Tag Archives: veteran

Why I support ‘Free Marine A’.

marine, army, Afghanistan, Iraq, This morning, suited and booted, I will be joining the ranks of the masses commuting into London.

This in itself, is hardly a big deal. After all, there are millions of people who do the same thing every single day but for me, it’s a very rare occasion. Normally, I avoid the rush hour like the proverbial plague.

Today however, isn’t a normal day. It’s actually a very special day. For at 11.30, a large group of military veterans led by a sizeable contingent of former Royal Marines, will gather in Parliament Square in a silent show of support for Sergeant Al Blackman who is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a Taliban insurgent. And I will be one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, Sgt Blackman served in a very different military from the one I did. His career as a member of one of the worlds elite military fighting units involved front line combat in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan amongst other places. Mine, as a ground engineer in the Royal Air Force, generally involved avoiding work where possible and trying to squeeze as much money as possible from the RAF Motorsports Association.

However, we have one thing in common: we wore a British military uniform and whilst the colour of our beret’s was, and is, vastly different, it gives us a common bond. Which is why, like all the veterans in attendance tomorrow as well as the many thousands who cannot make it, I will be doing my utmost to show my disgust at the fact that a brave man languishes in prison simply because he was hung out to dry by the very people who were, and are, supposed to protect him.

So if you’re in London todayand you see anyone wearing anything which marks them out as ex-military, you know where they’re either going or have been.

I know they would appreciate your support.

If you would like to know more about the background to the case of Marine A, please read this article by the author Frederick Forsyth.  

@dougiebrimson


football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

These vindictive and cowardly attacks on our Armed Forces must be stopped.

veteran1It may or may not have escaped your attention that our Armed Forces are currently under attack. Not from ISIS (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days) but from a new enemy.

Ambulance chasers, traitors, filth, cowards, call them what you will (and trust me, whatever term you want to use, I agree with you) this enemy within is profiting, if not driving, a witch hunt against over 250 serviceman and veterans on the basis of often spurious historical allegations made against them  during operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

That this is being allowed to continue is wrong on so many levels but the fact that the bulk of it is being funded by the tax payer, that’s you and me, beggars belief. What other country on this planet would send it’s men and women off to war and then undermine them in such a heartless and gutless manner once they return home? Isn’t it bad enough that so many are leaving the forces without proper medical care, work or even homes?

However, whilst all of this heaps further shame on an already shamed Ministry of Defence and the resident of 10 Downing Street, there is a silver lining. For in the face of this injustice, the veteran community are being unified like never before.

Army, Navy or RAF, you come after one, you come after us all and the vast majority of us have quite simply had enough of being targeted whilst the terrorists and guilty politicians walk free. And make no mistake, that same sentiment is increasingly being felt by those still in uniform.

We have already seen peaceful protests in London in support of Marine A and in Birmingham in support of L/Cpl J and more are planned for the coming months but in addition, the following advice is urgently being circulated to all those who have or who may or may not be contacted by any organisation carrying out an investigation of this kind:

1) Ignore any letters. They have NO relevance in law.

2) Do not under any circumstances attend any place or office if requested. If they want you, let them arrest you and a whole new ball game opens up.

3) If arrested say nothing request a lawyer. Number, rank, name is sufficient. 

4) Whoever arrests you has 24 hours to charge or release you.

5). A tactic may be to bail you ‘pending further enquiries’ if this happens make an immediate complaint against arresting officer. This is a ‘historic enquiry’ so what further enquiries are necessary?

6). Make a Freedom of Information demand to the MOD for the identity of the complainant and, more importantly, if the complainant is or was a paid intelligence source. This will really mess them up because if there is even a sniff of something untoward, they will have to drop it for fear of negative publicity.

Please help by circulating this information (or this blog) to any serviceman or veteran you might know because one way or another, we have to put a stop to it. 

After all, if a nation puts its military on the back foot it won’t be too long before it doesn’t have a military left. And in these uncertain times, we as a nation are going to need them more than ever.

