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The Sandbag Times Issue No:53

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The Veterans Magazine

NEWS SBT NEWS THE

NEWS SBT NEWS THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE British Special Forces ‘Over- Stretched’ As Recruiting Falls March Edition info@sandbagtimes.com Royal Navy Respond To 'Foolish' Spanish Warship In Gibraltar Story: The Mirror Britain’s elite special forces are 200 soldiers short after recruitment plunged 20 per cent. The lack of “good quality” soldiers has hit the SAS, SBS and SRR, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. Hardest hit is the Special Boat Service, down in numbers by around 100. The SRR needs 60 and the celebrated Special Air Service – motto Who Dares Wins – is 40 light. Each unit normally has 340 to 400 soldiers. Senior defence sources say the SBS and SRR are now classed as being “over-stretched” with troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Baltic States and Africa. The shortage is being linked to cuts and a recruitment and retention crisis affecting the rest of the armed forces. The Army is down in size from around 150,000 in 1990 to 78,000. Despite that reduction, the SAS and the SBS have remained the same size. A military source said: “The talent pool is shrinking. A lot of guys who built up experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and who would often see the special forces as the next step have left. Read more here... Photo: MOD Story: Forces.net The Royal Navy has responded to a Spanish warship with its guns manned after it ordered commercial ships to leave British Gibraltar waters on Sunday, the territory's government said. The warship's crew can be heard in an audio recording of a radio exchange telling vessels anchored at the Rock to "leave Spanish territorial waters". Royal Navy boats were deployed in response to the incident which was branded as "foolish" by a spokesman for Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar. The spokesman said: "There is only nuisance value to these foolish games being played by those who don't accept unimpeachable British sovereignty over the waters around Gibraltar as recognised by the whole world in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. "It seems there are still some in the Spanish Navy who think they can flout international law. The Gibraltar government accused the warship of trying to take "executive action" against the commercial boats, which were anchored on the eastern side of the Rock. Read more here... GET HELP NOW: Rewind @ Tommy Atkins Centre www.tommyatkins.co.uk | 6 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

NEWS THE VETERANS’ MAGAZINE SBT NEWS March Edition info@sandbagtimes.com Disabled Veteran Stripped of Benefits Story: Morning Star Adisabled war veteran says he is distraught after being stripped of benefits days before Christmas in a “Kafkaesque nightmare.” Ex-RAF man Jonathan Williams, 56, served with the UN in Bosnia. He was trapped under fire in the siege of Sarajevo, leaving him with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mr Williams also served several tours of duty in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and on exercise in the Arctic Circle was injured when a helicopter landed on him. He left the military on a 60 per cent war pension and managed to secure an archaeology degree from Cardiff University. However, his PTSD became overwhelming and prevented him from working. Read more here... British Soldier Dies In Accident At Army Base Story: Chronicle Live Photo: The Scottish & North Irish Yeomanry/ Facebook ABritish soldier has died following a crash at the Catterick Garrison army base in North Yorkshire. Staff Sergeant John McKelvie, also known as 'Jock', was in a car that overturned at Gandale Camp in the training area on January 29. He was airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough but died as a result of his injuries on Monday. It is believed that a passenger in the vehicle, also in the military, suffered Women as Capable as Men Proves TV Show Four women competed in the final episode of SAS: Who Dares Wins for the first time in the programme's history. It comes after the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced all roles in the Armed Forces, including the special forces, are open to women. A ban on women serving in close combat a suspected broken arm and was taken to hospital for treatment. North Yorkshire Police are investigating the incident. SSgt McKelvie had served with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry since the regiment's formation in 2014. An Army spokesperson confirmed SSgt McKelvie died while on duty, and said: “Our thoughts are with Staff Sergeant McKelvie’s family and friends at this difficult time.” Read the full story here... Veteran Wrongly Held on Drug Charges Story: ITV.com Photo: Detained in Dubai Aformer British soldier recovering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is being detained in the United Arab Emirates after being accused of selling drugs, despite the accuser later withdrawing his statement, it is claimed. Story: Forces.net Photo: Channel 4 Andrew Neal, 44, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia, is said to have been held in Dubai for more than four months after being accused of selling drugs, a charge he denies, according to a legal advocacy group. Human rights group Detained in Dubai, which is representing the Briton's family, said on Wednesday the person who accused Mr Neal of selling drugs had retracted his statement. More units in the British military was lifted by the then Prime Minister David Cameron back in 2016. The RAF was the first of the three services to open up all roles to women giving them permission to join the RAF Regiment, the air force’s ground fighting force for protecting air bases. Read more here... www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 7 |

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