Then there was a reluctance to even recognise debilitating conditions like Gulf War Syndrome – and the Hull-based National Gulf Veterans and Families Association led a very protracted campaign, far longer than the original military conflict, on behalf of its members who had gone to war in the name of freedom and liberty.
Today the outlook is more sure-footed. Tory MP Johnny Mercer, whose own career in the Army saw him undertake three arduous tours of Afghanistan, is the Veterans Minister. Much awareness-raising work has been undertaken by the Royal Family, including, it should be said, the Duke of Sussex in the wake of his own front line experiences.
Yet, for many service personnel, the switch to civilian life can, for many reasons, be a difficult one and many of the support networks built up over recent years have, just like the voluntary sector as a whole, seen funding and income badly hit by the Covid pandemic.
However, while this is just one of many post-pandemic policy challenges, these are brave men – and women – who were willing to go to war on the UK’s behalf. As such, Yorkshire, a county proud of its longstanding and enduring military heritage, owes it to them to ensure that their plight is not forgotten so that they can still access the support they so clearly need. This newspaper, for one, will not.
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