If you would like to see more information about the kind of thing going on, please visit one of the following:

Army chief backs Iraq troops

I’d rebuilt my life… 

Just leave me be…

2015. Another year in a hack writers life.

writing, author, screenwriter, hollywoodGiven that the working year starts proper tomorrow, I thought it might be a good idea to let people know what to expect from me in terms of output in 2016. For as has been remarked more than once recently, I apparently did f**k all last year.

This is of course, not strictly true. Writing, much like my time management and adherence to self-imposed deadlines, is never an exact science and the truth is, I actually wrote a reasonable amount last year.

In fact, amongst other things, I have three fresh scripts at various stages of development together with a couple of others in the pipeline. In addition, a great deal of time was spent trying to get my Afghan war film into production although ultimately, much of that was wasted waiting for people who just didn’t deliver.

Sadly, this isn’t exactly unusual in the world of film although it is fair to say that in this instance, given the people involved, I was both surprised and disappointed. However, of all the projects I’ve ever worked on, I’ve never been more determined to bring something through to the screen as I am with this one and with a decent and experienced team now in place, not to mention support from a number of others, all I can say is watch this space.

In amongst all that, work continued on the sequel to Top Dog which is now fast approaching completion and if time allows, I will finally write the sequel to Billy’s Log next.

That should, I hope, keep me busy throughout the coming 12 months although I still have a few other things to work on. Not least the lingering issue of Top Dog although thankfully that’s pretty much a matter for the boys in blue now.

So, that’s what 2016 holds for me. What about you?

Whatever it is, make it count!

.

@dougiebrimson

My numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.


Why this photo haunts my writing life. 

Harrier, author, writing, football, filmOn Dec 31st 1975, a week short of my 17th birthday, I left the confines of my happy, if chaotic, family home and headed off for an adventure. Or to put it another way, I headed off to begin my basic training in the Royal Air Force.

I have written about my time in the military many times and no doubt, will do so again as I become more and more involved in all things veteran. However, the more I think back to those days, the more I have one very specific regret; I never kept a diary. As a consequence, I’ve forgotten far more than I can remember.

Take the photo at the top of this blog. Yes, that fresh faced lad on the left is me, standing alongside a gentleman (and I use that term loosely) named Pete Cutler. It was taken in approximately 1980/81 and the fact that we were on deployment with the Harrier Force and flying out of a forest somewhere in Germany are about the only details I can remember with any degree of accuracy.

On the face of it, that would be enough. It is after all, a relatively simple picture. However, that single photograph serves as a portal into a unique world that very few people ever got to experience. I’m not talking about being at the sharp end of the West’s response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union or the fact that we were working with what was possibly the greatest military aircraft of all time. I’m taking about what went on when the flying stopped and we were free to relax. And when I say relax, I mean get up to mischief.  

Indeed, it’s safe to say that were I ever to write my autobiography, life out in the field with 4 Squadron RAF (and Mister Cutler for that matter) provided that young fresh faced lad on the left with enough anecdotes to fill more than a chapter or two.

Blagging a flight in the rear seat of a T2 Harrier, living in an abandoned Nazi Hospital, swearing at Fergie (the Princess, not the manager), waking up in a lake (literally), encounters with the SAS, getting shot at and even late night visits to live sex shows are amongst numerous tales I have rattling around my head from those days but sadly, thanks to the obligatory intake of vast amounts of duty-free alcohol coupled with the passing of far too many years, the details of most are at best sketchy and at worst, vague. Yet had I kept even a simple diary, all of this history and more would be at my fingertips ready to be transcribed.

The fact that I didn’t is one of my greatest regrets and not just as a writer or even as a veteran, but as someone who has lived and enjoyed their life. Then again, if I were able to put it all on paper, it’s fairly safe to say that it would be quite a read!

So please, whoever you are and whatever you do, keep a diary, even a basic one. And urge your kids to do the same. You never know when it might come in handy.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

 

Shorten the Remembrance Day Service? Yes please!

veterans, remembrance sunday, cenotaph, military, armed forces, london, poppyIt’s been announced today that at the request of Buckingham Palace, the Remembrance Day parade at the Cenotaph in London is to be shortened.

