The Veterans’ Magazine Issue 50 | December 2018
A Very Merry Christmas
Seasonal Greeting to all our serving
Armed Forces, Veterans and Readers
as the SBT reaches it’s 50th edition
SBT News Update
Plus all The Latest National &
International News from the
Armed Forces & Veterans’ World
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4 And so it continues
Suicides reach a critical
level. We ask why
5 Russia Opens Fire on
Tensions increase in latest
act of aggression
5 Veterans Shelter
Destroyed by Council
A veteran returns from
Remembrance to find
6 Veterans to get
ID Cards By 2019
Application will be available
9 Ask Kerry
Brand new advice on CV
16 Saved a Soldier
New release of tribute to
18 Xmas Messages
Messages and Poetry for
Troops and Veterans
10 Historic Tommy Atkins
As seen on TV
The UK sends it’s Xmas wishes
to it’s Troops and Veterans
23 Have Faith
Peace to all men...
34 SBT Information
A page dedicated to back
issues, information, book
38 Mrs Fox Goes To War
All the latest gossip and
letters from Little Hope
Editor: Pablo Snow
Magazine Manager: Matt Jarvis
Patron: Matt Neal
News Media Manager
Recording Engineer and PR
THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE
And Still The Heartache Continues...
2018 has been a very black year in regards
to Veterans and Armed Forces Suicides.
Over the past 11 months the SBT has
recorded 64 deaths with one month of the
year still left with no let up on the horizon.
Veterans charities, organisations and many
celebrities are now backing the call for
more to be done to end this unofficial epidemic.
Many of our veterans and troops simply
find the memories of their past too hard to
bear leading to no hope, severe mental illnesses
and in extreme cases, ending it all.
Recent studies by the Kings College,
London suggested, after conducting a survey
on 9,000 veterans (roughly 0.036% of
the veterans population), that around 7% of
Veterans suffered from mental health
issues, yet a National Sensus study carried
out by the MOD and released in October
2016 actually put that figure to over 35%.
Current trends would suggest this has only
increased but yet, current treatments and
systems are still woefully inadequate. The
recent study also suggested military statistics
were inline with civilian counterparts.
The 2016 report states that this is not the
case showing a 9% difference.
The SBT is yet again calling for our powers
to face up to the reality of the situation and
not to dilute the issue with unrealistic
reports. Only then can we truly deal with
the scale of the issue effectively and finally
put an end to more senseless deaths of
our brave men and women.
GET HELP NOW: Rewind @ Tommy Atkins Centre
| 4 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE
SBT NEWS December Edition
By BBC News
Veteran Returns From Remembrance to
Find his Shelter Destroyed... By Council
A war hero turned into a
real-life Rambo to build a
log cabin hideaway home in
the woods - only for it to be
bulldozed by forestry
Ex-lance corporal Mike
Allen, 37, worked on his
beautiful rustic cabin for two
years as a way of dealing
with his PTSD. But when he
returned to the home on
weekend, Mike was
'devastated' to find it
flattened. The former soldier
built the isolated
mountainside retreat when
his marriage collapsed and he
was sleeping on friends'
sofas. Mike said: 'The cabin
was my home, my sanctuary.
It was causing no harm to
anyone and curing me. I
wouldn't be alive today
without it.' On his
Afghanistan tour in 2011
Mike spent nearly seven
months clearing bombs. He
said: 'One day an Afghan
policeman next to me stepped
on a device and was blown
up. I saw it all. Read more...
Story: Daily Mail
Russia fires on Crimean Navy
Russia has fired on and
seized three Ukrainian
naval vessels off the
Crimean Peninsula in a
major escalation of tensions
between the two
Two gunboats and a tug
were captured by Russian
forces. A number of
Ukrainian crew members
were injured. Each country
blames the other for the
incident. On Monday
Ukrainian MPs are due to
vote on declaring martial
law. The crisis began
when Russia accused the
Ukrainian ships of illegally
entering its waters. The
Russians placed a tanker
under a bridge in the
Kerch Strait - the only
access to the Sea of Azov,
which is shared between
the two countries During a
meeting of Ukraine's
National Security and
Poroshenko described the
Russian actions as "unprovoked
and crazy". More..
Decision on charging soldiers over
Bloody Sunday killings delayed again
Story: Belfast Telegraph
A decision on whether or
not to charge paratroopers
involved in Bloody Sunday
has been delayed until next
The Telegraph has reported
that the decision, due to be
made in the summer, has
been put back due to legal
issues. Eighteen exparatroopers
are waiting to
learn if they will face
prosecution in relation to the
events in Londonderry on
January 30 1972. Thirteen
people died when
paratroopers opened fire on
civil rights marchers, with a
14th victim dying later. More
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 5 |
THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE
Washington governor praises soldier killed in Afghanistan over Weekend
A soldier from Washington
state who was killed in
Afghanistan over the
weekend gave his life in
service of the United States,
Gov. Jay Inslee said.
Army Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso,
25, died Saturday during
combat operations in Helmand
Defense Department officials
said Sunday. Jasso was from
and was assigned to 2nd
Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-
McChord. Inslee said in a
statement that "we are
Military veterans are to be given ID card to
recognise that they have served.
The cards will initially be given to all
personnel leaving the military, while
veterans who have already made the
transition to civilian life will be able to
apply for a service leavers ID card from
next year. The initiative is designed to give
profoundly grateful for his
service and sacrifice." Jasso
was wounded by small-arms
fire and was treated and
evacuated to the nearest
medical treatment facility,
where he died, said Lt. Col.
Loren Bymer, an Army
spokesman. He was on his
third deployment to
Afghanistan after enlisting in
the Army in 2012. Cascade
High School will hold a
moment of silence Monday.
City leaders also are
considering other ways to
honor Jasso, Ala'ilima-Daley
said. Read more here...
Veterans To Be Able To Apply For ID Cards From 2019
Story: Forces Online
By Daily Mail
veterans easier access to public and
charitable support including healthcare
and housing. Veterans are also being
asked to identify themselves with their GP
as having served, so that they can receive
appropriate support. When the next stage
of the ID card scheme was announced,
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
"We must never forget the sacrifices they
have made. So I am determined that the
Ministry of Defence does all that we can to
ensure those who struggle after serving
their country are properly supported." The
plans were first mentioned by Tobias
Ellwood, the minister responsible for
defence personnel and veterans, in the
Commons in October 2017. He said the
ID option was part of Government plans to
improve the information it keeps about exmilitary
personnel. Mr Ellwood, who was
in the Royal Green Jackets for five years,
serving in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and
Germany, told 'The Sun' newspaper last
year he was "delighted" about the
introduction of the initiative. He said: "As
a former soldier, I am aware of the
personal attachment with the service ID.
"Carried at all times, it becomes symbolic
of the responsibility and there is a strange
sense of loss when upon departing the
Armed Forces, it is taken from you. "I'm
delighted this initiative, which sits in the
Armed Forces Covenant, will help us all
better recognise our veterans and their
service to our country." Read more here..
GET HELP NOW: Text Combat Stress
| 6 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
A new multi-million pound
military warship will be named
the HMS Sheffield, more than
three decades after its namesake
was hit by a missile in
New warship to be named HMS Sheffield
decades after namesake lost in Falklands
The state-of-the-art Type 26
frigate will be built in Scotland
as part of a ship building
scheme that will secure jobs
for more than 4,000 people
over the coming decades.
Defence Minister Stuart
Andrew announced the ship's
name at an event at
Cylinders in Sheffield. The
firm supplies high pressure
gas storage systems for the
ships. It will be the fourth ship
to carry the HMS Sheffield
name. The second, a Type 42
destroyer, was lost during the
Falklands War. Twenty people
died and 26 were injured
when a missile hit the vessel
in 1982. HMS Sheffield will be
at the forefront of our worldleading
Royal Navy for
decades to come, providing
cutting edge protection for
our aircraft carriers and nuclear
deterrent, and offering unrivalled
capability at sea. From
north to south, these ships
are truly a national endeavour,
built on centuries of
British expertise and supporting
thousands of businesses
like Chesterfield Special
Cylinders across the UK.
