2018
19.01

The Sun
18 January 2018

“My mentor Bob Curry was the perfect SAS soldier and deserves far better than being homeless”
By Andy McNab

Bob Curry, one of the SAS soldiers involved in the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege, has been left homeless by a local council which failed to house him. Now living in a B&B in Hereford, relying on charities and his mates for a roof over his head, Bob’s situation really is proof that it can happen to anyone.

Bob and I were in the same sabre squadron. When I joined, four years after the embassy siege, he was already a corporal. Around 1.5 million people claim to have been on that siege, but he was one of the real ones, and he had that air about him.

When you join a sabre squadron, you’re told to pick somebody who you think is the perfect SAS soldier and learn from them. Bob Curry was one of the lads who everyone was told to watch. He was actually my mentor on the counter-terrorism team before we did a tour together in the Middle East.

He’s smart, articulate and full of push, his business was successful, but now he’s fallen through the cracks and he needs a hand. All Bob needs is a leg up and somewhere to live, and he’ll be back on his feet in no time, but he has had to go cap in hand to a charity for help because local government hasn’t fulfilled their parts of the mutual contract. The regimental association has done a brilliant job looking after him but it should never come to this. When people sign up to our military, they deserve to be looked after once they’re out.

Just like we have veterans who are mental and physical casualties, we also have veterans like Bob who are victims of circumstance. He is just as much of a casualty as if he was shot or had a leg blown off. People like him don’t only need our help, they deserve it.

But, sadly, Bob’s situation is not uncommon. People are falling through the cracks, whether it’s through PTSD or unlucky circumstances, and we have to catch them as they’re coming through.

Rewind five years and all the local councils are talking about the Military Covenant to make themselves look good. If local councils claim they’re pro-military, it may look great on the PR sheet, but they have to make sure that they are stepping up to the plate when they need to.

All we need to do is get Bob back our there so he can be productive, restart his business and start paying taxes and doing his bit for the country all over again. It’s the council’s responsibility to make that happen and now is the time to start backing their pro-military words up with actions.

In general, veterans get on well after leaving the army, but things like this happen – and it can happen to anyone.

But how on Earth do we expect people to sign up to non-liability contracts, knowing they could be killed, if you know you’re not going to be helped afterwards? We, as a nation, are not fulfilling our part of the contract we have with people like Bob.

We’re failing him.

I see no reason why veterans shouldn’t be a priority – because of what they’ve done for the very establishment which is supposed to be helping them. And there are two things you can do to help.

Firstly, show we do care about our veterans by signing the petition to get Bob a home. Then petition your local councils. Email them and phone them to ask about how they are treating our veterans and demand that they do more. Jesse Norman, the local MP in this case, is a good man.

Hopefully he’ll get on to Bob’s case and do something about it – but there are going to be thousands more like him who need our help.

Give a home to SAS hero Bob, sign the petition here

Go here to read the full article in The Sun

Bob, pictured here in his SAS days, slipped between the cracks after his business went under.
Photo in The Sun/Bournemouth News

2018
11.01

The Sun
10 January 2018

The new army advertising campaign that promotes emotional and physical support for recruits has prompted huge debate over the message it sends out.
Here former SAS sergeant Andy McNab and former First Sea Lord Admiral The Lord West of Spithead wade in to the row.

“If you don’t go out to all the sections of society to recruit, there won’t be a military” ~Andy McNab

“The adverts are a good move. The fact is, they’re opening up to a broader spectrum of potential applicants.

We are having problems recruiting people to the army because it’s not seen as a vocation any more and the bureaucracy of it is so painful that it puts people off.

If people think the military is full of six foot tall, four foot wide heterosexual males, then they’re wrong.

You get people jumping up and down saying it’s an outrage that there are gay people in the army but basically go to any battalion and try to pick the gay guys out, because you can’t – but they’re there. There have always been homosexuals in the army, there will always be great soldiers who are homosexual in the army. I think they’ve been watching too many Sunday afternoon, black and white war films. They exist in society so of course they’ll be in the military.

If you’ve got a gay man who wants to join the army, he now knows he’s welcome to apply. He’ll find out when he gets there if he wants to stay or not, but getting him there in the first place is the real issue.

PTSD and mental health issues are now being recognised as much as a battle space injury like getting shot or blown up and that’s the way it should be.

The adverts address this upfront – they’re being open about it and celebrating it. The campaign is saying, “It’s alright, it’s okay, we’re aware of it and we’re dealing with it, so come on in”. What these adverts do is address the issues for people who might stop going ahead with an application.

There have always been gay guys in battalions. So what? There have always been women in units, carrying the same weapons. The standard of the unit it’s not going to change. What you’re doing is opening up the pool of people to apply. It’s a weird sort of perception people have of the military. The whole black-white, men-woman thing has long disappeared. The senior management were brought up on punk music – they’re not all Colonel Blimps.”

It doesn’t matter what colour you are or what your sexuality is; if you fit the requirements, great, you’re in – now start working. ~Andy McNab

Go here to read the full article in The SUN