昀 nd out more please contact Sarah Seddon by calling

01372 587 144 or emailing

This is a fundraising event. If you are a veteran struggling with your mental health,

please contact our free 24-hour Helpline by calling 0800 138 1619, texting

07537 404 719 or emailing

Company registered in England and Wales No 256353, Charity No 206002, Charity Scotland No SC038828.


SBT Remembrance

100 Special Set To

Be A Sell Out

The Sandbag Times is

preparing to release a

Remembrance 100 Special

printed edition. The magazine

will cover the last 100

years since the end of the

First World War. The journey

will follow the Tale of

Remembrance including

many of the conflicts that the

British Forces have been

involved in.

The issue features the incredible

‘Remember and Reflect’

painting on the cover by War

Poppy Artist Jacqueline

Hurley. Jacqueline has also

written an article to commemorate

the occasion

along with other regular writers

such as Mrs Fox, Mike

Woods, our resident poet,

Peter Macey, our historian

plus a special editorial by

your truly.

Only 1000 copies will be produced

and will be on a first

come, first served basis.

Since the first announcement

of the magazine, many have

reserved their issues including

Veterans Breakfast Clubs

and many new subscribers

from the Port Out, Starboard

Home website.

If you would like to reserve

your issue, simply email us at

Each issue will cost £4.00

including P&P. Proceeds will

be donated to military charities

including the Tommy

Atkins Veterans Centre.



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,



GET HELP NOW: NHS England S/West

0300 365 0300

| 20

The Return of the Mask

After the huge success of the recent

nationwide tour, Vamos Theatre gives

Veterans an opportunity to get close

and personal with the masks before

heading off for a second tour. 21 |

A Brave Face is Back

But a new initiative preceeds

the return of the Silent Success

From the time I first saw ‘A Brave Face’ I

knew it was going to be a smash. How

on earth could something this good, not

be. I felt lucky to be invited to the first dress

rehearsal and to get so close and personal

with it, so when Rachael Savage, the creator

asked me to pop in to the Vamos Theatre HQ

for a coffee to discuss a new initiative, I was

naturally inquisitive and very excited.

One of the things that amazed me with the

show was the effect one mask could have and

how it can show so many emotions. I honestly

thought that the mask of Ryan (our soldier in

the show) changed from scene to scene but

no, it was the same one.

Anyway, Rachael told me that she was trialing

a workshop where Veterans could take a free

two-day workshop to create their own mask.

She had run a course with Help for Heroes

which produced some astounding results.

Veterans creating interpretations of themselves

in the most dramatic and powerful form.

Hidden emotion, injuries, pain, frustrations,

personalities, fun, cheekiness all came out in

the process.

Of course, these guys had full support

throughout the process, as you can imagine

there is a possibility that rew emotions could

be stirred.

So Rachael says “We are going to hold a twoday

workshop here in Worcester.” Wow, what

an opportunity. Instantly, the benefits of this

workshop was staring me right in the face.

Yes, we will have Combat Stress and the

Tommy Atkins Centre on hand to support veterans

along with a wash-up session at the end

of each day to ensure folks go home happy.

So what’s involved? As the ed of this magazine,

I’m not really in the right position to

explain so I shall let Rachael take over.

“I was a teenager in the 1980s, member of

CND, I plastered my bedroom wall with political

anti-war slogans and Meat is Murder, and

went on political rallies and marches. I was

angry. As a 13 year old girl I badgered my

mum relentlessly to take me on a coach to an

anti-nuclear war demonstration in Hyde Park.

““Dear mum, things are a bit

tough right now. But don’t

worry – I’m ok. I’ll tell you

about it when I get back.”

They asked us (thousands of people) to lie

down on the ground so that an overhead camera

from a circling helicopter could be take

photos of our bodies making the CND symbol.

Recently, I've lead a mask making residency

with soldiers and ex-soldiers at Colchester's

Help for Heroes headquarters as part of the

process of Research and Development for our

new production, A Brave Face. It's kicked my

ass, it's shaken my beliefs and preconceptions,

it even made me come home and tell my

14 year old son I wanted him to join Army

Cadets - not to inspire him to join the army, but

to bring a new idea of discipline, 'can do' attitude

and punctuality to his life (he told me

where to get off!).

So what shook me? I met several military/exmilitary

professionals. We made masks together

using heavy, noisy machinery. It's roll your

sleeves up, pummel clay, vac form and drill

activity... and they were SUPERB at it. I asked

for help unpacking the van and had Dave jump

in the back and start to pass stuff out in... well,

I can only describe it as, military fashion (bearing

in mind that I'm used to a more artistic

method!). And I'm usually precious and worried

about people's safety (ability really) to use

the machinery. This week, every participant

"pulled" their own mask in our vacuum former

and with all the jobs that I usually always do,

such as, the drilling of eye holes, I immediately

set them on instead. One of them pulled my

leg about using them as cheap labour, but

what I really saw was an incredible workforce.

We pulled an additional nine masks (for the

Mercury Youth Theatre) as well as their own in

record time, and they were all perfect. These

men were extraordinary- you give them

instructions, they listen and they replicate

exactly. Not only that, they quickly found the

most time efficient, accurate, effective way to

carry it out. I soon realised they were far better

equipped than me. I don't know why I was so

| 22


surprised, it's obvious when re-telling it- they

are military trained with decades of experience.

They are used to following orders; they

respond to clear instructions; they had pride in

their work and they wanted to succeed. They

work fast and efficiently AND they were

always, always on time! Well to be honest,

they were always at least five minutes early, so

ready to start, bang on time. What a joy. What

an eye opener. I have such respect for strong

work ethic and I was unashamedly excited

about theirs!