Defence boosts the economy
of Yorkshire and the Humber
economy by £232million
every year and it’s only right
the region’s significant contribution
to our national security
is recognised by the naming
of HMS Sheffield.– Defence
Minister Stuart Andrew. The
news came as the Defence
Secretary announced he will
retain three of the Royal
Navy’s patrol ships to bolster
Britain’s fishery protection
capability. HMS Tyne, HMS
Mersey and HMS Severn,
which currently support the
Fishery Protection Squadron,
had been in the process of
being decommissioned Read
more stories like this at ITV
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
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
folks, and welcome
Is it me,
or has this year
been cut in half. I
can't remember time
passing so quickly. The staff
here at the magazine have managed to cram so much into this
year, it's hard trying to remember all the stuff we had to deal
There have been some highs, and some lows, but we have
managed to keep the ship afloat. Pablo and Jane have had
their hands full with organising the relocation of the "Tommy
Atkins Centre", and all the logistics and infrastructure that
entails. Along with that, the Rewind Trauma Therapy operation
is getting under way, and by the time you read this we hope to
have a steady flow of veterans, keen to meet Dr Muss and be
helped by the fantastic opportunity that his system affords.
On the media front, we have managed to setup and successfully
broadcast interviews and podcasts to support the magazine. A
few teething problems posed issues in the beginning, but after
plenty of practice, and some willing volunteers, we have managed
to iron out the creases, and we have a very strong following,
and plenty of support for the new venture. Now that the
system is tried and tested, the plan is to take the show out on
the road, and meet plenty of our readers, and discuss "up close
and personal" the issues of the day. There is plenty of choice for
topics, from Brexit (if we really need to go there) and how it will
affect the military community. Also, the Veterans Strategy is
being rolled out. Some of you may have already received the
Survey for completion. It is an opportunity to "have your say",
and give feedback on what you think should be involved in the
process. This is definitely a topic that will run and run.
During the month of November, there was (and still is), a presence
at the Combat Stress centre (Audley Court) in Newport,
Shropshire. Gus Hales, a 62 year old Falklands Veteran, has
been trying to find out why he was discharged from their
care....on his doorstep, with no explanation, and no care package
to follow up. The talks still continue, with little progress
being made at this time. The story has made the press, and
also ITV and Sky News. It would appear, that the only resolution
in Mr hales opinion is for a full Public Inquiry into the systemic
failings of the organisation. A camp has been setup behind the
centre, resembling something like a military camp location....
remember those.....(shudder). It has sleeping accommodation,"pan
bash" area, cooks tent, and log burners for those that
are supporting the cause. It has been there three weeks now,
and could be there until Christmas if no solution or compromise
is found. Check out the "Minds At War" page on Facebook to
get the latest from "Stormin'" Norman McGuigan, how has been
instrumental in getting this subject noticed. Normans live broadcasts
keep folks up to date on events at Audley Court at regular
The continuing rise in suicide figures still gives cause for concern.
At the time of writing, we have lost 64 of our fellow brothers
and sisters through Mental Illness, and PTSD related issues.
51 of those are veterans, with 13 serving. On the upside, there
appears to be a lot of activity around social media on ways to
address the issues. Icarus Online, are a small organisation that
run courses to train people up on its "Immediate Care
Practitioner" courses run by David Bellamy and Simon Maryan,
with great success. This coupled with the Rewind Therapy soon
to kick in, should be a welcome resource for those looking for
I would like to say a big thank-you to Jeff Williams from
"Veterans United Against Suicide" for having the forsight and
commitment to setup the site, and give those in despair and
darkness, a small ray of hope to cling on to. Also my thanks to
Sarah Wells, Jules Bowley, Mia and Jen for supporting us
through quite a traumatic time. It means everything to the guys
Also, a big shout out to Davey Robb and his wife Bex for their
selfless commitment to helping the homeless in their area. Dave
is in the process of organising a system with ASDA at
Donnington Wood, Telford whereby folks that want to donate
items, and cant get into town, or just want to but something for
the homeless, can arrange it so that you can log on to ASDA in
Donnington Wood, and buy some items.....select the "Click and
Collect" option and pay.....and Davey and Bex will arrange to
pick the items up, and distribute them to the homeless.
Everything from sleeping bags, tampons, soap, shampoo, knickers,
socks......anything you would like to donate. Go find Davey
Robb on Facebook, and get the lowdown.... what a great idea at
this time of year!
Thats about it for this festive issue from me. As always, you can
catch me online on my daily broadcasts, or on my Facebook
Also, drop me a line at Jim@Sandbagtimes.com with any
images/topics you would like included in a future issue.
Have a great Christmas and New Year, and remember those that
are not so fortunate. It takes just a minute to check on someone,
and it may be all that is needed to make the recipient feel a
sense of worth and friendship.
Until the next issue, stay safe, and look after each other.
GET HELP NOW: SSAFA Helpline
0800 731 4880
| 8 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
Let her help you to open doors
100 not out.
In 2016, my coaching and mentoring support
for the military began with occasional
requests for help. The requests initially from
people who had served in The Royal Navy or
remembered when I worked as a civilian
instructor at the Army Education Centre in
Bordon Hampshire. However, the work
began in earnest in January 2017. This was
when I started posting this familiar post on a
‘4 not out’. The number referred to the
week in the year.
I cannot remember why I decided to use a
cricket metaphor – just very pleased I did.
Every week from 1stJanuary through to 31st
December 2017, my military and ex-military
clients have been‘opening doors’.
On 1stJanuary 2018, I began again. New
Year – new game. Or so I thought……..
2018 has been illuminating. The number of
job interviews, job offers and job starts has
been astonishing. A significant majority using
their ‘Master CV’ as a guide; for their second,
third, fourth, fifth and now their sixth
job.There is one former client who had 30 job
offers, 10 in one week alone. The job interviews
are for diverse employment sectors.
None are ‘entry level’ positions. All show
skills, knowledge, expertise and quiet visible
professionalism. The jobs and the clients I
support, are global.
premise is simple:
They help me to
open doors into new
In addition, they provide
placements and if
directly by phone or
face to facewith my
military client. On
LinkedinI refer to
them as my alumni.
Collectively, we quietly applaud when doors
are opened or when new qualifications have
been achieved. The cheers grow louder,
when the recent client becomes an alumni
and in time becomes a mentor. Last week a
member of the Open Door military family
used the phrase ‘the golden thread that binds
us.’ Poetic and apt.
My military and ex-mil CV clients have confirmed
job interviews up to Friday 30th
November. [Post written on 22 November].
100 consecutive weeks - since the Game
The word ‘Game’ has been chosen with care.
They know the rules of this Game. They have
worked hard and it shows. To misquote
[intentionally] the ‘7 P’s of the Royal Artillery’
Proper prepared preparation prevents pitifully
It is wonderful and humbling in equal measure,
to see first-hand how the ‘Open Door
military family’ supports, guides and engages
with each other. The tales are heart-warming.
Their work is conducted in the shadows.
Intentionally so. Only those that need to
know their identity, are aware. The fellowship
of mutual trust and respect is invigorating.
The alliance has strength and has teeth. The
I am incredibly honoured to be their Coach
and Mentor. The crafting of a new CV is just
the beginning of their journey.
The new ‘Game’ begins Sunday 2nd
We are ready.
GET HELP NOW: Combat Stress
0800 138 1619
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 9 |
HISTORICAL TOMMY ATKINS
As Seen On TV
By Peter Macey
Chiang Kai-shek was born into the
imperialist state of China on 1 October
1887. He became a politician and military
leader and rose to become leader of what
was to become the Replublic of China
between 1928 and 1975.
In December 1949 another, stronger leader
by the name of Mao Zedong appeared on
the scene and Chiang Kai-Shek was ousted
and escaped across the China Sea to the
island of Formosa. A war ensued between
Chiang and Mao, across the South China
Sea. Eventually the island was renamed
Taiwan. Despite Mao’s best efforts to bring
about change in the Country, Chiang Kai-
Shek, despite his absence, is still recognised
and remembered, by much of the world, as
the head of the legitimate government of
China until the early 1970’s.
