The Veterans’ Magazine Issue 48 | October 2018
THE RETURN OF
Vamos Theatre Launches
Exciting New Project As ‘A
Brave Face’ Returns To
SBT News Update
Plus all The Latest National &
International News from the
Armed Forces & Veterans’ World
Proud Sponsors of
The Veterans Awards
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
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
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
40 Mrs Fox Goes To War
All the latest gossip and
letters from Little Hope
THE RETURN OF
Vamos Theatre Launches
Exciting New Project As ‘A
Brave Face’ Returns To
SBT News Update
Plus all The Latest National &
International News from the
Armed Forces & Veterans’ World
Proud Sponsors of
The Veterans Awards
Editor: Pablo Snow
Magazine Manager: Matt Jarvis
Patron: Matt Neal
Albert ‘Robbie’ McRobb
News Media Manager
Recording Engineer and PR
THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE
SBT NEWS October Edition email@example.com
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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE
SBT NEWS October Edition firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 5 |
THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE
SBT NEWS October Edition email@example.com
Russia Blames Israel After Syria Accidentally Shoots Down Plane: 15 Dead
RUSSIA has promised
retaliation after Israeli
airstrikes created a
“dangerous situation” by
attacks in Syria, resulting
in a Soviet reconnaissance
plane being accidentally
shot down by Syrian Air
The aircraft, which was
used for electronic
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
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
GET HELP NOW: Text Combat Stress
| 6 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
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
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We are here to help, contact your local Welfare O
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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 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
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 -
www.Sandbagtimes.co.uk. 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 https://www.facebook.com/thesandbagtimes/
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
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.
GET HELP NOW: SSAFA Helpline
0800 731 4880
| 8 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
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
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 www.opendoortraining.co.uk’. 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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 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
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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
OFF THE GRID
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.
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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 11 |
HISTORICAL TOMMY ATKINS
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
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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
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
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
| 14 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat
“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
“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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
COFFEE, CAKE &
on the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Company registered in England and Wales No 256353, Charity No 206002, Charity Scotland No SC038828.
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
many of the conflicts that the
British Forces have been
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
along with other regular writers
such as Mrs Fox, Mike
Woods, our resident poet,
Peter Macey, our historian
plus a special editorial by
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
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.
Unit 7 The Gallery,
GET HELP NOW: NHS England S/West
0300 365 0300
| 20 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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.
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 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
Of course, these guys had full support
throughout the process, as you can imagine
there is a possibility that rew emotions could
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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
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.”
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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 27 |
Help us support Service Dogs UK.
Join now at www.veteransraffle.uk
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
The focus for the all-new Veterans Raffle
(https://veteransraffle.uk) 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.
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 29 |
Prince Harry bets Invictus Games
GT driver £100 to Lap Challenge
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
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
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
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
'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
INVICTUS GAMES 2018
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
"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
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...
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 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
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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
By AJ Vosse
“Sergeant, what exactly is that soldier
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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 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
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
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
“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?
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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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 www.afvbc.co.uk and the old address is pointed at the new site.
The main alteration is that the email addresses have changed from:
SANDBAG TIMES AFVBC OFFER
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
email@example.com 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
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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
| 36 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 39 |
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org. Last months
Winner: Well done to Joseph P. Nuneaton
| 38 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
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
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
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 39 |
MRS FOX GOES TO WAR
Mrs Fox Goes
The Chronicles of Little Hope
1939 - 1945
Villager of the month:
Young Percy Fishwick...
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
This month’s letter comes from Miss Isabel
Ringer and touches on the vicar’s bell rope
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 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
THE CHRONICLES OF LITTLE HOPE
Letter of the Month
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
I am at a loss, how do I keep the muscles in
trim for future manual manipulation?
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.
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.
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 41 |
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