And that's the change that's happened in mea

complete respect for these men, these individuals,

and a belief in how being physically

productive is powerful. Yes, they are all at Help

for Heroes for a reason, in some form of recovery,

and obviously with some fragility, yet what

a simply brilliant group of men. After mask

making I shared with them the practise of

mask performance (fun) and they shared with

me some outrageous stories during their service

(much funnier). We talked about the

pranks, the drills, they taught me to stand to

attention ("That's a bit crap, Rach!"). And then

we talked; there are comments that are swimming

around my head, "I've seen such hatred",

"Good too can come from war... like penicillin",

"My mates back home don't want to hear my

stories." Well I do want to hear them. A Brave

Face must be accurate, reflect their experiences

and speak some truths. It must be a

story that speaks to soldiers and veterans and

doesn't let them down. A story that makes us

civvies question our perception when we see a

person in military uniform and to respect them

as we'd respect a doctor in scrubs. If nothing

else this week, I've learned how highly trained

and skilled these individuals are (for better or

for worse). Oh and another thing, I think our

actors should all have military training!

As we grow older, and hopefully wiser, we can

begin to see a more rounded picture of the

world - war is still repulsive and horrific and to

be avoided - but it may sometimes be necessary.

It can never be a good thing to engage in

carnage and bloodshed which almost always

involves the deaths of innocent civilians, and

often children, but I now believe strongly that

we should learn to respect and understand the

soldiers in our society who give their lives in

the cause of freedom or protection of a populace.”

Rachael Savage

A New Dawn for ‘A Brave Face’

Apart from the workshop, we spoke about the

new tour of the production. What?!! It’s on

again? When? After she calmed me down,

Rachael informed me that the show was going

back on the road early next year.

I cannot wait to see it again, especially as the

first show looks like it will be here at the Swan

Theatre, Worcester on 14th February 2019. I

so can’t wait!

For those of you that are not familiar with ‘A

Brave Face’ let’s give you the story.

Afghanistan: 2009. Under bright blue skies, a

small girl stands and watches the soldier. She

smiles, just like his sister…

Ryan is there to see the world, learn a trade,

get a life. Training is complete, combat is a

buzz; he’s part of a team, and knows his job.

But on one particular hot and desperate tour of

duty, Ryan sees things he can’t talk about, to

anyone. And then, when he returns home, the

trouble really begins.

Created from two years of research with ex

and serving soldiers, families and health professionals,

A Brave Face explores Post-

Traumatic Stress, an unseen and often

unrecognised injury of war, and the impact it

can have on even the closest of families. With

compassion and fearlessness, Vamos brings

its trademark, wordless, full mask style to a

story that needs to be told.

In short, you need to see this. As soon as

dates of the tour are released we will be posting

them out plus giving free tickets away to a

show near you.

The SBT and The Tommy Atkins Centre are

now very proud to be associated and supporting

‘A Brave Fave’ and will be on the tour with

helpful infomation, magazines and most

importantly, support at each show. Please do

not miss it.

Full Details of the Workshop are on the next

page 23 |

Co-commissioners: London International Mime Festival

Co-producers: Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Production sponsors: Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts), Worcestershire

County Council, The Elmley Foundation, Worcestershire Arts Partnership.

| 24


HALO Survey Now Live For Understanding

Psychological Wellbeing Needs In The Armed Forces

If you are a close friend or a family member

of a service or ex-service person and

worried about their psychological wellbeing,

the Helping Armed forces Loved

Ones (HALO) survey is now open online

for you to complete (10 minutes).

Participants will also have the option to

be entered into a prize draw for Amazon

vouchers as a token of appreciation (top

prize £50 voucher).

What the survey is about

The HALO Survey is part of a bigger

HALO Study designed to increase

access to mental health services among

armed forces people who are in need.

The HALO approach is a new way of

doing this as we work with the concerned

friends and family members. This

survey is a first step to better understand

what we can do to provide appropriate

services that meet the needs of armed

forces families.

It is being run by the King’s Centre for

Military Health Research at King’s

College London and Help for Heroes.

The team is comparing two different programmes

for the friends and family of

service personnel and veterans who are

struggling with their mental health.

Family members or friends will learn how

to better understand their loved one’s

challenges, how to communicate more

effectively and ways to encourage them

to seek treatment.

Will my taking part be kept confidential?

Yes, all of your information will be kept

strictly confidential. The UK Data

Protection Act 2018 will apply to all of the

information gathered as part of this

research. Data will be stored securely

and will only be accessible by the

research team at the King’s Centre for

Military Health Research. King’s College

will not share your personal information

with anyone outside of the research

team. They will never release data which

contains information which would identify

you. They will also not pass your contact

details on to third parties.

When the results of this research are

made public, your personal responses

will not be reported. Instead, they will

group your data with other peoples’ and

only report these numbers. If we include

quotes from you in the published material,

we will use a pseudonym (a false first

name) that cannot be linked back to you.

After King’s College have published the

results, your records will be anonymised,

encrypted and held securely for 20


Further questions can be addressed to or telephone them on

+44 20 7848 5214.

King’s College has also launched it’s official

HALO Facebook and Twitter pages. If

you haven’t done so already, feel free to

follow them to keep up to date with the

study. Find out more here

Have You Walked A Mile Yet?


GET HELP NOW: NHS England South East

020 3317 6818

| 26



I have a really unique position in my home town. Apart from all of

the work I do with the magazine and the veterans centre, I also

indulge myself in the music world which, in Worcester, is quite a cut

throat world of who is the best, who plays the guitar the best, who

sings the best, who makes the most money. Amazing really, one

question that never seems to come up up is, who enjoys what they

do the most just because they love doing it.