From 1928 to 1948, Chiang served as
chairman of the national government of the
Republic of China. He was known as
socially conservative promoting traditional
Chinese culture but as such was unable to
maintain party support at the end of World
war II. Uprisings began as the people in
various regions of the Country became
aware of the teachings of Mao. Chiang
purged them in a complete massacre in
Shanghai and in the areas of Canton and
elsewhere. This included the demolition of
towns and the murders of men, women and
At the onset of the Second Sino-Japanese
war which was to become the Chinese
theater of war during WWII the Manchurian
warlord Xueliang, kidnapped Chiang and
forced him into establishing a Second
United front with the Chinese Communist
Party. After the defeat of the Japanese in
1945, the American Government sponsored
a mission in an attempt to negotiate a
coalition government for China but this
failed in 1946. The Chinese Civil War
resumed and Mao came to the forefront
defeating Chiang in and declaring the
People’s Republic of China in December
1949. Chiang's government and army
retreated to Formosa where Chiang
immediately imposed martial law and
persecuted anyone who dared to counter his
authority. This became known as the
‘White Terror’. After evacuating to
Formosa, Chiang's government continued to
declare its intention to retake mainland
China. Chiang ruled Taiwan securely as
President of China by name only until his
death in 1975, one year before Mao died.
Like Mao, Chiang is regarded as a
controversial figure. He was seen by many
as being a key player and playing a major
role in the Allied victory in WWII. He
managed to unify the nation and became
something of a national figure of the
Chinese resistance against Japan. Others
denounce him as tyrant and dictator who
caused more damage to China and the
Chinese people than Mao ever did.
Up until this point no-one had really
witnessed mass slaughters of innocent
people, although in fairness Japan had
carried out as much damage in Korea
practically enslaving all Korean’s to their
way of culture from the early 1930’s up
until the start of WWII.
During WWII the Hollacaust happened but
whilst people heard news about the camps,
very few actually saw what was going on or
the deaths what incurred due to one’s belief
In 1989 another uprising in China too place
in Tiananmen Square. Led primarily by
students it took place as a protest towards
Government rules. The Chinese
Government rolled out the tanks and guns,
slaughtering what is estimated to be up to
The difference this time was the world saw
this happen on television.
In the early 1990’s the Balkan war started
and again the slaughter of men, women and
children was witnessed by the world. As it
is today with Syria and must of what
Veterans who are reading this article will
have witnessed first-hand in Countries like
Iraq, Afghanistan, Croatia and Bosnia to
name but a few. And some people wonder
why our servicemen experience PTSD and
night terrors after some of the sights they
encounter during service.
But there is assistance out there through
contacting SBT or Forgotten Veterans UK
| 10 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
Patron to The Tommy Atkins Centre
UK VETERANS HEARING HELP
Paul Smith has become an
ambassador for UK Veterans
Hearing Help since having
successfully had his new
hearing devices fitted. Paul
cannot speak highly enough
about the care he received
and now promotes the service
to other Veteran colleagues
on how UKVHH provides a
first-class service to those with
Paul served in the Royal Navy
for some ten years and during
his time in Service, he was
subjected to training on
Morse Code, often using
machine guns and rifles as part of his training
and later in his Service, worked closely to
Helicopters all of which generated loud and
uncomfortable noise levels. On one of his
tours he was involved with missile testing frequently
using a 15mm machine gun and as
he had to work in the middle of the ship, he
was almost constantly exposed to this high
level of noise.
Like all individuals, he did not notice the hearing
loss and compensated however, his
friends and family did. He felt embarrassed
as he had to keep asking friends and family
to repeat themselves due to not hearing the
conversation clearly. It was his wife that
noticed his hearing was not as it should be
and made him go for a check on his hearing
levels. He tried both unsuccessfully NHS and
a national hearing company’s hearing device,
but they only felt uncomfortable.
Being an avid reader, he read about UKVHH
in the Leicester Mercury and decided to contact
them to see if they could improve his
quality of life. After the journey of being tested,
approved by the Royal British Legion
Veterans Hearing Fund, Paul and especially
his family and friends are more than delighted
with his new aids and he now feels more confident
in the company of others.
We at UK Veterans Hearing Help will guide
and support you throughout the process and
ensure that only the best care and after care
is given to you thereby ensuring that your
quality of life is improved. We are not just
here to administer your application, we are
here to care for you as an individual and that
means a great deal to us
Are you living for now? Or are you always waiting
for something to come along in the future?
| 12 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
Building Heroes is a charity providing
free skills training to the entire Military
family and support into employmentOur
aim is to tackle unemployment amongst
those who have kept us safe by offering
them a seamless transition to a new
career in construction.
The Building Heroes Foundation in
Property Maintenance Programme delivers
a free certified 5-week diploma
course at a variety of colleges around
What will I learn?
Your training will include the
Health safety and welfare in construction,
including CSCS training and examination
Brickwork, blockwork, rendering, plastering
Painting and decorating, tiling
Asbestos Awareness (either classroom
or on-line learning and test)
Routine maintenance tasks (e.g.
What are the qualifications?
The college will enrol you on a Level 1
qualification in Construction Skills. You
will be assessed on a range of skills
across the subjects studied. In addition,
you will receive a Level 1 Health and
Safety in the Construction Environment
and your Construction Skills Certification
Scheme (CSCS) card, essential for working
in the construction industry.
What happens after the course?
This will depend on your personal situation
and your career ambitions. We aim
to support you into a career in the building
trades, whether that is as an employee
or self-employed, or whether you
wish to continue your training. We will
provide guidance and advice appropriate
to your needs.
Where is the course delivered?
Chichester College, Brinsbury Campus,
Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire
Colchester Institute, Essex
Wiltshire College and University Centre,
How do I apply?
Please complete an application form. On
receipt of your form one of our team will
be in touch to discuss your application
and the available options
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 13 |
The Tommy Atkins Centre
Tommy Atkins Centre December
Here's wishing all our veteran community a
wonderful Christmas and New Year festivities.
As the weather grows colder over the winter
months a quick reminder to you all to call on that
elderly neighbour or friend who may be living
alone near to you. A brief visit every day to make
sure they are okay, and taking time to share a few
words with them to brighten up their day goes a
long way to making them feel less alone.
Perhaps you and your family could offer to run a
few errands for them or maybe take a hot meal
around occasionally. Your kindness will be
appreciated by most.
Since moving to our new location we at The
Tommy Atkins Centre have been very busy putting
together some exciting new projects to help make
life a little easier for our veteran community. We
are holding a coffee and mince pies morning on
Friday 14th December, all very welcome between
1000-1230. Might even persuade Pabs to get his
BTCC Champion, Matt Neal to Open
New Tommy Atkins Centre
Sandbag Times Patron and three times British
Touring Car Champion Matt Neal will officially open
the new Tommy Atkins Centre on 18th January
2019 at the KGV, Brickfields, Worcester.
The new facility, supplied by the Worcester
Community Trust, came in to operation earlier this
month with much improved facilities to support the
veterans community in Worcestershire and
guitar out and have a sing along of a few
Our Rewind Therapy is going from strength to
strength. Visit our website for the contact
information if you'd like to book a session. We
have a 24hr dedicated phone line for you to
leave your contact details, we will call you back
asap for a brief chat and to offer the necessary
help you need.
We will be holding our official launch for our
centre on January 18th at 1200, and have invited
Matt Neal our British Touring Car Patron to
officially open the centre for us. There will be
media representation present, and anyone
wishing to attend the launch is more than
welcome to attend. Come along and find out
what we're all about.
All that's left is to wish you all a healthy, safe and
happy time over the coming Christmas and New
Year. A very merry Christmas to you all. xx
brought up to speed on current issues and plans
within the centre.
Combat Stress, SSAFA and other veterans organisations
will also be present at the opening providing
an opportunity for the public to learn more
about the services and to meet the British Motor
Racing Legend who is taking time out prior to his
2019 BTCC Campaign to support veterans.
Backed by the Worcester City Council, it is
planned that this new site will be the first of three
facilities under the Tommy Atkins Banner to operate
within the region.
