The Veteran - February


The Veterans newspaper by the Sandbag Times

Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 1

The Veteran

In Support of The Tommy Atkins Centre

07 February 2019



Official Magazine to AFVBC’s

Tornado Jets Return

Home To RAF Marham

RAF Tornado jets have

returned home to the

UK for the last time as

the aircraft prepares for retirement

after almost 40

years in service.

Eight Tornados stationed at

RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and

used in the fight against the Islamic

State group have now returned

to RAF Marham. The

first five jets made the five-hour

return flight on Monday, and the

last three flew back on Tuesday.

Loved ones were on the

tarmac to greet the crews as

they landed in Norfolk. Members

of Wing Commander

James Heaps' family were

there to greet him The Tornado,

in service since 1979,

and first used in combat during

Story: BBC News

the first Gulf War, will leave service

before the end of March.

Six Typhoon jets remain in RAF

Akrotiri and will take over the

role of the Tornados. The last

three jets flew back on Tuesday

Asked if the departure of the

Tornados will leave a gap in the

air campaign against the Islamic

State group, Air Vice Marshal

Harvey Smyth said: "No, it

won't." "We have built up our

Typhoon force that it can also

match that capability," he

added. He said it was the right

time to retire the ageing aircraft

which "served the country

well". Read more here...

New Suspect



SBT Reviews Episode 5

Mrs Fox Goes To War




Agony Aunt, Hilda Ffinch

Answers your Letters

Page 11







Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 2

The Veteran 07 February 2019

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Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 3

07 February 2019

The Veteran

Armed Forces & Veterans News...

Failure to support stressed

soldiers leads to suicide

Major General Robin

Short, director general

of Army Medical Services

from 1996 to 1999, said

the number of suicides of veterans

shows that the Government

is failing our ex-servicemen and


General Short, who planned

Britain's medical deployment in the

Gulf War, said: "The services

haven't got the resources. Just

shoving it on to the NHS does not

solve the problem. You can see

from the number of suicides that

Story: Express

former servicemen and women

are being failed."

In 2007, General Short delivered a

bombshell report to Parliament

highlighting the plight of thousands

of veterans suffering battle stress.

Warned General Short warned the

wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were

likely to lead to Post-Traumatic

Stress Disorder (PTSD) that would

"completely overwhelm" services

in an impending crisis over "12-15


Read the full story here...

Deepcut Inquest: Second Inquest

To Begin over Private Geoff Gray

Geoff Gray was

killed by another

person and authorities

prematurely dismissed

the death as

suicide, his family will tell

a second inquest when it

formally opens at the end

of this month.

During a frosty February

hearing less than four

weeks before the start of

the new inquiry, John

Cooper QC for the Gray

family pounced on a defence

of the MoD position

by Nicholas Moss. “He

doesn’t get it,” the family

lawyer told the coroner.

“My concern is you are presented

with a statement

which is unbalanced,

closed minded,” he told His

Honour Judge Peter Rook

QC. “The MoD, army and

police assumed - prematurely

- suicide. “That is the

family’s concern.” “I am

making no assumptions,”

the judge reassured him.

Read more here...

Story: Deepcut Inquest

Suspect who attacked RAF memorial in

London 'walks with distinctive gait'

Story: Sky News

Detectives investigating

a series

of paint attacks

on several war memorials

and statues in

London have said the

suspect "walks with a

distinctive gait".

Scotland Yard has released

two CCTV clips

of a man they want to

trace in connection with

the acts of vandalism,

which included white

paint being splattered

over the Bomber Command

Memorial in Green

Park. Also targeted with

white paint were the Allies

Statue of Winston

Churchill and Franklin D

Roosevelt in New Bond

Street, the memorial to

murdered police officer

Yvonne Fletcher in St

James's Square, the

Royal Marine Memorial

in The Mall, and the

Canada Memorial in

Green Park.

Police released a picture

of a man wearing ski

goggles who they were

looking for after the incidents

were reported last

month, and the new

footage is believed to be

from before and after the

offences were committed.