I play music and sing which isn’t everybodies cup of tea but I love

doing it. Not because I get paid lots of money (I don’t but that’s not

the point) not because I’m better than everybody else or not

because I’m trying to make it big. Simply because I really love

competitive spirit gets into us we can lose sight of what is really


One passage that really sticks in my mind is found at Psalm 118:22

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’

In fact this is found in many passages throughout the bible including

in the Gospels. In fact, in my eyes, if it is repeated so much that

it is a lesson God really wants us to take on board. If you win the

race, you do not learn humility. But he who is at the bottom can

only climb to reach the stars.

So, anyway back to playing music. No I’m not the best guitarist, in

fact far from it. I am not the best singer by a long way but being

who I am is just where I want to be. Enjoying what I do and enjoying

making others happy.

I hope whatever you do makes you happy in life. Never lose sight

of why you enjoy it and never enjoy what you do for the wrong reasons.

making people happy with what I do and having fun with my friends.

No competition, no stress, no worries, just fun.

God bless all and stay safe until next time.

The world today seems to be obsessed with competition. Being the

best, better than everybody else. I find this to be quite an agressive

trait which seems to be all over, including in world conflicts. People

determined to tell others that what they know and do is better.

Just to give you something to think about, and remember I only use

quotes from the bible to keep myself pointed in the right direction, I

found this in James 4:1.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not

this, that your passions are at war within you?

Is this not exactly what we have been talking about? When the

GET HELP NOW: NHS England North

0191 441 5974 27 |

Join the



Help us support Service Dogs UK.

Join now at

Simply pledge £10 per month to have your name automatically entered

into all the Prize Draws with the potential to win from £100 up to £25,000.

YES Society are the promoter of the Veterans Raffle

Licensed & regulated by the Gambling Commission. Licence 37221. BeGambleAware 18+

Veterans Raffle Goes Digital with Rebrand

A new raffle that provides the opportunity

for a feel-good factor double whammy of

winning big while donating to charity,

Veterans Raffle started in May 2018 with

a limited budget for promotion. After

being awarded a government grant for

digital marketing, and building a community

that’s already provided pertinent

feedback on the future of the business,

this draw has gone back to the drawing

board with regard to its marketing strategy.

Originally branded as the YES Society

Charity Raffle, the first port of call was to

choose a name that truly represents

what they do and why they do it.

Subscribers to the monthly raffle had

already fed back online that they found

the name and the logo confusing. So, as

soon as YES Society founder and chairman

Christopher Hearn was awarded

Small Business Growth Grant Funding

by Adur & Worthing Councils, in partnership

with Adur and Worthing Business

Partnership, he contacted Jelly Digital


( for

expert guidance.

The focus for the all-new Veterans Raffle

( was a clean,

fresh logo that represents the raffle as

supporting veterans of UK armed forces

and emergency services. It was clear

that the Union Jack colours to pinpoint

patriotism were instrumental and a sense

of kinship and care, to reflect the good

work Veterans Raffle does with its charity

donations, was the way to go. To show

that a celebration of the British Army,

Navy, RAF and emergency services are

at the heart of what Veterans Raffle does,

the logo choice was sealed.

With the help of the government grant,

Veterans Raffle will launch a digital marketing

campaign. This will centre on

social media marketing (predominantly

Facebook and Twitter) to raise awareness

of the raffle and the work it does to

support charities such as Veterans

Association UK, Building Heroes and

Service Dogs UK.

Since the raffle launched in May, it has

accumulated close to 300 likes on

Facebook but their new target is 1000.

As well as spreading the word about

Veterans Raffle and the money it gives to

good causes – and encouraging new

subscribers to the monthly draw in which

they could win up to £25,000 – an

increase to 1000 Facebook likes will

make the not-for-profit eligible for further

assistance and funding from the folks at

Facebook, which will be another step in

the right direction.

The Veterans Raffle Facebook page is

already shaping up as a hub of information

on military and emergency services

events, news, opportunities and advice.

As well as letting fans and followers

know about sleep-out fundraising events

for homeless charities Veterans Raffle is

waxing lyrical about upcoming air displays

and memorial celebrations. There’s

even a chance to get some

#MondayMotivations in the form of rousing

war film scores and have some

#FridayFun with squaddies throwing

some shapes on YouTube! Make sure

you give the Facebook page


a like and become part of the troop that

makes the Veterans Raffle colours fly. 29 |

Prince Harry bets Invictus Games

GT driver £100 to Lap Challenge

Invictus News

Speedo Appointed Sponsor and

Supplier for Invictus Team GB

Speedo, the global swimwear brand, today

announces its partnership with Team UK for

the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 presented

by Jaguar Land Rover, taking place from

October 20 to 27. The fourth Games will

attract 500 competitors from 18 nations to

compete in 11 medal sports.

Read More Here...

Sage creates chatbot for Invictus

Games 2018

Sage has created a chatbot for this year’s

Invictus Games Sydney 2018, to help and

engage the event’s supporters and competitors.

The chatbot, called ‘Cobber’ after the games

mascot, and was created with the help of Kriti

Sharma, VP of Artificial Intelligence at Sage,

to help make the event easier for supporters

and competitors to engage with and enjoy

the Games.

Cobber will engage the Invictus Games

Sydney 2018 community digitally, 24/7 during

the event, and can assist with FAQs, event

times and ticketing, all with the addition of

some quirky humour.

Prince Harry has bet an amputee

Invictus Games GT driver £100 that

he can beat him in a fastest lap challenge.

The prince suggested the wager with

former commando Paul Vice MC as

he visited the Royal Marines' main

training base in Lympstone, Devon,

for the first time as the outfit's

Captain General last week.