Matt, 52, has been a long supporter of the UK
Armed Forces and Veterans with many of his
friends having served. He became Patron of the
SBT in 2017 and regularly visits the centre to be
GET HELP NOW: Tommy Atkins Centre
| 14 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
TOMMY ATKINS CENTRE
The Tommy Atkins Centre
Supporting Veterans in the Community
c/o KGV Community Centre
10 Ash View
Fridays - 1000hrs-1430hrs
For Further Details:
Tel: 01746 833797/ 830191/ 872940
Fax: 01746 835774
Catterick Mil: 94731 2940
SAVED A SOLDIER
Music Producer, Charles Bailey and BRB
Come Together In An Awesome Project To
Support Veterans Charity Save Our Soldier
One of the most wonderful and heart-warming things about writing
this magazine is when we feature projects from the community that
support our veterans. It is the one way that the Armed Forces community
can truly see that the sacrifices they have made were really
worth it and appreciated.
The song, ‘Saved a Soldier’ written by Charles Bailey and the band
BRB, is one such project.
Music Produces, Charles, took inspiration from his friend, ex- Army
Medic, Steve Thompson, who was being
helped by the charity Save our Soldier.
Like many veterans, Steve had encountered
many difficulties and issues such as
deteriorating mental health and homelessness,
to name just a few. But thanks
to the support of the veterans charity, in
particular Lee Hayward (CEO) and
Debbie Banks, Steve is looking forward
to a brighter and more positive future. I
stress that the help and support is still
Charles also has family connections with
the military. His Grandfather served in
WW1 afterbeing sent directly to France
So with the inspiration and passion firmly
lodged in his mind, he set about writing
the song with Ashley, Bobby and Joel,
BRB are also the voices on the song,
sporting smooth styling and wonderfully
choreographed harmonies in what is
actually a love song between a woman
and her soldier.
Over the coming weeks, Charles and
BRB will be featured in many national
newspapers and hopefully a few TV
appearances which may even include
Breakfast TV. There will also be some airtime
on national Radio with dates still to
be confirmed. Watch this space.
Charles has also vowed that all profits be
given to Save our Soldier in order to
assist veterans like Steve.
| 116 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
Charles is also well known for his campaigns like Met
Police Recruitment, Don't Shoot, anti guns in schools,
Archbishop of Canterbury task force promoting credit
unions, Manchester United and Arsenal team songs
and so much more.
the song will be released on Friday 30th November on
itunes, Amazon and other popular music outlets. A
video will also be released on the same day featuring
top actress Leila Ayad and tells the story of a soldier
coming home and struggling with PTSD. BRB have
performed the song at a Remembrance event in
London this year and also featured in the recent boxing
tournament featuring ex-SAS veteran ‘Big’ Phil
Lee from Save our Soldier said:
“We helped save the life of a soldier, this individual
knew Charles Bailey - producer, Charles had a thought
to support the charity in some way. He contacted us,
spoke to one of our coaches Debbie, who indicated
that the majority of the calls we receive, indeed come
from the wives/partners. Charles chatted this through
with the band" brb", collaborated and co-produced a
song. The song is titled: "Saved a Soldier".
Save Our Soldier, receives many calls, for help and
enquiries of what to do. The majority by far, come from
the partners of the person suffering - for the most part,
wives, fiancées or girlfriends. Because they called, it
eventually opens the door to their partner receiving
much needed help - often saving their life. This charity
does it's part... but the partner is the one who deals with
this on a daily basis, behind closed doors. This is a way
for their partners to be recognised to express the deep
thank you they feel inside, a thank you for being there
through thick and thin and for saving their life.”
To find out more about the song, Charles or the band
the please go to the following links.
You can also find out more on Save our Soldier by visiting
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 17 |
Christmas Messages to our Armed F
Dear UK soldiers
You don't know me
We're do not stand for the same flag
But just like in the History
The bullet you stopped for your homeland,
Stopped from coming to my home too.
Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Ronald Hutasuhut, Indonesia
Stay safe this Christmas, respect & thanks for
all you do.
You maybe away from family and friends at a
special time of year. Stay safe and thank you.
Merry Christmas to all our troops with total
Thank you for keeping us safe, yesterday,
today and tomorrow. A merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year to you all
Merry Christmas and Thank you One & All
With Respect always xx
Merry Christmas to all our troops wherever
you are stay safe God bless xx❤?
Have the best christmas you can we are all
thinking of you all take care and have a good
Merry Christmas to ALL serving & ex serving
warriors,have a great leave/holiday & I wish
you all the very best.
Merry christmas and happy new year im so
proud of all of all the serving forces and the
ex Service men to safe christmas where ever
you are xx
Wishing peace, love and goodwill to all our
serving forces, and a special thought to all
our veteran community too. May you all have
a wonderful Christmas wherever you are. x
From a old veteran, keep smiling, keep up to
the fantastic job you all are doing, have a
good as christmas you can, keep your butt
down and your head lower, but mainly COME
HOME SAFE,, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL,
WE ARE PROUD OF YOU ALL, God bless,
No matter where you are serving around the
globe, merry xmas and stay safe. Worcester
Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club x
Christmas Greetings to One & All Thank You
for keeping us Safe
Stay safe boys and girls, hope you
have a brilliant Christmas wherever
you are this year.
To all our veterans everywhere,
thank you for your service. May your
Christmas and New Year bring
you joy and new opportunities.
Merry Christmas to all personnel
deployed and to all that
I would like to wish all
our troops, veterans,
serving or ex serving
New Year. Thank you
for your service. With
love from (the momma
of all troops.)
Christmas to all
that are keeping
Wishing you all a merry Christmas where ever
this finds you, and a special Christmas wish
for those who wont get home on R & R especially
the Guards Jumpers on Operation
| 18 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO OUR TROOPS AND VETERANS
orces and Veterans from our Readers
Jack ..David 's and Lily's Christmas
Bursting With Excitement, Come on Kids Time
Whispers Little Jack,'' Did You Hear What
If We Are Good Little Girls and Boys,
Santa's Coming With Lots of Toys,
I Would Rather We Had Daddy Lily Cried,
David Pulled Lily to His Side,
Being the Oldest, Wise Beyond Years,
He Set About Calming Lily's Fear's,
Daddy Is a Soldier, and He Is Fighting a War,
But Don't Worry Both, Only a Few Months More,
And Daddy Will Come Walking Through the
Prayers Said, They Climb Into Bed,
Little Eyes Close,
Some One Creeping on the Landing
,and Creeping on Tippy Toes,
Father Christmas Stops by Each
Gently Touching Each Tiny Head.
Daddy's Home..merry Christmas
Jack ..David ...Lily.
Lucy's dad was a soldier,
He went to Afghanistan,
Every night Lucy would
Dear Jesus ,
bring my daddy home if you
Christmas day was nearly
Still no sign of dad,
Lucy went of to bed feeling
Christmas morning came,
Still no sign of dad,
Although she tried to
deep down she felt
Mummy smiled at
her and said
Just look by the
There was the
biggest box ever
,Mummy is that for
Open it quickly ,
tell me What can you
Lucy let out the biggest scream ever
IT'S DADDY , HE'S COME HOME TO ME
by S.A.English ©
Under the mistletoe
Under the mistletoe
where kisses come and go,
a little girl will grow.
Poaching her rosy lips
while nodding fingertips
under the mistletoe.
A little girl in a fancy dress
spilling porridge, what a mess!
Waiting for her Santa's kiss
if he comes, or if he miss!
He might just come and go
under the mistletoe.
One kiss under a tree
One in a stockings glee
what might it be
in kisses she can't see?
A little girl will grow
under the mistletoe.
The secrets at her lips
touched by fingertips.
Cheerful that she might
find her kisses to night,
as she comes and goes
under those mistletoe's.
The Guns Fell Silent
The guns fell silent and the world stopped to listen.
T’was Christmas Day in the trenches, suddenly
peace was upon us.
Soldiers were brothers again no matter race or
Gifts were exchanged and the game began
This was a victory, not for country, but for
No cries of war and suffering just cheers of joy
and laughter, filling the air.
