Trauma's suffered by troops on their return home! My response maybe viewed as controversial, unsympathetic, but I feel a reality check and perspective is need in relation to traumas suffered by modern day troops and the numbers of which commit suicide on their return home. This said, let me return to my response to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder consequent upon war, which has since the ‘Falklands War’ been submitted to a good deal of capriciousness in public interest, and psychiatric whims . It is the current banner of lefties, do-gooders’ and propelled in news coverage and the tabloids press. Yet in truth, the majority of the public does not sustain its interest in this condition; which is a far cry from the very great public sympathy shown for ‘Shell Shock’ casualties after World War 1. So what is Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event which results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, psychological integrity, or early childhood developmental experiences, overwhelming the individual's ability to cope. Although most people (50–90%) encounter trauma over a lifetime, only about 8% develop full PTSD. As a point of interest on stress and those facing possible death, at the beginning of WW2, civilian mental breakdowns were firmly in British Governmental minds over aerial bombardment and the lessons from WW1 as to effects of ‘shell shock’. However, having faced and endured heavy bombing, incendiary bombs, doodlebugs’ and V2 rockets, the expected torrent of civilian mental breakdown did not occur. We are all aware some occupations have high death risk factors. A miner lives in constant danger of a cave in or flooding , a fireman can be killed in a fire, a deep sea diver drowning or a policeman killed trying to apprehend a criminal, but the armed services face these known dangers as part and parcel of the job and they get paid to take that risk. Since 1963 all UK service personnel have voluntarily enlisted, we do not have conscription. Conscription in the United Kingdom has existed for two periods in modern times. The first was from 1916 when the British government passed the Military Service Act in 1916 and lasted until mid1919, the second was from 1939 to 1960, with the last conscripted soldiers leaving the service in 1963. During World War I and World War II
it was known as War Service or Military Service. From 1948 it was known as National Service.
Our modern day military and what they face today. Our voluntarily enlistees having opted to except the Queen’s Shilling and aware they could be deployed and actively engaged in operational duties across the globe, with the full knowledge they could be wounded or killed. However, before being sent off, our voluntarily enlistees are trained in all aspects of modern day warfare, they have the benefit of good equipment, modern technology and can keep in touch with family members and loved ones with ease. On returning from a patrol, they have access to showers, clean clothing, and the guarantee of hot meal a bed to lay their head. And don’t let us forget the team of welfare officers, stress councillors that are on hand should they feel the need to talk. Where am I going with this, quite simply I have to ask what real hardship are they facing? They knew the risks before they voluntarily enlisted and signed on the dotted line. Let’s just turn the clock back to WW1 to review the number of lives lost then and now and the real horrors’ solders faced back then. From 1914-1918 British Empire men killed in that short four years totalled 908,371, a yearly average of 227,092. British military fatalities in Iraq since 2003 total 179, average of 16 deaths a year. As of 3 June 2012 Afghanistan has claimed a total of 376 fatalities of British Forces personnel, a yearly average of 28. The Battle of the Somme of WW1 is famous chiefly on account of the loss of 58,000 British troops (one third of them killed) on the first day of the battle on 1 July 1916, which to this day remains a one-day record. Going "over the top" meant climbing out of your trench and running, in groups of THOUSANDS, right into the face of massed machine gun fire. The terrible conditions of Passchendaele are legendary. Soldiers who had fought at the Somme said that it was a picnic compared to here. The fighting conditions were dreadful. Gas was used here for the first time. Guns thundered almost continuously leaving all features of the landscape completely obliterated. Unlike France it was not possible to dig deep trenches as the earth formed a crust on top of swampland, Many defences were above ground and pill boxes were more prevalent here than in any other sector, many trench lines were dug shallow and then built up with sandbags, many were just shell holes joined together. Conditions in the landscape often added to the number of casualties.