In 2011, Prince Harry – then an

Apache helicopter pilot – provided

air support to Corporal Vice and his

section during Paul's fourth tour of


The pair shook hands and hugged,

before Paul gave him a tour of the

race car that ended with the Prince

sat in the driver's seat. While revving

the engine, Prince Harry made a

£100 bet, for charity, with Paul that

he could do a quicker lap than him

in the car.

After joking about doing doughnuts

on the parade square, Paul accepted

the Prince's challenge and with both

men shaking on it, with a promise to

make it happen.

Paul said that he was willing to act

as the 'Official Royal Racing

Instructor' to get the Prince to a

decent standard – something Harry

said he would take him up on.

In 2011 while on foot patrol in

Helmand Province, Corporal Vice

stepped on a command wire

Improvised Explosive Device (IED),

which detonated underneath his


He suffered a traumatic brain injury

resulting in paralysis of his right arm,

and more than 400 pieces of shrapnel

were removed from his body by

surgeons. He was, as a subsequent

documentary called him, 'The

Commando Who Refused To Die'.

He was one of six casualties from the

explosion which, as he describes,

'took from me the one thing I felt I

was born to do – be a soldier'. In

2014, he competed in the first

Invictus Games, winning a gold

medal in cycling. After the Games he

had to have his left leg amputated

below the knee. He was medically

discharged in August 2015.

His seven-medal haul at the 2016

Invictus Games meant he returned

home as the competition's most successful

male athlete.

Paul said: 'As ever, it was a pleasure

to meet The Duke, who was incredibly

generous with his time. I showed

him around our car and he loved sitting

in the racing seat – he was asking

lots of questions about the controls

and what the car is like to drive.

'That's when he said that he reckoned

he could drive it quicker than

me on a lap of the track – so I

thought, 'You're on!' and then The

Duke suggested we wager £100 on it

for charity.

'Invictus Games Racing compete in

the British GT Championship and the

last race of the season is this weekend

at Donnington, so I'm going to

get The Duke trained up after that

and then we'll settle the debate!'

Read More Here...

Read More Here

GET HELP NOW: NHS England Midlands

0300 323 0137

| 30


Invictus Games competitor Samantha Gould tells how sport helped her overcome depression

.It's no secret that exercise is good for

you, so how does it help clear a troubled


When Samantha Gould was first diagnosed

with PTSD and major depressive

disorder, she "did the tough soldier thing"

and went on as if everything was fine.

The veteran had spent part of her 10

years in Defence as a cargo specialist

based in the Afghan city of Kandahar,

where rocket attacks had become a common


After the tour, her re-entry into regular life

was difficult.

"You come back and all the songs on the

radio are different," she told ABC Radio

Darwin's Liz Trevaskis.

"You find it really hard to relax when you

get home."

Everything wasn't fine, of course, and Ms

Gould came to realise that merely making

eye contact with strangers could send her

spiralling into rage.

"People would point it out to me; I'd be

like, 'I've always been like this'.

Shortly after her diagnosis in 2016, she

was encouraged to compete in the 2017

Invictus Games, an event that steered her

away from reacting to everyday events

with anger and self-medicating with alcohol.

Ms Gould, who was recently medically

discharged, credits her participation in the

powerlifting competition with a significant

proportion of her recovery.

"I was pushing my muscles as hard as I

physically could, which means I had to

focus on that one thing and that one thing


Read Full Story... 31 |

New Listening Service With

Alerts For Missing Veterans

Set Up By Ex-Servicemen

To many ex-servicemen and women have nowhere to turn when life

gets tough. As we come to terms with the number of service

personnel and veterans out there suffering with mental

health issues and the strain this puts on an already

overwhelmed health service, we must do what we

always do; turn to one another. That is the ethos

and mission statement of All Call Signs:

Camaraderie in the face of adversity, whether in

uniform or out.

All Call Signs is a peer-to-peer chat service. If you

need to talk, push the button and we’ll connect

you to someone who has been there, done that,

got the tour shirt. It is not weak to need help once

in a while and it certainly is nothing to be embarrassed

or ashamed about. We’re all in this together

and we’re here for you.

Another Ten Thousand Miles:

Lyric Poems and Song Lyrics

This book is a collection of 29 lyric poems and song lyrics

written over a period of several years. The song lyrics are written

in the style and structure of contemporary folk songs, also

called singer/songwriter songs.

Some of the pieces involve traveling. A person goes on a

journey in the hope of changing his or her life. Examples are

"Another Ten Thousand Miles," "All I Know," "Keep Running,"

and "Ready to See You Again."

Several of the pieces are intended to be humorous. Examples

are "Company Jeans Day," "Got a Little Lady," "Home

Recording Technological Blues," "In a Better Life Blues," and

"Talkin' Songwriter Imitator Blues."

Other pieces are intended to be appreciative, such as "Aspen

(A Sweetheart of a Dog)," "My Son's Nursery School: A

Circus, A Sanctuary," "Think about My Son," and "Precious in

My Sight."

Five pieces speak to U.S. Army veterans: "Aspen (A

Sweetheart of a Dog)," "Got the Imjin River Blues," "My Good

Friends (A Draft, A Shot)," "Signs of High Water," and "Think

about My Son."

I also write country western songs. Recordings of the songs

(vocal/guitar) are available on the website Soundcloud. To

listen to the songs, copy the link below and paste it into your


| 32

WRAF Memorial Fundraising

The Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) was

formed in 1918 at the same time as the RAF

and originally disbanded in 1920. After the formation

of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force

(WAAF) in 1939 at the start of the Second

World War and the realisation that women had

a very definite, permanent and integral place

in the Royal Air Force, the WAAF was renamed

the WRAF in 1949. Initially employed in noncombatant

roles, though this did change during

the 1980s, WRAFs were stationed in many

far flung places such as Singapore, Burma,

Iraq and Aden serving alongside their male

counterparts during the many post-war conflicts.