Thoughts going back to the loved ones at
home, oh to be there for a Christmas kiss.
Tomorrow it’s back to war and new friends today
will no longer be.
But peace prevailed if only briefly just for
Christmas and we believed.
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 19 |
It’s the time of year that brings so many joys
Carols being sung makes such a cheerful
Children finding it hard to fall asleep
Their curtains twitching as they take a peep
Trees decorated with tinsel and lights
Presents found underneath always excites
All these things bring a little yuletide cheer
Stars of the panto putting on a show
A man dressed in red shouting ho ho ho
His reindeer pulled sleigh dashes through the
Hoping snow falls turning everything white
Take a ride down the hillside on our sleigh
Throwing snowballs is a game we all play
All these things bring a little yuletide cheer
Time for all to have some fun and laughter
With a big party to raise the rafters
As we hang up our stocking by the fire
Then hope their filled with the things we
Sending cards to family and friends galore
Making holly wreaths to hang on our door
All these things bring a little yuletide cheer
Let’s all join in to spread some yuletide cheer
Dead lights and Fairy lights
Though you don't see me I am there.
While you stagger home from the Christmas
party I see you stare.
When you're shopping for the turkey.
I am spending the day feeling hungry.
While you're at home with your families.
I am under a bridge all alone and abandoned.
Betrayed by the self righteous elite.
Snubbed by the people I swore to protect.
This is the land that was fit for heroes.
And what I got in return was a big fat zero.
But in the despair, anger and pain of my
There are the angels who bring me back into
From the fags and brews.
To the warm clothes and comfy shoes.
From the safety from my mental health.
To giving me confidence and a reclaimed
sense of self.
The ones who reach out to help.
Even when they are free to turn their backs.
The ones who refuse to see me cold.
The ones who refuse to see me hungry.
The good, the kind, the old and the young.
They don't see a homeless man.
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
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO OUR TROOPS AND VETERANS
They see the headdress and they see.
The eyes and number of a serviceman.
Their warmth brings joy.
Their care brings hope.
Their kindness gives me the strength to cope.
This display of the Christmas spirit.
It makes me stop and think.
The goodness and honour of the human spirit.
Will never cease to exist.
On Christmas Eve (Holy Night)
On Christmas Eve (All is calm)
On Christmas Eve (All is bright)
Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
By Jane Shields
As I get my head down.
I know all is well and right.
That people like this exist on this silent night.
It’s that time of year I dread and fills my heart
with lead.Heavy feeling of wanting, but not
knowing how, is taunting.Smiling faces at
Xmas, makes me sad and anxious.Being
alone is my heaven, to hide all those unhidden
cravings.Sitting by my Xmas tree, watching
my lights sparkle.Eaten my turkey on my
own, as this where, I feel at home.
By Andria MacMurray
Christmas Eve (Silent Night)
It's all so very still tonight
The night air is crisp and clear
Snow is laying pure and bright
On Christmas Eve life's full of cheer
Snuggled up safely in warm beds
Children dream sugar plum dreams
Fantasies run through their heads
As tomorrows happiness streams
On Christmas Eve (Silent night)
On Christmas Eve (Holy Night)
On Christmas Eve (All is calm)
On Christmas Eve (All is bright)
Outside the magic fills the air
The atmosphere comes alive
Silence strains through winters ears
For Christmas day's yet to arrive
On Christmas Eve (Silent night)
On Christmas Eve (Holy Night)
On Christmas Eve (All is calm)
On Christmas Eve (All is bright)
Every child awaits their treats
Toys and books and games and sweets
Chocolates and candy canes
Barbie dolls, electric trains
On Christmas Eve (Silent night)
MERRY CHRISTMAS MRS M
Are you wrapped up nice and warm.
In your comfy bed,
DO you dream about the ex soldier
With nowhere to lay his head,
And when on Christmas morning,
You sit around the tree
Do you think of all the veterans,
Your party made so many promises,
None of which have been kept,
Cant help wondering Mrs May
Just how well you slept .
So this is Christmas.
So this is Christmas.
All is quiet, all is white,
Voices sing silent night
A lonely man wends his way,
looking for somewhere warm to stay
His four legged friend run's on ahead,
He know's just where to find a bed,
The church door is open,
They both creep in
To pinch baby Jesus’s blanket
would that be a sin,
I really don't think that God will mind,
It's Christmas eve .
PEACE TO MAN KIND
By s.a.english ©
The Sandbag Times would like to wish all of our Armed
Forces and Veterans a very Merry and Peaceful Christmas
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 21 |
A cracking new self help guide to beat
PTSD by Kevin Lloyd-Thomas
In May 2011, Australian Infantry combat veteran
Kevin Lloyd-Thomas walked away from
The book, “Beat PTSD - How A Combat
Soldier Conquered Chronic PTSD To Live A
Life That Truly Matters And How You Can
Too,” is the worlds first and only “How to/Self
help book, written by a veteran specifically for
serving men and women, veterans and their
families. It hasa global audience.
Grabbing life back by the throat, Kevin developed
and implemented specific plans and
strategies to turn his life around.
It’s about “Parachute thinking.” “Your mind is
like a parachute - It only works when it’s
It's about surviving and thriving in peace time
after returning from a war zone, says Kevin.
By implementing the five step life plan, setting
your own goals, with the seven pillars of
success, tailoring it to suit your own requirements,
you'll be able to set yourself up on the
to achieving whatever it is in life you want, no
matter what your current circumstances
Raw, Riveting and Real. Says Tim Thomas,
Special Forces Medic in Afghanistan
“Beat PTSD” is like a beacon in the wilderness.
This unique book is for those still serving,
or for those struggling in the civilian
world, those torn apart by PTSD, fearful of
asking for help because of stigma, knowing
their career is under direct threat.
Beat PTSD addresses the key issues of veterans
families breaking up due to PTSD, related
domestic violence, and the distressing
effects on children.
For Your Tommorrow
Produced by FVUK to mark the Centenary of the Armistice, this is
not just a book of poems. Through a series of history articles and
images alongside the Great War poems and modern day works, all
featuring biographies of the poets, the pages will take you through
the war, with the words of poems written at the time and events
that changed the world.
For more information and to purchase your copy go to:
GET HELP NOW: NHS England South East
020 3317 6818
| 22 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
Peace and Good Will to All Men...
As we arrive at Christmas once more, our minds are scrambling
around preparing for the annual festivities. Presents, Turkeys,
decorations, shopping, you name it, it’s taking over. The commercial
machine takes over once more, Yet while we fight the
crowds and tolerate Slade, Wizzard and Shaking Stevens yet
again, how many of us actually use Christmas for what it is
The commercialisation of Christmas has meant we have taken
on a whole plethera of meaningless traditions and customs,
All of the best gifts come straight from the heart. Maybe check
up on people, in particular for this magazine, our veterans who
maybe having a hard time. Go have a laugh with them for a little
Finally, remember what it is all about. Although dates of the
year maybe in dispute, the birth of Christ, at this time of year
represents nothing but joy and celebration. Take a few
moments to thank him for all the good in your life.
That’s really it. Very simple, but so important. In fact this message,
although we emphasise these things at Christmas Time,
they are the very essence of how we should be all year round.
I do hope what every you are doing over the festive period that
you have a very wonderful and very peaceful time. Although
my way of thinking does not suit everybody, I shall still pray for
peace and happiness for all of our readers, veterans and Armed
Forces over the most wonderful time of the year.
Merry Christmas All
although most are fun and add to the enjoyment of the season,
But there are a few that still hold the original meaning which I
think should be kept. Nothing drastic, just basic thoughts and
feelings. Firstly, Peace to all men. This is a good time to
remind ourselves how rewarding it is to forgive. Not for our own
benefit but as God does, to cast all sins against us to eternal
forgetfulness. Not the easiest thing but it does wipe a lot of
slates clean. Well worth doing. Yes we should do this all year
round but maybe remembering this at Christmas may just help.
Goodwill to all men. All this means is be kind to each other.
There are a myriad of ways we can do this apart from gift giving.