Heavy, prolonged rain could turn the landscape into a sea of mud which became glutinous and would suck a man or an entire gun team down in seconds. Accounts by soldiers during the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres tell of the wounded drowned in the mud, and men fell off duckboards on night working parties and disappeared in the waterlogged shell craters. Huge rats fed off the dead, the stench of dead bodies, sometimes found under the end of a shovel as new trenches were dug, the dead and wounded hanging on the thick belts of barbed wire, cries and piteous screams from the wounded in No Manâ€™s Land, the ever present threat of a snipers bullet and all too frequent cry of 'stretcher bearer', and in winter terrible biting, bone freezing cold. The options on terrible deaths were many and varied, poison gas, drowning, suffocation, bayoneting, slowly of wounds, entombment, buried alive, slow sinking into mud, flamethrowers, flaming oil bombs to name but a few. The bodies of men and horses were left unburied to rot in the muck. The Canadian Corps captured two square miles at Passchendaele, suffering 16,404 casualties, one death for every 2 inches taken! When the battalion was finally relieved, the struggle to get out was so great that many of the walking wounded died of exhaustion. Again one bloody battle cost around 350,000 British Casualties ended in taking a few miles. The conscripts of WW1 had barely any training, just a few short weeks learn to march in line, clean and fire a rifle, then off to the front. No access to hot showers, clean clothing, the guarantee of a hot meal and a bed to lay upon, nor a team of stress councillors on hand for them. Yet the majority of these men on their return, settled into everyday life with no adverse effects. So again I say what hardship is there for our modern service personnel to cause such trauma? So as report on the number of traumas suffered by modern day troops and the numbers of which commit suicide on their return home grows, we must ask, have we changed, has our mind set changed since the Great Wars, can we no longer face conflict with detachment. Or perhaps the military service has got it wrong, recruiting the wrong sort of people to do the job.
The sad truth is, the military lives sacrificed in Afghanistan and Iraq means nothing to or even register with the majority of the public here, even with all the propaganda focused on the returning flag draped coffins, the family comments on the loss of their loved one, the obligatory ‘He/She was a much love member of the regiment and will be sadly missed bla bla bla etc.’ by his/her commanding officer. Campaigns’ to promote them as war hero’s means little, only to a few patriotic flag wavers to hide their guilt. Yet if they died defending our isles’ from invasion, they would be glorified in the eyes of the majority. David
FROM A RETIRED HUSBAND It is important for men to remember that, as women grow older, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they were younger. When you notice this, try not to yell at them. Some are over-sensitive, and there's nothing worse than an oversensitive woman. My name is David. Let me relate how I handled the situation with my wife, Nicole. When I retired a few years ago, it became necessary for Nicole to get a full-time job, along with her part-time job, both for extra income and for the health benefits that we needed. Shortly after she started working, I noticed she was beginning to show her age. I usually get home from the golf club about the same time she gets home from work although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts dinner. I don't yell at her. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she gets dinner on the table. I generally have lunch each day in the Men's Grill at the Golf Club, so eating out is not an option in the evening. I'm ready for some home-cooked grub when I hit that door. She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. But now it's not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after dinner. I do what I can by diplomatically reminding her several times each evening that they won't clean themselves. I know she really appreciates this, as it does seem to motivate her to get them done before she goes to bed. Another symptom of aging is complaining, I think. For example, Nicole will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour. But, boys, we take 'em for better or worse, so I just smile and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two, or even three days. That way, she won't have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn't hurt her any (if you know what I mean). I like to think tact is one of my strong points.. When doing simple jobs, she seems to think she needs more rest periods... She had to take a break when she was only half-finished mowing the front lawn. I try not to make a scene. I'm a fair man.. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade
and just sit for a while. And, as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me, too. . I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Nicole. I'm not saying that showing this much patience & consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible! Nobody knows better than I do how frustrating women get as they get older. However, guys, even if you just use a little more tact and less criticism of your aging wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it was well worthwhile. After all, we are put on this earth to help each other. EDITOR'S NOTE: David died suddenly on January 31 of a perforated rectum. The police report says he was found with a Calloway extra-long 50-inch Big Bertha Driver II golf club jammed up his rear end, 'with barely 5 inches of grip showing', and a sledge hammer laying nearby. His wife Nicole was arrested and charged with murder.. The all-woman jury took only 10 minutes to find her "Not Guilty", accepting her defence that David, somehow without looking, accidentally sat down on his golf club..
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