Anyone who has information

is asked to call

police on 020 7321

8210, call 101 quoting

CAD reference

6493/20Jan or send a

tweet to @MetCC.

Read The Full Story...

SBT News View...

What goes on in

the mind of individuals

that have to

destroy the memorials

of those that

gave so much?

Has our country

really forgotten already?

How about

our education system?

Do they not

teach their students

the value of

the sacrifice given

by our heroes?

One lesson which

was obviously not

learnt is that of

consequence of

our actions. Good

or bad. Perhaps

that should be the

first lesson.

Pablo SBT


Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 4

The Veteran 07 February 2019


Ministry of Defence Makes No Deal

Preparation its 'Highest Priority'

The Ministry of Defence

has made preparing

for a no deal Brexit its

highest priority.

Stephen Lovegrove, the permanent

secretary at the MoD,

wrote to staff before Christmas

to alert them to the

change in approach.

nal planning to mitigate the

impacts on defence itself as

well as the wider support we

have provided to the crossgovernment


'However, moving into the

New Year we will not only

have to continue this hard

work but treat it as our highest

priority.' Read more here...

The move comes amid claims

putting 3,500 troops on

standby to respond to no deal

emergencies could undermine

Britain's ability to deploy soldiers

overseas in an emergency.

It is part of 'Operation Yellowhammer',

the civil contingencies

element of the

Government's wider no deal


Putting soldiers on standby is

a key element of the Government's

no deal plan but the

move has prompted claims

ministers are prepared to risk

civil disorder to deliver on


Mr Lovegrove told his staff:

'As a department, we have already

made significant

progress with our no-deal


'This includes both our inter-

Story: The Mail

Birmingham Army veteran Escapes

Deportation to Jamaica

Story: Birmingham Mail

Adad-of-five living in

Birmingham was

among five granted

last minute reprieves to remain

in the UK, an immigration

lawyer has said.

Twane Morgan, 36, was due

to be on the flight containing

up to 50 people leaving the

country from an RAF base

early on Wednesday morning.

Birmingham-based law firm

Rogols Solicitors said on Twitter

it had secured an injunction

to halt the deportation of

former soldier Morgan, on


An online petition backing Mr

Morgan's campaign to avoid

deportation, which has

reached more than 91,000

signatures, says he is a Jamaican

man who arrived in

the UK in 2003.

He served in the British army,

including two tours in

Afghanistan, before being discharged

with Post Traumatic

Stress Disorder (PTSD) in


Mr Morgan was jailed for six

years following a conviction in

2011, serving three years. He

is said to have no relatives in

Jamaica and has five children,

and a British long-term partner.

The Government earlier confirmed

a deportation flight was

due to leave the UK at some

point in the coming weeks, and

said all of those due to be removed

have criminal convictions.

The Government has said they

are all foreign nationals who

have criminal convictions.

Read more here...

The Sandbag Times & The Veteran

are very proud to be sponsored by Urban Print Designs.

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Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 5

07 February 2019

The Veteran

Inquest to Begin into Deaths of British

Soldiers at County Down Barracks

SAS inspiration Phil Campion

signs up for HCA forum

An inquest into the

deaths of two

British soldiers

at their barracks is due

to begin later.

James Ross and Darren

Mitchell died in suspected

suicides within three

months of each other at

Ballykinler in Co Down,

and their families have

claimed they had nobody

to turn to with their problems.

Their inquests are due to

open in Ballymena, Co

Antrim, on Monday morning

and will examine

whether there was a lack

of support for military personnel.

Lance Corporal Ross, 30,

from Leeds, and Rifleman

Mitchell, 20, from London,

who both served in

Afghanistan, died within

three months of each

other in 2012 and 2013.

Both were found hanged.

They had previously been

on active service with 2nd

Battalion the Rifles.

An additional eight incidents

of serious selfharm

involving other

soldiers in the same unit

were recorded over a sixmonth

period within

which the men died.

A preliminary hearing of

the inquest was told a

colleague described Ballykinler

barracks as “Bally

Kill Yourself”.