GET HELP NOW: NHS England North
0191 441 5974
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 23 |
COMBAT STRESS BECOMES
ARMY v NAVY CHARITY FOR 2019
Combat Stress is honoured to have been
selected as the chosen charity of next year’s
Army v Navy rugby match which will take
place at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 14
The annual match is the largest amateur
sporting event in the UK and regularly draws
a capacity crowd of 81,000 to the home of
English rugby. Combat Stress will be collecting
money around the stadium on the day
and the charity will receive £1 from every programme
that is sold and £1 from every
reusable cup that is returned to specific charity
bins around the stadium.
Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat
“It’s a great honour to be the chosen charity
of the Army v Navy 2019 match. With more
than 80,000 people expected to attend, it will
be a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness
of veterans’ mental health and the importance
of seeking help.
“Next year marks Combat Stress’ centenary.
From our 100 years’ experience of supporting
former servicemen and women with mental
health issues, we know how vital it is they
receive the best possible treatment. Every
penny raised for Combat Stress at the match
will enable us to continue providing lifechanging
treatment to veterans in need of
“We look forward to seeing everyone at
Twickenham Stadium and wish the Army and
Royal Navy teams the very best of luck.”
Gary Bushell Chairman of the Army Navy
Match Committee said:
“We are delighted to welcome Combat Stress
as the chosen charity of the day for the 2019
Army Navy Match. Combat Stress are the
UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental
health. They provide life-changing treatment,
care and support to help veterans tackle the
past and take on the future. The Committee,
along with both Unions, were unanimous in
their support for Combat Stress to be the
charity of the day for the 102nd Army Navy
fixture, we wish them well and we hope they
enjoy being part of the event.”
Andy, an Army veteran who was helped by
Combat Stress said:
“It’s great that the Army v Navy match is
fundraising for Combat Stress. It’s one of the
biggest days of the year for both Forces and I
hope everyone gets behind the charity to
raise lots of money for them.
“Before I contacted Combat Stress, I was
struggling with anxiety, depression, anger
and guilt. It was frightening not knowing what
was happening to me. Combat Stress helped
me to understand I had post-traumatic stress
disorder and gave me the tools to manage
my symptoms. Now thanks to them I’ve got
my life back.”
| 24 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
Fundraiser climbs mountain
in aid of charity
A logistics firm director has reached new heights after
climbing Africa’s highest mountain for charity.
Mark Elward, who lives in Worcester, scaled Mount
Kilimanjaro in aid of Turn to Starboard, a sailing charity
helping Armed Forces personnel affected by military
The challenge saw Mark and two friends climb almost
6,000m high to reach the top of the mountain at
Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. He was inspired
to trek to the summit in aid of the charity as part of his
ongoing support to help injured veterans.
Turn to Starboard use sail training to support injured
veterans and has helped many start new careers in
the marine industry. The charity, based at Falmouth in
Cornwall, was set up four years ago and believes sailing
has a therapeutic effect on veterans and has provided
almost 2,000 sailing opportunities.
Mark and his group trained for over a year to prepare
to reach the summit, by trekking at the Brecon
Beacons in Wales, and finally set off for their adventure
on October 21.
And for the 52-year-old, having the opportunity to
climb to one of the world’s most iconic volcanoes, is a
bucket list dream come true.
“The idea of Kilimanjaro has been on my bucket list
for a few years now and last year myself and a group
of friends decided to set a date and start training. Turn
| 26 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
TURN TO STARBOARD
to Starboard was the chosen charity because of the
great work that they do and I totally get the therapeutic
effect that sailing can have, being on the vast
ocean with nothing around you is a great way to clear
your mind and the positive impact that the charity is
having on veterans and their families is inspiring.
“To climb the mountain we chose the Lemosho Route
which takes eight days and gives you the best chance
to acclimatize, with an 88% chance of reaching the
summit. For the first few days, unlike the rest of my
party, I didn’t suffer any real effects of altitude sickness,
that was until the day we climbed to the summit.
“Leaving our tents at midnight and after a seven hour
trek to the top, my symptoms became quite severe
with vomiting, nausea, headache and hallucinations, it
was clear it was time to get down the mountain quite
“After a rapid descent I soon started to feel better and
we got to the hotel the next day for a well-deserved
hot shower and a cold beer. The highlight was without
doubt the views from the top and the most challenging
part was the last day at the hotel where I went
down with chronic food poisoning!”
Mark, who works as Commercial Director at Whistl
Fulfilment at Farnborough in Hampshire, raised
£1,102 for the charity on the expedition.
Find out more at turntostarboard.co.uk.
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 27 |
Ross Kemp helps to launch
Walking Home For Christmas
Walking With The Wounded is hugely grateful
to TV star, Ross Kemp, who joined us on
Millennium Bridge early on Monday morning
in order to back this year’s Walking Home
For Christmas campaign. Ross joined
WWTW Ambassador, Tom Evans, and a
remarkable team of veterans who had all
received support from Walking With The
Wounded and Help for Heroes after leaving
the Armed Forces. Ross walked alongside
them, battling strong winds and heavy downpours,
all the way to the Cenotaph on
Whitehall in order to raise the profile of
Britain’s wounded veterans who are at risk,
battling unemployment, isolation and struggling
with their mental health.
The aim of the walk was to call on Brits
across the country to put their best foot forward
to raise much-needed cash to help veterans
and their families – simply by going for
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the
men and women who risk their own lives to
make Britain – and the world - a safer place
for us all,” said Ross. “Yet when they return,
people in the Armed Forces often struggle to
adapt to civilian life – and rarely get the
heroes’ welcome they deserve.They may find
themselves alone, struggling to find work –
or even a home – and many are also struggling
with their mental health after witnessing
scenes in battle that you or I cannot imagine.
But just by going for a walk in the run-up to
Christmas, you can raise money that is
essential to help these brave men and
women who have risked their own lives thousands
of miles from home. Anyone can raise
money for Walking Home For Christmas by
taking part in a sponsored walk between
December 13th – 23rd – whether it’s taking a
present to a loved one or walking to a place
that means something to you."
All funds raised from this year’s campaign
will be split between Walking With The
Wounded and Help for Heroes to pay for
vital support for veterans at risk. For example:
• £150 could pay for a one-day
• £300 could pay for mentoring support
to start up a business
• £675 is the average cost to receive
12 mental health therapy sessions
Duncan struggled with depression and alcohol
after leaving the Army – and even
became homeless – but is now back in work
and rebuilding his life thanks to support from
Walking With The Wounded.
“In the Army you believe you’re invincible
and that nothing is going to hurt you. But
when you come out you realise you’re not
Superman and that what can hurt you may
well not be physical but might be something
inside,” said Duncan. “It took a long time
getting to the point where I admitted I needed
to speak to somebody but it was a massive
help getting to that point.
“To anyone wondering about taking part in
Walking Home for Christmas, please get off
the bus or train early, put your Santa hat on
and walk home – you could be helping a veteran
on the way to fitting into civilian life.”
What better way to serve those who have
served us? Signing up for Walking Home for
Christmas is easy and free! Simply head to
www.walkinghomeforchristmas.com and register
for your fundraising pack today.
| 28 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
AGE UK Helps Worcester Veteran Obtain Medal After 34 Years
George got in touch with the
Worcestershire Age UK
Veterans Service through a
veteran friend we had supported
with advice and guidance.
George did National
Service between 1954 and
1956. The years have
dimmed his memory but
when he met with me he was
very happy to recount some
of his experiences. It soon
became clear that he had not
obtained a Veteran’s badge
and, given that he served in
the Suez Canal zone, that we
needed to investigate
whether he was entitled to a
General Service medal.
George became animated
when he spoke of guarding a
Jerry Can factory. He
recalled that Egyptian’s had
broken in and were stealing
cans. He believes he was in
the Port Said area. George
completely downplayed that
fact that he was in a conflict
zone and was encamped in
an area that came under fire.
George, like many servicemen
we have encountered,
commented ‘I only did
National Service!’ I checked
the award criteria and assisted
George in completing an
application for a GSM as well
as a Veteran’s badge.