The WRAF remained in existence until

1994 when it was formally merged with the


Along with many other members of the WRAF

Branch of RAFA, ex-WRAF Cpl Sylvia Walker

attended the RAFA Centenary Service at the

National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) on

Sunday 13th May 2018. After the service she

and her husband ex-Cpl Martin Walker spent

the rest of the afternoon, as did many of the

guests, wandering around the grounds looking

at all the memorials and paying their

respects. Dismayed that although there was a

WAAF Memorial, she was unable to locate a

WRAF Memorial, particularly as this is the

Centenary of the WRAF as well as the RAF. As

an ex-WRAF herself, she felt this was more

than a little unjust and began asking questions

about a WRAF Memorial and where one may

be located, if there wasn’t one at the NMA.

Quite quickly it was agreed that although there

were various trees planted in a few locations

around the UK in memory of the WRAF or individual

WRAFs, there didn’t appear to be an

actual memorial anywhere.

Several phone calls later and after advice from

the NMA on costs, etc the ex-WRAFs quickly

sprung in to action and now have a FaceBook

group dedicated to fundraising for the WRAF

Memorial. After gaining the support from the

RAF and RAF connected charities including

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir

Stephen Hillier, RAFA President, Air

Marshall Sir Baz North and the Controller

of the RAF Benevolent Fund, Air Vice

Marshall David Murray, fundraising

began in earnest and

approximately £4,000 has been

raised, some by personal donations

and some by fundraising efforts by

the girls. To ensure that there is complete

transparency, a committee of both

ex-WRAFs and serving women has been

formed and this includes both Officers and

other ranks. Something to note that these

fundraising efforts are completely separate to

both the WRAF Branch of RAFA and the

WAAF/WRAF/RAF(W) Association, and

although members of the committee and the

entire fundraising team are actually members

of both the Branch and the Association, some

are not. This is a completely separate venture.

There is still a long way to go as the NMA

advice is that generally speaking (and a lot will

depend on exactly what design is chosen, but

that’s a long way down the line at this stage),

approximately £30,000 is required for the

design and siting of a suitable memorial.

Anyone wishing to donate can do either by a

direct donation to the bank account or by

PayPal, details of which are below:

PayPal link for donations

If you wish to contact a committee member for

more information, or details of the bank

account to send a donation, or to help with

fundraising, please email on"


The SBT is proud to present a short story from one of our readers

Do Nothing

By AJ Vosse

“Sergeant, what exactly is that soldier


Nothing, Sir…”

He’d expected the startled expression.

Here in the military, men aren’t supposed

to do nothing, so when an officer

sees nothing being done it spells trouble.

The sergeant purposely allowed the

pause to drag on, allowing the tension

to mount until it became almost tangible.

He allowed the oppressively hot,

humid, heavy air to add to the drama of

the moment, as if the smoke of 20 cannons

expelling their toxic vapour suffocated

any thoughts of reality.

Sergeant Ross glanced at the rosy

cheeked man beside him. He’d planned

the familiarisation walk to end in the

tree’s shade about 15 meters from

where the young soldier was sitting. The

soldier was dressed only in a pair of

shorts and a stained, sun parched shirt.

Nondescript, hardly visible against the

background of the surrounding thicket

of woodland, part of the land.

The sergeant’s thoughts returned to the

new arrival. The uniform crisp, only

months old, unlike his faded combat

dress that although neat, was well past

their best days. Damn, why can’t they

stop sending him these kids? Soldiering

is not for babies.

They’re making them younger each

year, he mused. He reflected on the 33 |

seemingly insane process of sending

children fresh out of secondary school

on officer’s course. Conscription was so

cruel, getting good school grades

meant you’ll likely end up at officer’s

college before your molars were out of

their sockets. Then, next stop? War. In a

faraway, forsaken edge of the continent,

light-years away from the comforts of

home and mommy’s cooking and care.

How many years more will he have to

lead these kids into battle, how many

more years will the warlords continue

demanding more death from their

nation? How many more years will the

politicians throw the youth of the country

at the enemy’s guns?

He cut short his mental ramblings,

glancing at Lieutenant Pendleton. His

gaze was again drawn to the mere

smudge of a moustache. So young, a

fresh-faced boy, yet now he was supposed

to understand what he was seeing.

How the blazes can any man understand

what they were witnessing?

“We’ve left him to his own devices while

we wait for the Medics to make up their

minds. He lives out here beneath the


Sergeant Ross gestured at the lush

green world at the edge of the base

camp. Here, many miles away from the

dangers of the frontline, it was easy to

close one’s eyes and imagine oneself

enjoying the luxuries of a subtropical

safari camp.

He fixed his eyes on the shell of the

man-boy seemingly relaxing in the old

tree’s shade. Just months ago, that

young man had been an eager, freshfaced

soldier arriving at the front, ready

for his own conquest of destiny.

“Sir… the lad’s not responding to any

human interaction. He shuns all contact,

yet… there he is, existing only meters

away from his peers.”

Again, the sergeant let the heat laden

billows of silence waft into the mental

spaces, seeping into every dark crevice

of their minds. His was battle weary; the

young lieutenant’s dazed and disorientated

by his first brushes with the reality

that was war.

Sergeant Ross turned slightly, for a better

look at the young man standing

beside him. The rosiness was gone,

replaced by an ashen likeness of what

minutes before was the innocent, fresh

brightness of an eager young officer.

Maybe this one will learn quickly,

thought Sergeant Ross. Maybe he’ll

learn and realise there is no glory in

war; there are no hero’s, dead or alive.

Maybe he’ll learn that Hemingway’s

words were true, no matter how just war

was, it was ultimately still crime. Maybe

the lieutenant will soon grasp that one’s

own kin bleed and die like the enemy.