Not surprisingly, many people are assuming that this has been done to take a pop at Mr. Corbyn and the left-wing with others claiming it’s being done to avoid any kind of ‘scene’ on the day. There are even some allegations flying around that it’s yet another attack on both the veteran community and the armed forces by a government who seems hell-bent on running our military into the ground.

All of this is, to be frank, bollocks.

As someone who actually takes part in that parade as a member of the Falklands Veterans element, I can tell you that this decision isn’t just welcome, it’s long overdue.

Many of the men and women will be marching on Nov 8 are of seriously advancing years and whilst all of them are not only honoured to be taking part but will often have been looking forward to it all year, doing so is actually physically demanding. Remember, we don’t just stand in Whitehall and march past the memorial as part of the service, we have to gather in Horse Guards for an hour beforehand and that means a long time on our feet. And whilst we all do it willingly, believe me when I say that even for me with my dodgy back, it’s tough. Goodness only knows what it’s like for someone in their 80’s who has dodgy joints and so whoever made the decision to trim it down to make it easier for the old boys to pay their respects to their comrades in the most hallowed of places should be applauded.

Remembrance Sunday is about one thing and one thing only. It’s not the politicians, the nation, the commonwealth or even the Royal Family. It’s not even about the men and women who will march on the day. It’s about the men and woman whose names are engraved on memorials or headstones the world over. Because lest we forget, they and their memory are the most important participants of all.

For those who gave their tomorrows, wear your poppy with pride.

@dougiebrimson


football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

The picture that shames a nation.

shame1A photograph appeared this week which shamed this nation.

No, it’s not the one you are thinking about, horrific though that was, it’s another one.

This one.

soldier1
I know something of the background to this and I’m glad to say that thanks largely to the veteran community on social media but primarily to some of the excellent charities who support homeless veterans,  the guy and his family are now receiving the help he needed. But that’s not the point, the point is that he ended up in this desperate situation in the first place.

That he did so is a source of shame to us all.

A nation is defined in many ways but to me, a key reflection of a country is the way it looks after those who have served to defend and protect it. One only has to look toward the US to see the reverence with which it treats its military veterans to see that and the same can be said of many countries across the world. So why is it not the same here?

For sure, things are much better than they were 20 years ago when telling someone you were an ex-serviceman was akin to an admission of leprosy, but even now, veterans are frequently regarded as second class citizens. That’s especially true when it comes to the issue of social housing which goes some to explaining why there are in the region of 4500 veterans currently living on the streets of Britain.

Yes, that’s right. Four thousand five hundred.

That isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it’s actually contrary to the Armed Forces Covenant which states that local authorities in England give additional priority to members of the armed forces community with urgent housing needs. Well if being homeless isn’t urgent, I don’t know what is yet all too often, and for all kinds of reasons, elected officials are allowed to duck their duty of care and instead, abdicate their responsibility toward veterans to charity.

But at a time when this country is once again on the verge of asking our men and women in uniform to place their lives in danger to protect our way of life, should we, and especially our elected officials, not be doing better for their comrades? Of course we should. Not just for their sakes, but for the sake of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Be it on The Somme, Normandy, Burma, Korea, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan or any one of a thousand conflicts in which the British military have been involved.

One homeless veteran is one too many. It always will be.

If you would like to know more, please visit Homes4HomelessVeterans or Soldiers Off The Streets.

This Band of Brothers…

argentina, falklands war, thatcher, royal airforce, nimrod, vulcan, harrierToday is the 6th of June. A date which in the history of the world, will forever hold a special significance. For it is of course, the anniversary of the D-Day landings, and I hope you don’t need me to tell you what that means.

For me, such days are memorable for all kinds of reasons. Remembering the fallen is obviously the most important but not far behind is the joy I get from seeing those glorious old men and women who, bedecked in their berets, blazers and medals, are placed firmly centre stage and looked upon with the awe, reverence and respect they so richly deserve.

Heroes is too small a word.