Written evidence before

counsel for the victims’

families disclosed that

L/Cpl Ross had discussed

the loss of personnel

during overseas


Visit the Full Article...


Cost Sector Catering

SAS success story ‘Big’ Phil Campion will

be aiming to lift the spirits of hospital

caterers when he delivers the closing

presentation at this year’s Hospital Caterers

Association (HCA) Leadership & Development


From an unpromising start in life when he

was given up for adoption and raised by

violent adoptive parents, he has since

served with distinction as a Royal

Marines Commando and in the

Parachute Regiment before joining the

Special Air Service (22 SAS).

He has commanded teams of up to 100

around the globe and invented a digital

dog tag that has revolutionised personal

security and medical care in remote danger


Organisers say Phil's story is one of

‘enormous inspiration, proving how the

human spirit can endure against all odds

and achieve the remarkable’.

Story: ITV News

Read The Full Story Here...

RAF Pilots Get New G-force Centrifuge Training Simulator

Fast jet pilots have begun training

at a brand new test facility to

help them cope with the physical

effects of accelerating at top

speeds in mid-air manoeuvres.

The £44m centrifuge officially

opens on Monday at RAF Cranwell

in Lincolnshire. It has a

built-in simulator to enable aircrew

to practice missions under

high levels of G-force.

Global aerospace and technology

giant Thales and its Austrian

contractors AMST built the centre.

Thales UK has the contract to

maintain the building over the

next three years and train hundreds

of RAF and Royal Naval

pilots. The facility, owned by the

Ministry of Defence, replaces the

current RAF's High G trainer in

Farnborough, which dated from

the 1950s and was little more

than a seat at the end of a large

spinning arm.

Read the full story here...

Story: BBC News


Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 6


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Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 7

07 February 2019

SAS: Who Dares Wins – Episode 5

Ihave been waiting on tender hooks for this episode.

That feeling has been enhanced by my decision to break

away from being an SAS WDW’s virgin. Yes, both my

partner and I, have sat down and watched all of the previous

series plus the US version, The Selection (Very good,

but doesn’t compare. (Just my thoughts).

Anyway, on to Episode 5 – Pressure.

To begin with, they recruits had a gruelling mountain tab, which

was also a time trial. Unfortunately, No:23, Esmee failed to

reach the end within the time and was withdrawn from the

course. Big shame, she was only 5 minutes out, but rules are

rules. Well done though on a great effort.

They then made their way to the Devils Valley for a ladder

crossing over a gorge which would have put the fear of God into

any normal mortal. All recruits passed, including No:17, Vickie

with her fear of heights and water. So well done, really proving

what is possible.

The Veteran

SAS: Who Dares Wins

on to the exercise itself.

The teams were split into two with No:14, James being leader of

Team Alpha and Milo being leader of Team Bravo. They were to

navigate to their first checkpoint 5km away with the Chilean

hunter force on their tail. Team Bravo completed the first leg

without issue but 2km from the checkpoint, Team Alpha descended

into the river valley to avoid a vehicle, putting the team

in danger from the river. After some time of difficulties in the

valley, they got back on to the road right in front of the pursuing

force. Team Bravo were captured not long after starting their

second leg.

The story continues next week…

Tune in to Channel 4 next Sunday at 9:00pm to watch the conclusion

of Series 4 with 8 recruits remaining. If you have

missed this weeks episode, catch up now on 4OD.

Our next challenge was the ice breaking drills where the DS

simulated a situation where the ice broke beneath their feet and

they fell into freezing water below. The recruits had to climb into

an ice water hole and then swim under the ice to two further

holes before climbing out. I really thought, this would have

taken No:17, but to my pleasure, she cracked it in fine style.

Second well done.

On return to the camp, unbeknown to the recruits they were

being prepared for the Escape and Evasion exercise. Rations

were restricted and sleep was becoming very short. And then

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That Follows By Jason Fox - SAS: Who Dares Wins

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The events depicted

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in an unnamed warzone.

