'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

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'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by HoratioTarr on Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:41 pm

The death of a homeless former soldier has sparked outrage among veterans charities who say more must be done to look after ex-servicemen.

Ex-squaddie Darren Greenfield, 47, who fell on hard times after leaving the Army, died on the streets of Edinburgh just a week before Christmas.

He was a regular face in the Scottish capital as he often spent time sitting on the steps of Waverley train station.

The Who Dares Charity, set up by two former soldiers to help people suffering with PTSD, said: 'It is a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets. It is an utter outrage.'

Mr Greenfield had served with the Royal Tank Regiment, the oldest tank unit in the world that is based in Tidworth in Wiltshire.

Friends online said he then transferred to the Royal Army Pay Corps in the 1990s. MailOnline have contacted the MoD for more details about his military history.

The news of his death sparked fury among campaigners who are calling for more to be done to help veterans adapt to civilian life.  

Military charities said at least 13,000 former soldiers are homeless – a record high.  

Tommy Davidson, the secretary of Ancre Somme Association Scotland, said: 'We are all saddened by the death of Darren.

'I first came into contact with Darren, probably like many others, when I was shopping in Edinburgh about six months ago.

'I came up the stairs from Waverley station and I noticed him. Thousands of Scots and tourists would have seen Darren sitting there.

'We have raised Darren's death with Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alexander Stewart to see what can be done to try and get ex-servicemen and women off the streets.

'We are asking for cross-party support so this issue doesn't end up as a political football.

'These people would have given their lives at one point when they were serving, so we should be able to help get them a home and career opportunities.

'They are highly skilled people...there must be something we can do to help them get back on their feet.'  

Ex-infantry sergeant Calum McLeod, who runs post-traumatic stress disorder charity Who Dares Cares, said: 'It is a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets.

'Many people will be angry that a hero was sleeping rough but many more will now be furious that he has been left to die there. It is an utter outrage.

'The homeless problem will get worse as the forces are downsized and more people return from the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a long-term problem with no easy solution.

'Our hearts and thoughts go out to Darren's friends and family at this very difficult time.'

Prison officer Les Standish, who won the Military Medal in the Falklands War, told the Daily Record: 'The Government have let these people down. These men and women were willing to fight and lay down their lives for this country and the only help available to them is from charities.

'The Government need to do more for them. It's a disgrace.'

Mr Standish, 56, a former member of 2 Para who himself was homeless for six months, said he has met hundreds of veterans who are reduced to sleeping in doorways, bus stops and parks.

He added: 'All of the homeless veterans I met had PTSD and were in need of help.'

A group called Soldiers Off The Street, who said they had reached out to Mr Greenfield, paid their respects on social media.

They posted: 'Ex-Royal Tank soldier Darren, who sat at the top of the Waverley Steps in Edinburgh, sadly died on December 17 after refusing help from Soldiers Off The Street, SSAFA and others.

'We tried helping him but we think the streets were his only way of living and coping with life. Now he can rest in peace and fly with the angels.'

Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray said: 'This is an absolutely tragic story and, once again, highlights the deficiencies in how we treat ex-service personnel when they leave the armed forces.

'The Armed Forces Covenant was a huge step forward but there are still too many, who risked their own lives for us, falling through the holes in the system.

'Both the UK and Scottish governments must do more to help brave ex-soldiers like Darren.'

The Ministry of Defence said: 'We provide extensive help to veterans and their families, including funding the Veterans' Gateway.

'The Government are spending more than £1billion to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping.'

Veterans minister Keith Brown said: 'It's extremely sad to hear of the untimely passing of a well-known and well-liked member of the Edinburgh veterans community.

'While the majority of former service personnel transition successfully to civilian life, we recognise that a number will struggle, with some being at particular risk of homelessness.

'Veterans found to be homeless are legally entitled to housing – but for those with more complex needs, housing alone may not be enough.

'That's why the Scottish Government established the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group and set up a £50million Ending Homelessness Together Fund.'





http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5274955/Homeless-ex-soldier-died-slept-Edinburgh-streets.html


Last edited by HoratioTarr on Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by Cass on Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:13 pm

He refused help. There’s not much that anyone can do at that point unless his family forcibly commits him. Sad but true.

It has to be said bluntly that being in the armed forces does not make you perfect, or even a very nice human being. It does not make you highly qualified to do other jobs automatically. It does not mean you should get preferential treatment. It doesn’t put you above fellow citizens who also need help.

Should there be more services available to those with PTSD? Absolutely. But if it’s going to come from the Government and not just charities, then taxpayers must make hard choices and either agree to paying more tax or see services cut elsewhere. The Government are already spending huge amounts.

Yes it’s tragic that he died. It’s tragic when anyone dies before they’ve lived a full life but it’s a very sad fact of reality that you cannot save everyone, no matter what they were previously.

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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by Syl on Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:22 pm

Statistics show that many of the homeless are ex servicemen.
Its tragic this man has died, but I do agree with Cass that if people don't want to be helped there is little anyone can do.