Now as some of you may know, I served in the military. For over 18 years in fact. And although I played a minor role in the Falklands War, went through Gulf War One and have marched past the Cenotaph with the Falklands Vets more times than I care to remember, I have never really considered myself to be a ‘proper’ veteran. At least not in the sense that I have always regarded those who are quite rightly filling our newspapers and TV screens this morning.

However, (and I won’t go into it all now but if you want to know more, click here) this last week, for the very first time in the 18 years since I last wore a uniform, I have actually started to feel like one of them. A member of that special Band of Brothers we hear talked about so often.  And ironically, I have Mister Stanley Collymore to thank for that.

veteranFor as a result of the disrespect he has shown, and continues to show, to the 255 men whose boots he isn’t fit to even glance upon, he has awakened an army which has come together to gain not just respect, but justice but for our fallen comrades.

And believe me when I tell you that we will not rest until they get it. A simple truth Talksport, media organisations, elected officials and Talksport advertisers will already be acutely aware of.

Yes, I said ‘our’ and I said ‘we’. Because the truth is that I am finally not only happy, but proud to count myself amongst their number.

Tally ho chaps!

falklands, veteran, war, soldier, sailor, airman, RAF, Navy, racism, social media, twitter, Facebook, football, soccer,

This Band of Brothers…

argentina, falklands war, thatcher, royal airforce, nimrod, vulcan, harrierToday is the 6th of June. A date which in the history of the world, will forever hold a special significance. For it is of course, the anniversary of the D-Day landings, and I hope you don’t need me to tell you what that means.

For me, such days are memorable for all kinds of reasons. Remembering the fallen is obviously the most important but not far behind is the joy I get from seeing those glorious old men and women who, bedecked in their berets, blazers and medals, are placed firmly centre stage and looked upon with the awe, reverence and respect they so richly deserve.

Heroes is too small a word.

Now as some of you may know, I served in the military. For over 18 years in fact. And although I played a minor role in the Falklands War, went through Gulf War One and have marched past the Cenotaph with the Falklands Vets more times than I care to remember, I have never really considered myself to be a ‘proper’ veteran. At least not in the sense that I have always regarded those who are quite rightly filling our newspapers and TV screens this morning.

However, (and I won’t go into it all now but if you want to know more, click here) this last week, for the very first time in the 18 years since I last wore a uniform, I have actually started to feel like one of them. A member of that special Band of Brothers we hear talked about so often.  And ironically, I have Mister Stanley Collymore to thank for that.

veteranFor as a result of the disrespect he has shown, and continues to show, to the 255 men whose boots he isn’t fit to even glance upon, he has awakened an army which has come together to gain not just respect, but justice but for our fallen comrades.

And believe me when I tell you that we will not rest until they get it. A simple truth Talksport, media organisations, elected officials and Talksport advertisers will already be acutely aware of.

Yes, I said ‘our’ and I said ‘we’. Because the truth is that I am finally not only happy, but proud to count myself amongst their number.

Tally ho chaps!

falklands, veteran, war, soldier, sailor, airman, RAF, Navy, racism, social media, twitter, Facebook, football, soccer,

Why Falklands veterans are at war, with Collymore.

military, veterans, forces, falklands war, writer, author, screenwriting, Thatcher, football, talksport

Last weekend, ex-footballer and radio pundit Stan Collymore posted the tweet you can see on the left of this page.

Now aside from being factually inaccurate, it is also offensive. Not just to me as a Falklands veteran, but to a sizeable number of the veteran community, their families and a great many ‘civilians’ who support the UK’s Armed Forces. For it was tweeted on the 32nd anniversary of the sinking of both HMS Coventry and The Atlantic Conveyor together with the loss of 31 souls.

Although Mr. Collymore deleted it fairly soon afterwards, along with a number of other equally offensive if not illegal tweets, he was too late for it had already been screen grabbed and widely circulated. Many people, including The Falkland Islands government, became angry at the disrespect shown to the 255 who died during the South Atlantic conflict and began voicing that anger on twitter with many asking for an apology.

However, despite being someone who has been quite vociferous in his call for personal accountability with regard to the use of social media, ironically as a result of offence aimed at him via twitter, these requests were met with distain and even an accusation that we, as a group, were in the wrong for taking the tweet out of context.