The names and

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security of those involved

and the practices

of the British Special



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Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 8

The Veteran 07 February 2019

The key part to prayer is not just so we can hear ourselves

pray, but to be receptive to a reply, guidance. The Fransiscan

Daily Office uses this concept in their worship, in particular the

two beats of silence after each half verse from the Psalms

gets rid of mere recitation but allows a pause to think of those

few words. So does the Cof E Common Worship (as used at

the Worcester cathedral morning worship but ignored by some

others who seem to use it as a word race to the finish.) We

contemplate the word as we read it and the extra silence

gives us a chance to digest it. It should be a joy to do this to

all believers in the word of God. Joshua was given formal direction

to meditate on the word day and night Joshua 1.8,

Psalm 1.2. The whole of Psalm 119 is about meditating on

the law day and night with the writer saying his face was

awash with tears at the many who ignored the law of the living


Come Unto Me all you who are weary - Pt2

In the first in this series I spoke about the peace of the Lord,

being incumbent on us being still. I suggest read Matthew

Chapter 6 as a starting point. If you have a Bible, look up

the scriptures to which I refer.

I like to sit atop mountains I have climbed, to recharge energy

before the descent, to admire the views and to pray to my

Lord God in the wonderful silence (choose mountains not

crowded with tourists and start at 6.00 a.m). There is nothing

worse than a noisy place where one cannot pray. Sadly more

churches are becoming like the markets that the Lord hated at

the Temple in an area where foreigners could come and worship

the Jewish God. Gone are the days in many are that a silence

would be held for a respectable time before a service

and indeed after a service. There is no respect for people in

prayer as people walk by those kneeling in prayer before or

after a service–giving it gob as we used to term the ‘jabbermonkeys’.

Not very oddly but when the reverence for God departs

then prayer stops and churches start to die. In Britain

today, many churches will not exist in ten years due to the

ageing populations. The flourishing churches will be those

who give most time to prayer. Acts, they prayed daily,

searched the scriptures daily.

Jesus was precise about prayer. He discards the prayer of

the proud and self-righteous. He listened to the poor in spirit

and humble in heart. ‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous

man availeth much.’ We are told in James 5:16. Don’t

pray to impress others with longevity or the vain repetition of

liturgy. Pray with humility. Come before the Lord in prayer with

clean hands (confess your faults to one another – ask forgiveness

of the Lord.)

The Lord himself would get up while it was still dark and go

out into the hills to pray. I can imagine that his time of prayer,

much was in silence so that he could listen to his father. Even

in Gethsemane he chose to pray apart from the others. His

words were very few but intensity so great that sweat poured

like blood from his brow.Do we need the long drawn out

prayers weighted with hefty theological terminology or very

many words. Short and simple. Even a longer prayer by Jesus

(his prayer in the gospel of John Chapter 17 for his disciples

and the church) is not that long.

My time at Glasshampton Monastery and subsequently joining

the tertiary order of St Francis has taught me a great deal

about silence, meditation. In his word (Psalm 46) the Lord

makes it a command “be still and know that I am God…….”.

We should be still in the face of the Almighty. How many who

prattle on at churches will shut up when the Queen enters the

room? Why not God? He is deserving of all honour and

glory. Yet it is at times when we are silent that our worship of

the Lord is the most acceptable. Often I pray about something

then in the silence that follows, I suddenly find a thought

coming in, perhaps I should have prayed like that about this

situation, not like this. We often are wrong in our assumption

of the facts. Francis was when he first got the message from

God to rebuild his church. He and his pals set about building

the ruined old chapel they were using. Then God spoke to

Francis and said “My church as a bride of Christ has gone

astray I am sending you to rebuild its principles.”

Be still. Our life should not be bound up with the material but

with the eternal. Those hours spent on ‘material therapy’ as

some lightly call this greed, those extra hours spent to earn

the money for this. There is even a parable that covers this in

Luke 12 1-6 about the farmer. This last week a friend was

found dead in his chair at his desk. We know not the time

when we will be taken so make our salvation sure with fear

and trembling as if every minutes is our last. Watch and pray,

keep the oil in our lamps full Luke 21:36.