The sergeant was used to seeing blood,

to seeing the remains of his troops scattered

on the red earth… and in the

trees. He’d watched men lance the

enemy with blunt bayonets. He’d seen

hate, love… longing… lust for life…

depravity. Is that not the lack of love?

Depravity? He’d seen almost all there is

to see.

Or, had he? Had he yet another new

frontier to see? The intangible barrier,

the divide between the rational and the

dim, dingy dark distance of derange.

“Is he reacting to anything… anything in

the slightest?”

No Sir. No… he’s totally withdrawn.

Like a tortoise that’s pulled its head into

it’s shell, still alive but not functioning.

He’s there… he eats what’s put out for

him. He drinks… no beer, no soft drinks,

only water. He’s even controls his

hygiene… sneaks into the ablutions at

night. Primeval… yet, he somehow

knows to stick to basics.”

The young lieutenant turned toward

Sergeant Ross, imploring eyes demanding

a better explanation. He held the

sergeant’s gaze as best he could even

as the bitter bile of revulsion crept its

way into his parched mouth.

“Sergeant, I see the shell of a man

who’s most likely not many months

older than me. I see dead eyes, I sense

an aura of death all around, well, I think

that’s what I sense, please help me

here. They speak of death at the college

but how is a man, fresh off the transport,

supposed to ever be ready for seeing

something like this?”

Lieutenant Pendleton gasped, as if the

stale air enveloping them was choking


Just how could he be ready? No,

thought Sergeant Ross, no books or

words could ever school anyone in the

effects of war’s death and destruction.


This time it was the young lieutenant

who let the pause linger. Sergeant Ross

didn’t break the silence. He respected

the young officer’s attempts at coming

to terms with what he was experiencing.

“Sergeant, we’re standing here talking

about a person. Yes, I’m having my difficulties

dealing with the situation, but he

is after all still a human, not so?”

He glanced at Sergeant Ross for reassurance.

Yes, the nod was slow but

strong, the greying soldier affirming his


“Why has he chosen this spot to live? Is

there any likely reason or did it just happen?”

“ Live? We’re not really sure... he was

housed in the sickbay after returning

from the front.”

Sergeant Ross turned and pointed at

the neat white buildings at the edge of

the woodland. He swung his arm from

the direction of the buildings to the


The lad soon began climbing through

windows at night, to wander around in

this thicket. Searching for his soul or

maybe as if searching for his brother?

Who knows?”

He paused again, just long enough to

catch his breath.

“See that shirt. The stains? He wouldn’t

allow medics to take the shirt. He would

scream and perform so much that he’d

upset the others around, so he still

wears it. The stains, as you may have

guessed, are his brother’s blood stains.”

Sergeant Ross fell silent; he’d no more

to add to the sad story.

“Sergeant, what’s the man’s name?”

“Tom, Infantryman Thomas James

Barker. His brother was Infantryman

Jeremy William Barker. Yes, they were

as inseparable as the cartoon characters,

until Jerry stepped on the landmine.”

“Tom?” The lieutenant’s lingering pause

turned to a semi plea… “Tom?”

“Don’t bother Sir, just don’t. Tom’s spirit

was blown totally out of his core during

that ambush. Only the physical form

returned. Tom… he’s long gone. Gone

with his twin brother who was blown

into a million bits. I saw it happen… the

lad walked out of the ambush… covered

with the remains of his brother.

Tom walked out, blood-stained, as if in a

mist of red death… “

“What shall we do for him?”

Nothing Sir… we do nothing… for


Sergeant Ross stood… ramrod, rigid,

straight. He stood, wondering when

he’d ever walk out from beneath the

cloud of his own brother’s death. A

death too long ago to remember, yet

raw in his mind. His own brother, his

baby brother, shot by a sniper as they

entered the safety of their forward command


Nothing Sir. For Tom, you do nothing.

No, all you need do is send two letters

home… let the parents mourn once.

One shock for them is more than


Lieutenant Templeton whispered as he

turned to walk away,

Nothing Tom, for you we’ll do nothing.”

| 34

Veterans Breakfast Clubs

Armed Forces &

Veterans Breakfast Clubs


The VBC Website has now been revamped/redesigned and is now live. There are

several new features including a Post Code search facility that brings up the five

nearest Breakfast Clubs to your Post Code, and we now have a News feature and

links to the current issues of the Sandbag Times and much more. To make it easier

for people to get to it, funds have been made available to allow the acquisition of

more domain names.

The new address is and the old address is pointed at the new site.

The main alteration is that the email addresses have changed from:



As many of you, in the AFVBC world may know,

the Sandbag Times is now available as a printed

edition. Unlike the online edition, we cannot

offer the printed copies for free as we have to

pay for expensive printing costs and obviously,

the postage. However, we have done some

number crunching and we are pleased to say we

can send out packs of 5 magazines for £20.00.

Unfortunately, we regret that we cannot send out

single copies at this time, hopefully that will

change in the near future as the SBT grows.

The prints are of excellent and professional

standard with 250gsm covers and 130gsm

pages with stunning colour and graphics. If you

would like to order monthly magazines for your

club or send in entries, then please email us at This printed copy will

be used to support the Tommy Atkins Veterans

Centre in Worcester.

GET HELP NOW: Return To The Tribe


Armed Forces &

Veterans Breakfast Clubs


Ayreshire AFVBC Rally Around Local Community For WW1 Centenary

Friend and fellow veteran Paul Swainson

came up with the idea for the signatures,

and here at the veteran Sandbag Times we

too believe it's such a wonderful way to say

thank you and something the community

can cherish forever. The next step will be for

Paul and the team to collate all the signatures

and messages gathered and display

them in there local Heritage Centre.

