Northern Ireland

War veterans in Armistice Day call

Two soldiers
Image caption The two soldiers are veterans of a number of campaigns

Two former soldiers have said the living victims of war should also be remembered on Armistice Day.

The pair, who recently served in conflicts abroad, say they have suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

They said soldiers from Northern Ireland are particularly disadvantaged because there is no dedicated military support centre in NI.

One of the soldiers said he has already tried to take his own life.

The second is struggling to cope with regular outbursts of anger and rage.

They are both getting help and some treatment from the NHS and from civilian charities.

But they said it was not suitable to their post-war needs.

And, on Armistice Day, one of them said, their needs should not be forgotten.

"Remember the dead, but remember the living too, because we have to carry this on," he said.

"We're fighting a battle every day for the rest of our lives. We're going to be fighting this living hell inside that can't shift no matter what you try to do."

He added: "I feel terribly let down and I feel nothing proper was done about my illness."

He said the government needed to do something and do it now.

The other former soldier said he also felt let down.

"Being in war-torn situations like Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, you see dead bodies, you're in conflict situations where you're being fired on," he said.

"I left on my own, so it was me in this big wide world, all my friends were in the forces and I had nobody here. So it kicks in and you start thinking about the situations you've been in and that's when it starts playing on your mind.

"Now I feel let down by the armed forces because I know when PTSD kicks in - it may take one year, it may take six months, it may take 10 years down the line - but to me there's no after-care services there.

"I just think the MoD or the government should spend the money on having a centre here."

The Ministry of Defence said it has a 24-hour helpline and is committed to giving everyone who serves in the armed forces all the help and support they need.

"We would encourage any serving personnel or veterans who need help to come forward to access the wide range of support available," a spokesperson said.

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