He speaks to us in many ways. I have alluded to some of the

ways he has spoken to me, but for every person his approach

is unique.

The sermon on the mount (Matthew 6 the prayer section)

talks of shutting yourself into your closet to pray (Vs 6). Not to

impress others but in earnest conversation with the Lord.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth

and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and

steal:But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where

neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not

break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will

your heart be also. (Matthew Chapter 6)

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and

all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew Chapter 6)

These few excerpts show the importance of being still, effective

prayer. In the next part I shall conclude with the fact that

the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

If you are weary, pray for forgiveness, ask the Lord to help

you. Read his Word and learn it and paint it on the lintels of

your heart. Learn the joys of true Christian friendship. Some

claim to be then let you down, but I always watch people because

by their actions they shall be judged. Some are regular

church goers but the love of Christ is far from them. Then you

find the one, probably the least in the congregation, who is

humble of heart but a true soldier of Christ.

Brother Andrew Hall (TSSF)


Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 9

Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 10



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The Veteran 07 February 2019




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Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 13

07 February 2019

The Veteran

HMS Queen Elizabeth Receives First Phalanx

Self Defence Weapon

Story: Portsmouth News

HMS Queen Elizabeth has

started having her Phalanx

Close-In Weapons Systems

(CIWS) fitted.

The Phalanx Close-In

Weapons System is designed

for use as an anti-aircraft

and anti-missile

defence, the vessel also carries

30mm Automated Small

Calibre Guns and Miniguns

for use against fast attack


The system is radar-controlled

and is said to provide

a “last chance” defence for

ships against anti-ship missiles

and aircraft. It automatically

detects, tracks and

engages threats. It features

a 20mm M-61A1cannon,

search and track radar and

FLIR in the Block 1B model.

To date, the United States

Navy and 20 other nations

have purchased more than

850 Phalanx systems.

HMS Queen Elizabeth returned

to Portsmouth last

year after completing a number

of firsts for the ship, notably

F-35 trials.

The Royal Navy said in a release

that during the Development

Trials, F-35 jets

conducted 202 takeoffs from

the ship’s ski ramp, 187 vertical

landings, and 15 shipborne

vertical landings —a

landing technique unique to

the UK.

Read More Here...

Devonport Naval Officer named an LGBT Future Leader

Lt Commander Gordon Jones is representative for the Royal Navy sexual orientation and identity network, Compass

A Royal Navy Officer from Devonport

Naval Base has been nominated as one

of the Top Ten British LGBT+ Future

Leaders in the country.

Lieutenant Commander Gordon Jones,

who has worked for the Royal Navy for

over 17 years, initially joining as a Warfare

Officer before specialising as a hydrographic,

meteorological and

oceanographic officer. During this time,

he has served in submarines, patrol

boats and the former Fleet Flagship,

HMS Ocean.

He has operated around the world, including

the Falklands, the high Arctic and

supporting disaster relief across the

British Overseas Territories in the

Caribbean, following hurricanes Irma and


Lieutenant Command Jones is a member

of Compass, the Navy’s sexual orientation

and identity network since 2016

and the network’s sexual orientation representative

since 2018.

As a nominee, Gordon is set to attend the

organisation’s prestigious awards ceremony

in London in May, where an overall

winner, selected by a judging panel, will

be announced. Throughout the evening

the ceremony will celebrate the achievements

of everyone on the Top 10 shortlists

including campaigners, celebrities

and personalities who work to improve

the lives of LGBT+ people.

Read the full article here...

Story: Plymouth Herald


Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 14

The Veteran 07 February 2019


Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 15

07 February 2019

The Veteran

Mrs Fox Goes

To War...

The Chronicles of Little Hope

1939 - 1945

Hilda Ffinch:

The Bird With All The Answers

Hilda Ffinch, Little Hope's very own Agony Aunt (page

5 of the Little Hope Herald) was easily bored and terribly

rich. She loved nothing better than taking on the

problems of others and either sorting them out or

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

tits up and they had to leave the district under cover

of darkness having followed her sage advice.