George received his badge
first. Then, in view of the fireworks
he faced in the Canal
Zone, it was a great pleasure
to hear from George on 5th
November 2018 that he had
been awarded the GSM.
UK Veterans Hearing Help
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 29 |
Help us support our
Armed Forces and
Emergency Services Veterans
Join now at
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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
| 3832 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
This year, Remembrance Sunday appropriately was
November 11th, 100 years since the Armistice was signed
effectively ending the fighting in Europe and the rest of the
World. The parades around Saltcoats, Ardrossan and
Stevenston belong to the community and all were welcome
to attend, march and participate. Many veterans and
families wore medals of relatives and wore them with
pride. A few little surprises cancelled on us at the last
minute however we did have the company of The Scottish
Military Vehicle Group and WW1 re enactors lining the
route during the parade. Some of whom travelled from as
far away as Dunoon to volunteer there time for all those
we lost during the war. Total respect to you all and thank
Veterans Breakfast Clubs
Saltcoats Parade Marks
Remembrance 100 in Fine Style
change out of my wet uniform but I did manage along to
the Stevenston war memorial just in the nick of time to pay
my respects. Well done everyone involved I know how
hard you've worked this year and it certainly paid off.
Look out for the planting of the time capsule at Saltcoats
War Memorial next week.
Remember if you have anything you'd like put in the capsule
before burial please do let us know.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
At this year’s parade we had a column of veterans proudly
marching with us as there was no need to belong to any
ex services organisation, they just marched with us with
there heads held high. Those of whom were unable to
march were seated in the Melbourne Cafe so they could
keep warm and dry. We had a huge number of groups
marching in the parade, far too many to mention and the
deputy lieutenant from Ayrshire and Arran Matt Smith in
attendance (and whom like the rest of us got a jolly good
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
This was a once in a lifetime chance and never to be
repeated opportunity to participate and I was really overwhelmed
with the turnout despite the weather. There are
525,600 minutes in this year, on the 11th November at
11am we all spent 2 of those minutes reflecting and
remembering those who paid the price so that we can
enjoy the remaining 525,598 in peace and freedom. I
salute each and everyone who took part, volunteered and
helped set up this momentus day, what an absolutely terrific
team effort by all.
The parade was live streamed by Eddy and his team from
Ayrshire Film company and we had a wonderful flow of
photographers. Thanks to Elaine at the Melbourne for
allowing us to display our WW1 memorabilia on loan from
my dear friend Pete Scally and Poppy Scotland.
Thanks to all our parade marshalls, councillors, local
groups, schools, history groups, flag bearers, isle of cumbrae
pipe band (who also piped at the war memorial at
6am), adelaide college who provided the sound system,
local veterans, breakfast club, legion, melbourne cafe for
opening early providing free food and drink after the
parade, The labour Club for the hot food and drink and
the Stevenston Masonic for the lovely food and drink too.
The Saltcoats Parade has never been so successful and
with such a brilliant team effort all round am really looking
forward to next years parade!
Despite the horrendous weather and boy did the heavens
open, it was a truly remarkable morning and a day I'll
I didn't manage to make the Ardrossan parade as I had to
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 33 |
A word from the Ed
Ways to find us
Those keen followers of the SBT
will notic that we have been
posting the main magazine out
every 5 weeks and been upping
the newsletters. This has just
been to get the monthly issues
just back into the month they are
supposed to be in. We are almost
there so please bear with us.
The Remembrance 100 issue
arrived last week and we are now
in the process of posting out our
last remaining copies. I want to
say thank you to everybody who
bought a copy or donated for the
online issue. After printing and
posting costs, we raised enough
to fund the hardware and
software for the new Veterans
Online Rewind Therapy System
by the Tommy Atkins Centre,
due to be launched very shortly.
We are hoping that this could
make a considerable positive
impact on the current veteran
suicide crisis. More to follow on
that over the coming weeks. On
the subject of the Tommy Atkins
Centre, you may have seen that it
has been relocated and will be
officially opened by our patron
and three times BTCC champion,
Matt Neal on 18th January 2019.
We are very privilleged to be
able to grab Matt at this time as
he will also be preparing for the
new season due to start in April.
You may also notice that the
Caption Competition has
restarted to the right and below,
give it a go for a bit of fun. We
do enjoy getting your replys, if
nothing else they brighten up our
Finally, I would like to take this
opportunity to wish you all a
very merry Christmas and to
thank you for your continued
support with this magazine. We
hope you enjoy this festive
edition and look forward to more
editions of the Sandbag Times
Veterans Magazine in 2019.
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
| 34 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
A brand new section celebrating the warped
sense of humour of our British Armed Forces
A Military Christmas Tale
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the
skies, Air defenses were up, with electronic eyes.
Combat pilots were nestled in ready-room beds,
As enemy silhouettes danced in their heads.
Every jet on the apron, each SAM in its tube,
Was triply-redundant, linked to the Blue Cube,
And ELINT and AWACS gave coverage so dense
That nothing that flew could slip through our defence.
When out of the klaxon arose such a clatter
I dashed to the screen to see what was the matter;
I increased the gain and then, quick as a flash,
Fine-adjusted the filters to damp out the hash.
They turned toward the target, moved toward it, converged.
Till the tracks on the radar all finally merged,
And the sky was lit up with a demonic light,
As the foe met his fate in the high arctic night.
So we sent out a recce to look for debris,
Yet all that they found, both on land and on sea
Were some toys, a red hat, a charred left leather boot,
Broken sleigh bells, white hair, and a deer's parachute.
Now it isn't quite Christmas, with Saint Nick shot down.
There are unhappy kids in each village and town.
For the Spirit of Christmas can't hope to evade
All the web of defenses we've carefully made.
But a crash program's on: Working hard, night and day,
All the elves are constructing a radar-proof sleigh.
So let's wait for next Christmas, in cheer and in health,
For the future has hope: Santa's coming by stealth!
And there found the source of the warning we'd heeded:
An incoming blip, by eight escorts preceded.
"Alert status red!" went the word down the wire,
As we gave every system the codes that meant "FIRE!"
On Aegis! Up Patriot, Phalanx and Hawk,
And scramble our fighters--let's send the whole flock.
Launch decoys and missiles, use chaff by the yard!
Get the kitchen sink up! Call out the Guard!
Back issues of The Sandbag Times are available to download here
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 35 |
MRS FOX GOES TO WAR
Mrs Fox Goes
The Chronicles of Little Hope
1939 - 1945
Villager of the month:
Mrs Lavina Fox
Lavinia Fox. Old school. Born 'behind the Colours'
to military parents somewhere in India at a date
she keeps conveniently forgetting to mention.
Hardy perennial Girl Guide. Diarist. Avid collector
of odd people. Scourge of the Wehrmacht.
Churchill’s greatest admirer (read: stalker).
Letter of the Month
There’s a cautionary tale from Hilda Ffinch this festive season!
The moral: Better a pig in the bath than a night in
The Stoker’s Arms...
Miss Dora Millington
7th April 1942
Dear Ms Ffinch,
Dear Ms Ffinch,
I share my home with my great aunt Doris - a wonderfully
stoic lady who is an admirably self sufficient character.
Anyhow, I have just returned home from my weekly WI
meeting, I was greeted by the hanging corpse of a fully
grown pig over our bath tub!
Fortunately for Winston, the Cabinet War Rooms
were jolly secure...
The Bird With All The Answers
To say it was a shock to see this big porker hanging in the
bathroom is an understatement and I wonder how on
earth to broach the subject of having a bath this evening.
The thought of wallowing in the bath tub with pig trotters
dangling over my head makes me feel rather queasy.
Please could you advise on how to broach the subject of
how I may perform my necessary ablutions?
Dora Millington (miss)
If, as I suspect, your great aunt Doris is actually Doris
‘Curmudgeon’ Millington, the former landlady of The
Stoker’s Arms on the moor above Greater Hope, where the
best brawn in Yorkshire was to be had prior to the Meat
Emporium on the High Street here in Little Hope opening,
then you’re skating on very thin ice indeed, my dear.