Now I could go on, but I don’t need to. The background (and whole lot more!) to this can be found in these two blogs. I would urge you to read them both.

Veteran to Veteran

Mad Doggers and British Men

Now, as I type this over a week later, over 20,000 veterans and equally outraged citizens are have come together on Facebook and are waging an online war against both Mr. Collymore and his primary employer, Talksport.

bbc, falklands, match of the day, MOTDI have been told that on the two occasions he has appeared on air, the station’s twitter and email feeds almost went into meltdown whilst the phone lines were blocked with angry callers. In addition, news that he had been signed to appear on BBC’s Match of the Day 2 next season resulted in the corporation being deluged with complaints to such an extent that it was forced to issue a statement that contrary to reports, Mr. Collymore had not been booked for any appearances.

Many people simply want an apology (and possibly a donation to a suitable military charity) but the majority want his removal from the airwaves altogether. But thus far, aside from threats of legal action from Mr. Collymore against all sorts of people including ironically the BBC, the silence has been deafening.

Quite what happens next will be interesting to say the least. But one thing is certain, the veteran community is coming together like never before and they are seriously pissed.

Watch this space.

If you would like to know more, you can hear Simon Weston and myself discussing the issue by clicking on this link to BBC Three Counties Radio. I am on at 2:06.00

 

military, veteran, forces, falklands war, writer, author, screenwriting, Thatcher, football, talksport, world cup, Brazil

Why Falklands veterans are at war, with Collymore.

military, veterans, forces, falklands war, writer, author, screenwriting, Thatcher, football, talksport

Last weekend, ex-footballer and radio pundit Stan Collymore posted the tweet you can see on the left of this page.

Now aside from being factually inaccurate, it is also offensive. Not just to me as a Falklands veteran, but to a sizeable number of the veteran community, their families and a great many ‘civilians’ who support the UK’s Armed Forces. For it was tweeted on the 32nd anniversary of the sinking of both HMS Coventry and The Atlantic Conveyor together with the loss of 31 souls.

Although Mr. Collymore deleted it fairly soon afterwards, along with a number of other equally offensive if not illegal tweets, he was too late for it had already been screen grabbed and widely circulated. Many people, including The Falkland Islands government, became angry at the disrespect shown to the 255 who died during the South Atlantic conflict and began voicing that anger on twitter with many asking for an apology.

However, despite being someone who has been quite vociferous in his call for personal accountability with regard to the use of social media, ironically as a result of offence aimed at him via twitter, these requests were met with distain and even an accusation that we, as a group, were in the wrong for taking the tweet out of context.

Now I could go on, but I don’t need to. The background (and whole lot more!) to this can be found in these two blogs. I would urge you to read them both.

Veteran to Veteran

Mad Doggers and British Men

Now, as I type this over a week later, over 20,000 veterans and equally outraged citizens are have come together on Facebook and are waging an online war against both Mr. Collymore and his primary employer, Talksport.

bbc, falklands, match of the day, MOTDI have been told that on the two occasions he has appeared on air, the station’s twitter and email feeds almost went into meltdown whilst the phone lines were blocked with angry callers. In addition, news that he had been signed to appear on BBC’s Match of the Day 2 next season resulted in the corporation being deluged with complaints to such an extent that it was forced to issue a statement that contrary to reports, Mr. Collymore had not been booked for any appearances.

Many people simply want an apology (and possibly a donation to a suitable military charity) but the majority want his removal from the airwaves altogether. But thus far, aside from threats of legal action from Mr. Collymore against all sorts of people including ironically the BBC, the silence has been deafening.

Quite what happens next will be interesting to say the least. But one thing is certain, the veteran community is coming together like never before and they are seriously pissed.

Watch this space.

If you would like to know more, you can hear Simon Weston and myself discussing the issue by clicking on this link to BBC Three Counties Radio. I am on at 2:06.00

 

military, veteran, forces, falklands war, writer, author, screenwriting, Thatcher, football, talksport, world cup, Brazil