Letter Of The Month

Now, growling pussies, on the whole, tend to be irascible either

on account of under-employment or are hungry for

fresh meat – is yours getting enough, dear? I cannot impress

upon you sufficiently the need to pander to puss’s

needs in this department. A yawning pussy is a bored pussy

but a growling one can be really quite challenging. Why, my

own pussy (Kitchener) – starved of Colonel Ffinch’s attention

when he’s away at the front – has been known to go for the

sofa cushions or counterpane at the drop of a hat and has

twice spat at the postman. Such occurrences are rare but

need to be addressed lest one ends up in front of a magistrate

and it goes for him too.

I therefore entreat you to handle your pussy firmly but gently,

Miss Sparrow, do not let it get the upper hand or it will

not come good in the end.

In respect of your pussy’s dislike of men, there are very few

of us my dear who would take kindly to being petted in the

dark by a complete stranger (Mrs Edith Muff-Hawker from

The Cat and Cabbage being a notable exception) and so it’s

little wonder that yours is getting uptight. Perhaps assuage

its hunger with a bit of sausage before the sirens go off of

an evening, and make sure that you have another banger

to hand should the need arise.

I do hope this helps.

Dear Ms Ffinch,

I urgently need advice on account of my growling pussy

whilst at the public air raid shelter... Some might say it

inappropriate, but I ensure my pussy is trimmed and hygienic

and absent of fleas.

Problem is, my pussy doesn’t seem to like men which

seems to cause a dreadful stir among those at the shelter.

Keep that pussy well trimmed and flea-free now!


Hilda Ffinch,

The Bird With All The Answers

p.s. A friend of mine had a similar problem with her cat.

What can I do?

Yours sincerely,

Mildred Sparrow (miss

Dear Miss Sparrow

May I begin by saying that it’s a breath of fresh air to hear

from a young lady who is clearly conscious of the need to

keep her pussy hale and hearty during these dark days?

Time and time again I hear reports of pussies which have

been neglected, left to run wild and are host to any number

of undesirable parasites.

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Veteran Newspaper - January_Layout 1 06/02/2019 20:32 Page 16

The Veteran 07 February 2019


In Break Point, ex-Special Forces soldier

and star of Channel 4’s hit show

SAS: Who Dares Wins Matthew

‘Ollie’ Ollerton tells his incredible story

for the first time

Where is your break point?

Is it here? Facing the gruelling SAS selection

process on one leg, with a busted

ankle and the finish line nowhere in sight?

Or here? Under heavy fire from armed kidnappers

while protecting journalists en

route to Baghdad.

Or, is it here? At the bottom of a bottle, with

a family in pieces, unable to adapt to a

civilian lifestyle, yearning for a warzone.

We all have break points to face – at the

gym, in the office, in our personal lives –

those moments of self-doubt where we

have to dig deep, and find something

within to grab hold of and push us through.

Ex-Special Forces solder Ollie Ollerton

has faced his own break points and now

he tells us the lessons he has learnt along

the way. From a child survivor of a freak

attack to elite fighter, Ollie’s incredible

story features, high-speed shoot-outs,

counter-terrorism and humanitarian heroics.

Special Forces soldiers are not supermen.

Bullets don’t bounce off them. They don’t

hit the target with every shot. They have

the same vulnerabilities and doubts as the

rest of us. But ordinary people can achieve

the extraordinary, under the greatest pressure,

in the most challenging situations.

Ollie’s life has taught him that everyone

has the capacity for incredible achievement,

because it’s only when it's crunch

time, when you’re down to your last bullet

– when you’re at break point – that you find

out who you really are.

Note from Ollie......

"I'm so proud to release this book that is

not focused on any point in my life but on

the span of my life. It covers the lessons I

have learnt in some harsh circumstances.

This is a book that will inspire, entertain,

amaze and compel you from start to finish."

"A must read for anyone that wants to be

the best version of themselves and evolve

from the lessons of my experience and

knowledge gained throughout."

Pre order today and STANDBY!

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