A FORMER member of the Royal Navy has spoken out at the problems members of the armed forces from the Midlands face when returning to civilian life.
Nigel Fielding was stationed on board HMS Glamorgan during the Falklands War and is now working at the Mecure Hotel in Newton Solney. He left the Navy in 1998 after serving for 24 years. However he says that when he first left the navy, the support available to him was minimal.
He told the Mail: “From my experience I found that there was little or no aftercare available to ex-servicemen, you were left on your own. The only thing was a commitment by the forces to pay your pension on time, but that was about it.”
“If you settle in an area such as Portsmouth, Aldershot or Catterick then you will probably find that more help is available, but that isn’t really the case in the Midlands. It’s up to the individual to find help, and because servicemen are very proud people, it’s only when they become desperate that they will do so.”
Mr Fielding also says that employers should look towards those leaving the armed forces when it comes to taking on new staff as they have picked up skills throughout their careers which can be of great benefit to their local communities. He says that those trying to reintegrate into civilian life shouldn’t have to face such hardship when they return to civilian life.
He added: “When you’re in the armed forces you find that you very much become institutionalised. It’s often said that when you join the forces the friends you make will become friends for life and that’s true. For example I recently met up with 35 others I served with in the navy and also in the Falklands War.
“We all know that it is hard to come out of that institution, especially when it comes to forging relationships.
“It doesn’t just have an impact on the individual but also on their family and friends.”