May 2021

Visualising War Project

 St Andrews University Visualising War Project’s podcast series – where we explore our interest in how war stories work and what they do to us – was launched on 21 April. We would love to hear from you! If you have an experience of conflict and how it is represented and would like to tell your story, email  or visit us on our  website or on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Veteran Aware Care Provider – Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance

The Veterans Aware Manifesto that is laid out by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance of the standards that you must achieve. It is well worth a read and worth being aware that are being treated in a Veteran Aware Care provider, they agree to do the following:

  • The hospital has established links to appropriate nearby veteran services
  • Staff at the hospital are trained and education in the needs of veterans
  • The hospital raises awareness of veterans
  • The hospital identifies veterans to ensure they receive appropriate care
  • The hospital will refer veterans to other services as appropriate

Link to the Manifesto HERE 

Brian Wood MC – Book Dramatisation – BBC – Danny Boy

Brian Wood, ended up having to testify in court through following his actions in Iraq.  The TV drama of his story has just been given a release date of Wednesday 12th May at 9pm on BBC Two.

Brains father also served the Army and is quite popular in REME Football.

Changing of Minister for Defence People and Veterans.

Johnny Mercer resigned from is position in Government.  His subsequent appearances on NewsNight and Peston certainly helped make the headlines. A copy of his resignation letter can be found on his twitter account. It is certainly interesting reading. His replacement is another veteran Leo Docherty, the MP for Aldershot and a former Scots Guards Officer. He not as prolific on social media as his predecessor.

If you are interested he wrote a book about his time in Afghanistan that is still available of amazon.

NHS Armed Forces Briefing Note.

The latest NHS Armed Forces Briefing Note is linked below. Some interesting points in there. Can I draw you attention to On Parade videos (I have placed some background below) and on the last page that shows details of free on line screening of the play Shell Shock. Some else to watch other than TV, seen at the theatres are still closed.

Link to the Briefing Note HERE

Veterans News and Communications Hub

Some of you may not be aware that the Defence Relationship Management and Cobseo (confederation of service charities) have been running a veterans news and communications hub that enables government, charity and commercial sectors to collectively promote the positive skills of the UK Veteran community.

It is well worth a look, covering some interesting topics such as veterans involved in the COVID-19 response and the groups/businesses that are supporting veterans.

Veteran Owned

There is website called that is ran my two former Royal Engineers to help support ex-military business owners. There aim is to support Veteran Owned Businesses in the UK, Providing members of the public with a user friendly directory to locate veterans businesses and encourage the growth of networking and mutual support.  Maybe you are looking for a business or service or know a fellow veteran who wants start a business.  Overall it is a very useful website and worth a look. It is well supported by MPs and business and also a listen of veteran based podcasts that may be of interest.

Military Coffee

Following on from the theme of veteran owned, I realised that some of you may be connoisseurs of coffee. Personally I only ever started drinking the stuff when I was on radio stag in the back of a CP.I thought I would highlight to you two coffee brands with a strong military connection that may be of interest.

 Contact Coffee

Contact coffee is worth a look it seems to be quite popular on twitter, and if you are a Nespresso fan it is one of the few craft coffee companies that do pods. I believe the two people that run this company are still serving in the army. It’s certainly worth a look and I can certainly recommend the coffee, well the Nespresso pods.

Explorer Coffees

The owners of this coffee brand former army RAMC and Navy QARNNS. I have not tried it but I’ve heard it is very good.

On Parade

On Parade is an informative chat show, discussing issues facing military veterans in civilian life. Hosted by ex-Parachute Regiment soldier who is a documentary filmmaker and author Neil ‘Taff’ Davies & ex-Royal Artillery stage and screen actor Shaun ‘Johno’ Johnson. Johno is also part of the Soldiers Art Academy that I have covered in previous updates. 

Here is an example of one of their episodes featuring Maurillia, a larger than life ex RLC driver, from Trindade and Tobago that was medically discharge.

Maurillia is a real star, she has sang on Songs of Praise and appeared in Bravo 22 Company’s the ‘Two Worlds of Charlie F’ the stage production that was sponsored by the Royal British Legion. An amazing play that is still available on DVD through Amazon.

On Parade have also done a series of very good videos connected with Op Courage, the NHS Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing service, mentioned in the NHS Armed Forces Brief:

Help for Heroes -Update

COVID-19 has not been kind to charities.  Help for Heroes have suffered, and a few months ago made an announcement that the recovery centres they ran would all close to veterans and be returned to the MOD for them to continue the service for wounded, injured and sick serving personnel. Due to the lack of fundraising during lockdown sadly they also had to let go of some of their staff.   Unfortunately in the last few weeks they have made the announcement that this will also include their final recovery centre at Tedworth house in Wiltshire. This will be leased back to the MOD  for the next 12 months to provide core recovery activities for serving personnel. H4H are continuing discussions around the full transfer of responsibility for these Recovery Centres to MOD longer term, as part of the Defence Recovery Capability.

This change means H4H will be transforming the way they operate by bringing support closer to home for more veterans and families by having teams and activities across the UK, as well as improving digital access to services. Effectively community-based support. The decision has been met with some upset from beneficiaries, as a result the charity is working hard to ensure the their community model is well received, once COVID-19 permits more face to face interaction.  It is a real shame, as Tedworth house did provide a safe place for many.  Hopefully something will come out of the discussions that will ensure everyone is happy. 

H4H have really helped shape the landscape for wounded, injured and sick personal of the last 14 years, if this the country is to be the best place in the world to be a veteran, then they have certainly helped re write the script in that direction and lessons could be learnt. If you have chance to support a service charity in any way please do, like all charities post lockdown they really do need it.

National Insurance Contribution Holiday for companies that employ new veterans.

There is now a Nation Insurance Contribution Holiday for business that hire veterans in their first civilian role.