Veteran Suzanne Fernando and fellow

members of the local breakfast club

and Legion had a great response

from there community in Ayrshire recently

where along with Paul Swainson, Paul

Coffey, James Smith, Anne & Bob

McDougal gathered hundreds of signatures,

many messages and wonderful stories to

commemorate the ww1 centenary. The 100

day campaign aims to get local communities

to sign their support and say thanks to

those who made the greatest sacrifice during

the First World War.

Having served in the Royal Military Police

myself and now a very proud Veteran and

member of our local Legion, Military Vehicle

Group & Breakfast Club, I wanted to give a

donation so I ordered and received my

"Women of the First World War Brooch" and

certificate which I now proudly display and

wear. The certificate and brooch commemorates

the life of 'HANNAH DUNLOP MARK'

who sadly lost her life as a direct result of

the First World War. Hannah was a Nurse in

the Territorial Force Nursing Service, she

died on 10 Oct 1918 and was laid to rest in

Bridgend Cemetery.

Women played a huge role in the First

World War. They served as nurses in the

field hospitals, and here at home. They

worked in factories, making munitions. They

worked on the land. And they were recognised

afterwards with the right to vote.

Suzanne is extremely proud to be a woman

who has served in our majesty's service.

100 years on, The Royal British Legion have

created this special brooch dedicated to the

memory of the courageous women who

served and lost their life.

You can purchase yours by following this



Ayrshire Veteran Breakfast Club would also

like to extend a great big thank you to

Ardrossan Indoor Bowling Club for inviting

them along for a crash course in bowling,

they had a 'striking' time!!

| 38

| 36

Veterans Breakfast Clubs

AFVBC have Breakfast at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

On Friday 7 September 2018 the Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs network were invited to attend breakfast at

the Royal Hospital Chelsea in the esteemed company of the Chelsea Pensioners and the Secretary of State for Defence,

Gavin Williamson MP.

30 members of the various clubs from Hatfield & Welwyn GC, Luton District, Portsmouth, Stafford, Oakham, Basildon,

Clacton, Swindon/Chippenham, Isle of Wight, Islington, Southend, Uxbridge and Littlehampton were in attendance and

on behalf of the National Admin Team I would like to thank them for attending on the day. It was a great success.

The morning began with a slight rush by me having been escorted in the wrong direction by members whose club shall

remain nameless (it rhymes with Smuxbridge) and I was a little late. We all slipped in relatively unnoticed and were provided

with a well earned cup of tea. After a short time members were escorted to the Great Hall for a sumptuous breakfast

and waited upon very kindly by the staff at the RHC. The tables were full of chatter and laughter having strategically

placed Chelsea Pensioners on each table. After breakfast finished the Secretary of States moved to different tables to

chat to the various Veterans about various issues.

Once the Secretary of State had left the Great Hall, our members were taken on a grand tour of the hospital which was

highly entertaining throughout with the never diminishing sense of humour of the British Army still holding strong.

Once the tour was finished and we thanked our host for kindly showing us around, several members of the AFVBCs

decided the last tour should end in the Chelsea Pensioners bar, and to pinch a phrase I’ve seen on the social media

pages for the AFVBCs, ‘we didn’t want to leave and they didn’t want us to leave either’.

Out of this very enjoyable day will hopefully be firmly forged friendships with the Chelsea Pensioners and members of the

local breakfast clubs in London and the surrounding areas and perhaps one of their very own AFVBCs (watch this


By Elaine Forman

AFVBC National Liaison 39 | 37 |


A word from the Ed

Ways to find us

Is it that time already? It must be,

my brain is getting fried for all of

the info buzzing through my ears

and I’m getting all creative again.

As usual, we’ve had a very busy

time at the sharp and pointy end,

not only with the magazine but

also at the centre. Poor Jane has

been run off her feet helping our

veterans out. Which did include

getting a veteran off the street and

homed. Nice feeling, that. We

are also teaming up with Vamos

Theatre and ‘A Brave Face’ as

veterans support during their new

tour being released next year.

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to

read the article and with any luck,

we’ll see you during the tour.

Talking of tours, the final round

of this years BTCC takes place in

just over a week at Brands Hatch.

If you haven’t been to any of the

races yet then get yourselves over

to this one. It is going to be an

absolute cracker. Although our

patron, Matt is out of the title

hunt for this year, he will still be

giving it all to get as many points

as possible for the team. Next

year will be a different ball game

though. Be under no illusion

Matt is very hungry for a 4th title

as well as being very, very

capable of taking it as this year

has shown on various occasions.

We will be producing a Matt Neal

/Team Dynamics magazine prior

to the start of the 2019 season

with all of the facts, figures,

tracks, cars and drivers,

excitrement and fun to keep you

going throughout the year.

But I would like to finish my little

blab by, firstly congratulating

Matt, Dan and the whole team for

a great season and also a huge

thank you to Matt and Ben from

Team Dynamics for some very

amazing support over the season

regardless of how busy you’ve

been. We are all looking forward

to more of the same next year. Px

The Sandbag Times



Caption Competition

Come up with a funny caption for the picture

above and win an autographed card from our

two Team Dynamics drivers, Matt Neal and

Dan Cammish. Just email us your funnies on Last months

Winner: Well done to Joseph P. Nuneaton

| 38

Squaddie Humour

Squaddie Humour

A brand new section celebrating the warped

sense of humour of our British Armed Forces

The Kit Kat and the Old Lady

My most embarrasing moment was after a bit of live firing

at Otterburn and because I’d picked up an injury I

ended up brass sorting with the Platoon Sgt. Everyone

had gone back to camp by the time we’d finished so we

headed home in the Rover. We’d been going about an

hour or so when he started to nod off at the wheel, so he

pulled into a service station. He stayed outside to get

some fresh air while I popped inside for a brew and a Kit

Kat. It was quite late and I was the only person in there

until an old lady came in. She bought a cup of tea and

two fairy cakes and sat opposite me.