Why so many homeless are ex soldiers is a sad state of affairs.
Maybe they joined the army because they couldn't settle into normal life, maybe they were brainwashed once in there, or experienced such things which changed them, maybe no one wants them when they are released.... but they are not just dead beat drug addicts, there should be more help for them.

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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by magica on Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:46 pm

I think it stinks that men are fighting for the Army and on return have no home etc.

Back in 1918 many men came home to no house to live in, once they hit civvy st they were on their own. This also happened after the second war. Now happening today.

These are single men or men whose marriage has failed.

It's scandalous. How come they can find homes for immigrants, but our own, for whatever reason, get nothing.
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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by HoratioTarr on Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:18 pm

Cass wrote:He refused help. There’s not much that anyone can do at that point unless his family forcibly commits him. Sad but true.

It has to be said bluntly that being in the armed forces does not make you perfect, or even a very nice human being. It does not make you highly qualified to do other jobs automatically. It does not mean you should get preferential treatment. It doesn’t put you above fellow citizens who also need help.

Should there be more services available to those with PTSD? Absolutely. But if it’s going to come from the Government and not just charities, then taxpayers must make hard choices and either agree to paying more tax or see services cut elsewhere. The Government are already spending huge amounts.

Yes it’s tragic that he died. It’s tragic when anyone dies before they’ve lived a full life but it’s a very sad fact of reality that you cannot save everyone, no matter what they were previously.

There shouldn't be anyone dying on our streets, period. We need to stop sending so much foreign aid and allowing NHS health tourism and start building more social housing and get the homeless in places of safety. There are those who are genuinely homeless through circumstance, and/or mental health issues. What makes this case so poignant is that he's probably above average intelligence, skilled and suffering from PTSD through no fault of his own. Exactly why he refused help isn't fully known. Could be he was too fucked up mentally.
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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by magica on Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:51 am

I agree HT, no one in this day and age should be homeless, many through no fault of theirs.

It's almost like a kick back to Dickensian times.
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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by Jules on Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:32 pm

Cass wrote:He refused help. There’s not much that anyone can do at that point unless his family forcibly commits him. Sad but true.

The usual scenario!  When soldiers return home from active duty the post traumatic stress of war can cause severe psychological problems. And often drink problems too. Their marriages break up and their wives throw them out. There are hostels they can go stay in,  and they can apply for emergency financial help from specific army charities too.

Despite all this, they sometimes succumb to the sheer weight of their mental issues. Tragic case!

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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by Cass on Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:13 am

Jules wrote:
Cass wrote:He refused help. There’s not much that anyone can do at that point unless his family forcibly commits him. Sad but true.

The usual scenario!  When soldiers return home from active duty the post traumatic stress of war can cause severe psychological problems. And often drink problems too. Their marriages break up and their wives throw them out. There are hostels they can go stay in,  and they can apply for emergency financial help from specific army charities too.

Despite all this, they sometimes succumb to the sheer weight of their mental issues. Tragic case!

Absolutely. And also they maybe were not a nice person to begin with. Joining up doesn’t automatically make everyone a nice hero. I’ve met plenty of right old bastards (and bitches too) in all branches of the armed forces and they hadn’t seen combat.

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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by Maddog on Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:55 am

Cass wrote:
Jules wrote:

The usual scenario!  When soldiers return home from active duty the post traumatic stress of war can cause severe psychological problems. And often drink problems too. Their marriages break up and their wives throw them out. There are hostels they can go stay in,  and they can apply for emergency financial help from specific army charities too.

Despite all this, they sometimes succumb to the sheer weight of their mental issues. Tragic case!

Absolutely. And also they maybe were not a nice person to begin with. Joining up doesn’t automatically make everyone a nice hero. I’ve met plenty of right old bastards (and bitches too) in all branches of the armed forces and they hadn’t seen combat.

My experience is hardly scientific, but it seems the biggest assholes were the furthest from actual combat. The people who have actually stepped over the smouldering remains of the enemy, tend to be a bit more reflective and caring in life. It's the guy that never faced any danger that talks the toughest.

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Re: 'It's a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets': Veterans blast support for ex-forces as a former soldier dies while sleeping rough in Edinburgh

Post by Cass on Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:20 am

Maddog wrote:
Cass wrote:

Absolutely. And also they maybe were not a nice person to begin with. Joining up doesn’t automatically make everyone a nice hero. I’ve met plenty of right old bastards (and bitches too) in all branches of the armed forces and they hadn’t seen combat.

My experience is hardly scientific, but it seems the biggest assholes were the furthest from actual combat. The people who have actually stepped over the smouldering remains of the enemy, tend to be a bit more reflective and caring in life. It's the guy that never faced any danger that talks the toughest.  

I’ve seen both. Some who you are wondering how the hell they actually were accepted and given a gun. There’s plenty that Mr. C would not trust to watch his back.

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