Let me take you back to the great blizzard of 1913 (long
before my time, obviously) to the night when your great
aunt first appeared at The Stoker’s Arms, having travelled
| 36 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk
THE CHRONICLES OF LITTLE HOPE
alone through the deepening snow from Nottingham
on a mercy mission from her father (Mr Sweeney
Millington of Millington’s Pie Shop, High Pavement,
Nottingham), carrying two barrels of Shipstone’s India
Pale Ale, a small sack of ‘meat seasoning’ and a crate of
candles on her back as Arthur - the usual drayman -
had put his back out trying to get it up the Great North
Road, as it were, and the horses were having none of it
on account of snowballs in their hoofs.
Exhausted and sweating like Jack the Ripper at a surprise
party held by Inspector Abbeline of the Yard,
Doris staggered in to The Stoker’s Arms at sunset on a
Tuesday evening and was immediately swept off her
feet by a grateful Landlord and twelve thirsty steelworkers
(who had left Sheffield on a charabanc outing
three days before and had become prisoners of the
storm). None of them had seen a woman – or daylight
– for quite some time and so Miss Millington was quite
the centre of attention at first until the storm worsened
and food began to run out.
For seven days and seven nights the gods raged
against mankind, pipes froze and village pumps came
off in the hand when agitated with too much vigour.
The lights of the marooned inn on the moor, bright and
gay at first, quite magnificent with their Pickwickian
sparkle and glitter, were seen from the church tower in
Greater Hope to dim gradually, diminish in number and
Finally the day came when the storm blew itself out
and a small party of men from the Greater Hope Ferret
Fanciers Forum wrapped themselves up snugly, and
preventing their thighs from freezing on the journey
across the moor by diligently adhering to the Forum’s
accepted ferret/trouser leg ratio, and set out on a rescue
mission to The Stoker’s Arms, dragging a sledge
loaded up with damson chutney, bread and lard behind
them. For five or more hours they toiled up towards
the moor, digging through the frozen precipitation like
frenzied badgers until at last they reached the door to
the inn. Bracing themselves and fully expecting to be
confronted with a tableau rivalling Madam Tussaud’s
‘The last moments of Robert Falcon Scott and his
unfortunate friends’ (price: two shillings on admission),
they pushed the door open and peered in only to find
Doris Millington wallowing in a tin bath (full, and with
enough steam to preserve her dignity, thankfully) in
front of a roaring fire, sipping on half a pint of pale ale
and singing ‘When the Midnight choo-choo leaves for
Alabam’, only pausing occasionally to nibble on a slice
of brawn on toast.
There was not another soul to be found at the inn that
day, though the Ferret Fanciers Forum searched the
place from top to bottom, no easy task in itself given
that the landlord had clearly expected the storm to be
bad and had evidently stocked up on enough brawn to
withstand a siege. The inn’s larder was overflowing with
it, there were two large clear jars of it on the counter in
the bar and a recently cut tea plate full on the table in
Doris explained, when questioned by Constable
Crumble (a leading light in the Ferret Fanciers Forum
and thus a member of the rescue party), that the landlord
and the steelworkers, concerned that they might
succumb to starvation at The Stoker’s Arms on account
of the raging blizzard outside (none of them liked
brawn, apparently, they were all vegetarians) had set off
en masse for the village the morning after her arrival, to
try to bring help or at the very least, some lettuce and a
bit of cucumber for some sandwiches, and she hadn’t
seen hide nor hair of them since.
“But there were no footprints outside the inn, when we
arrived!”frowned Constable Crumb, “Not so much as an
indentation or undulation!”
“The snow,” replied Doris, “Was positively horrid. I
shouldn’t think they’ll be seen again. The landlord left
his Last Will and Testament on the bar, just in case, he
insisted on leaving the Inn to me if he failed to return.
Now, would you like a meat pie? I found some pork in
the cellar and whipped eighteen of them up this morning.
Constable Crumble declined the pie, but did have some
brawn, liberally topped with the damson chutney the
rescue party had bought with them. He always maintained
that it was the best brawn he’d ever tasted, an
interesting texture and – even better - he was the lucky
winner of Doris Millington’s ‘Find the gold filling in the
“Do keep it,” said Doris, “I always like to pop one in, you
may not have any fillings now but keep it safe as one
day you may need it, you never know...”
Clearly, ‘Dingley Dell’ had become ‘Dingley Hell’,
although Constable Crumble always refused to believe it
and soon afterwards gave up the police force for a position
behind the flap, as it were, in Doris Millington’s
newly acquired public house with the intriguing doorknobs.
And so, my dear Dora, I'd be inclined to keep mum
about the swinging porker in the bathroom if I were
you. If you feel that you need to have a word with your
Great Aunt Doris regarding the same then please, do
carry on. Personally, I would advise you to err on the
side of caution however and perhaps just hop on in
there, wink at 'Dangling Percy' and use the odd trotter
in lieu of a nail brush.
Good luck living with Mrs Miggins.
The Bird With All The Answers
Thank you for following the adventures of Mrs Fox and
the Villagers of Little Hope this year, we all wish you a
Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Keep safe,
Sincerely, Miss Virginia Hotfoot
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 37 |
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Poet of the Month
This month’s poetry comes from Colin Baker who has written
for charity 100 things to remember which is military poetry
based on some experience, some real life stories and some
about the forgotten heroes who live in the streets.
Under the railway bridge at the tower lie a gentleman or two
who we normally just look and pass swiftly as they beg for
money from me and from you
They used to be men of pride and valour but have now been
left on the shelfthere is nobody there to help then really so
they have to look after themselves
On the cold wet winter’s day life is nothing but misery and
fear they are unkempt untidy so nobody really wants to be
Underneath their blankets they hide from the cold and damp
surrounds they lay there on their cardboard bed on a cold
and unfriendly ground
What they hide under their blanket so nobody can admire
what they have doneare medals of honour and valour for the
wars they have fought in and won
Next time you pass one of those strangers please do have
some pride and some care for a penny to them is a godsend
and if we give and smile rather than just stare
Not all of our veterans are forgotten but some cannot truly
adjusts please think before you pass them as we must care
yes we really must
Like all boys in the Blitz we ignored the fires and flames but
just played in the rubble and like boys yep as tradition says,
we always got into some sort of trouble
Hey you said Mr Bobby Policeman what are you doing there
my little son
It’s getting dark now so time you went home to your mum
I go through the door and there on the floor is my sister playing
with her toys
I stick my nose in the air and walk right passed as that is definitely
not for little boys
Before she can get out of the door the siren starts with a wailing
up and down soundSorry kids the Hun are back so we all
have to go underground
We walk quickly to the Anderson and light candles to show us
Until all of the danger has passed it is here we are safe and
Mum says we should sing while we wait or tell us what we did
I wanted to tell her what I had seen so asked if I could say
Where we were playing there was a great big round thing with
wings poking out of the side
Mr Bobby Policeman saw it and said my son from that thing I
would certainly hide
It was big it was fat and it looked like Grandpa’s cigar but Mr
Bobby the Policeman said it will do us all great harm
So he called for this team of men all dressed up in heavy suits
and white bands wrapped around their right arm
They went to the big round cigar and started to work with
urgency and with care
They called out to me and my mates hey son you should not
So home I came and here we are in the shelter built by my
He is away at the moment overseas fighting and not being
here is so sad
The all clear sounds and we leave underground and go back
to our house to eat without any fear
Hopefully one day when this is all over we will remember that
danger was so near
The team I was told worked through the night and make it
safe and soundand of course while all this was happening me
and my family were safe underground
Win This Fantastic Title
This unusual and beautiful book collects together twenty
five of the often read, well-loved poets. Each
poet is illustrated with an original watercolor
portrait by the talented young artist,
Charlotte Zeepvat, who reproduces in
pleasing script one of their works, giving a
biographical summary that placed the poet
firmly in the battlefield context in which
their work was conceived.
To have a chance at winning this
fabulous book, simply email your
I play with my cars vroom vroom vroom when mum decides
to come into the room
You two off you go and wash your hands your dinner will be
ready very soon
www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 39 |