PHH’ sound, stuffed her cake in to my mouth in one and

walked out, feeling quite satisfied.

We got back into our Rover and continued on our way.

About 15 minutes in to the second leg of our journey I

fancied a ciggie... and when I put my hand into my pocket

I found MY Kit Kat!


Pull Up A Sandbag

Jonathan Stiles

After polishing off one of her fairy cakes she then proceeded

to take a stick of my Kit Kat and munch on it

greedily! ‘Cheeky bint’ I thought, and swiftly grabbed and

swallowed one of the remaining three sticks myself,

before the old bag could get her chocolate covered paws

on it, at which point she gave me a look like a summons

and as quick as lightning grabbed and chomped down

the two remaining sticks of my chuffing Kit Kat.

As she was a little old dear, I couldn’t really go off on

one, but thought ‘I’m buggered if you are getting away

with it’. I stood up to leave, picked up her other fairy

cake, went right up to her face and with a ‘MURRUMP-

Back issues of The Sandbag Times are available to download here 39 |


Mrs Fox Goes

To War...

The Chronicles of Little Hope

1939 - 1945

Villager of the month:

Young Percy Fishwick...

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


Miss Threaplethwaite the baker's baps were

looking particularly good today...

You can catch up with the adventures of Percy

Fishwick at

This month’s letter comes from Miss Isabel

Ringer and touches on the vicar’s bell rope

and clappers...

Chronic myopia due to reading far too many

racy novels under his bed sheets meant that

young Percy Fishwick was entirely unsuitable for

military service and thus it was that he came to

stay with his uncle, the Reverent Aubrey

Fishwick in Little Hope. A bookish lad with literary

ambitions of his own, Percy became the village

Air Raid Warden, a job which he took jolly

seriously when he wasn't too busy dusting off

his Pepys, stroking his Dickens or paying court

to young Fanny Fuller...

| 40


Letter of the Month

Dearest Hilda,

I am at a total loss as to what I am to do.

Since those nasty German fellows have started

being beastly again, the government have

issued an edict banning the ringing of church

bells unless the enemy invade. I mean, what

am I to tug on now that the vicar’s bell clappers

have been muffled?

I have been pulling his bell rope now for several

years and have become something of an

expert in manual dexterity, indeed I can pull

his rope with one hand, both hands or indeed

either hand, such is the muscle strength in

both hands. I can tell you now that the vicar

heaves a sigh of bliss when He feels me tugging

away manually.

I am at a loss, how do I keep the muscles in

trim for future manual manipulation?


Isabel Ringer

Dear Miss Ringer,

Oddly enough, the Vicar and I were discussing

your prowess in the pulling department on

Tuesday last when we met for our weekly

tête-à-tête and a quick munch (one has to

admire the man, even in these difficult times

one never comes away from his front parlour

empty handed, indeed, on this occasion he

gave me an excellent stuffing) and I can confirm

that the good fellow misses your giving

his bell rope a good old tug every bit as much

as you miss doing it.

“Miss Ringer really did have it down to a fine

art,” he explained, “Bell clappers are terribly

delicate things, Mrs Ffinch and you’d be surprised

at the scale of damage which might be

occasioned by a rogue tug.”

Actually, I wouldn’t. Colonel Ffinch and I went

through a phase of frenzied campanology

whilst on honeymoon in the west country, it

came to an abrupt end when my dear spouse

gave a gargantuan pull on the Bishop of

Exeter’s well hung bell rope causing a frightful

commotion in the poor man’s upper chamber

as his gudgeon dropped out and occasioned

his headstock to come adrift. One shredded

muffler and a questionable tittums touch

later and a subsequent pull-off was completely out

of the question, there was nothing for it but for

the assembled ringers to get the Bishop’s hand

bells out for evensong, give them a quick spit and

polish and go at it like buggery, as it were.

The colonel and I heard later that neither the

Bishop nor his congregation were particularly

impressed with the state of affairs and that it took

several members of the Exeter WI a great deal of

pulling and bunking to get the good man’s beam

up again (so to speak), but by this time we’d given

up bell-ringing and had moved on to mud-larking,

which proved to be much more fun, and so we

weren’t too concerned about the havoc caused by

Colonel Ffinch’s slightly over zealous handstroke

and agreed that the Bishop really ought to have

had his gudgeon examined more closely before

inviting complete strangers in for a pull.

Now, back to the present and your dilemma. The

vicar and I both agreed that it would be a shame

to let your masterful grip weaken through wont of

a good jerk of a Sunday morning and he’s wondering

if you would like to volunteer to polish his

knob instead? It is, as you know, rather large and

heavy and is handled by parishioners several

times a week when calling at the vicarage for spiritual

advice and succour. Impressive though it may

be, it is however in need of constant attention lest

it come off in someone’s hand again as was the

case when I called for tiffin last week.

The Reverend Fishwick asked me to let you know

that the job’s yours if you want it and blow what

the rest of the ringers think. Do please let him

know your thoughts at your earliest opportunity.

I do hope this helps.


Hilda Ffinch

The Bird With All The Answers.

p.s. Obviously, polishing the vicar’s knob will also

entail wiping down the church door and giving it a

fresh lick (of paint) as and when required.

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

Answers to address your own wartime problem,

then pop along to

to subject your personal crisis to her

(hopefully) sober scrutiny. Remember to give

yourself a suitable wartime alias! Letters will be

answered online and a selection of them published

in next month’s Sandbag Times. 41 |

TO ORDER PLEASE CALL: 01226 734222




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