2009
24.06

We learned that Andy will be one of the speakers at the event “Speaking up for Heroes” on 16 July 2009 at the Royal Institution, London. 

“For one unforgettable night, several of the finest speakers in the UK will gather at the Royal Institution, London, to present on the subject of courage, of achievement, of overcoming impossible odds – to celebrate heroism itself.

The cause for this evening could not be more relevant or noble; Help for Heroes is an organisation formed to help those who have been wounded in Britain’s current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have raised millions of pounds over the last two years, and yet their work continues unabated. Speaking up for Heroes – the first event of its kind – will see great speakers celebrating and supporting our nation’s great heroes. Each speaker will talk of their own experiences, of great adventures, and give their own views on heroism, fortitude, courage and indefatigable will.

This is your chance to be part of this unique event, and to help raise over £100,000 for Help for Heroes.

All of the speakers and the Royal Institution are offering their services free of charge, so almost every penny raised will go directly to Help for Heroes.”

2009
21.06

June 21st, 2009

From the Food for Heroes website:

Food for Heroes is the work from a group of friends who were serving together at RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland.  With a number of us having recently returned from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the work that a newly formed charity “Help for Heroes” was trying to do truly struck a chord with us. 

The result is the book “Food for Heroes”, a cook book with a difference.  Over a hundred contributors list, including politicians, sporting icons, celebrities and many others, have given up their time to tell us about their Heroes and what they would feed them. All of the recipes were cooked by our team of service chefs and photographed by Military photographers.  The result is an intriguing smorgasbord of celebrity, nostalgia, bravery, humour and food which has developed into an extremely unusual cook book with a very different look and feel.

All profits from the book will benefit Help for Heroes and because of the generosity of our Publishers Accent Press and our Printers Butler, Tanner and Dennis, their profits from the book are also being donated to the charity.”

Newsmedian writes:

“If it is true that an army marches on its stomach, then what more fitting way to raise money for injured soldiers than a cook book dedicated to heroes. Profits from the Food for Heroes cook book will benefit the charity Help for Heroes, which works to provide services for wounded armed service personnel.

A hundred people were asked to nominate their hero and the dish they would cook for them, the book is the result.
Among those asked were Gordon Brown, Dame Vera Lynn, and UK war veterans.”

SAS soldier-turned-author Andy McNab said he would cook “the world’s hottest chicken curry” for his hero, pioneering Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton.

Mr McNab said: “I would love to cook him dinner. I reckon I would cook him the world’s hottest chicken curry, and I think he would have been gagging for it.”

Go here to read the full article in NewsMedian 

2009
30.03

Help For Heroes wristbandHelp for Heroes – The next step – Help The Sun raise £20million

WHAT WILL YOU DO?
By Tom Newton Dunn – Published:  30 March 2009

The Sun today calls its army of kind-hearted readers into action as we launch a new battle to help Britain’s brave wounded troops.
Our target, with the charity Help for Heroes, is to raise £20MILLION for a network of seven homes where those terribly injured serving their country can start new lives.

Read the full article here

Comment by Andy McNab:
“I AM proud to be a patron of Help for Heroes which is making a positive impact on troops’ lives — but this is just the beginning. These brave men and women will need our support for many years to come.
 
Your money not only goes towards the big stuff, like a pool and gym at Headley Court. 
It also provides the Troop Aid “Hero Grab Bags” containing washing kit, a T-shirt, underwear, socks and a phone card given to Our Boys and Girls on admission to hospital.
 
Your donations allow them to leave hospital for an hour for a pie and a pint with loved ones. The money also helps those scarred by post-traumatic stress disorder.
 
Our troops deserve 21st century care for wounds inflicted by modern warfare. The best way to support them is by giving to H4H.”

2008
23.11

Andy McNab on the battle that never ends

Combat Stress is one of the charities you can support in this year’s Telegraph appeal. Here, Andy McNab, who has seen brave friends devastated by the aftermath of war, explains why it is such a vital cause.

With thousands of members of the Armed Forces returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is rising dramatically.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this. The ancient Greeks recorded similar symptoms in their soldiers after they returned from battle. They understood that their veterans would require support. But somehow the Greeks’ lessons were lost on us.

During the First World War, a PTSD sufferer would have been placed against a wall and shot because it was believed that this condition was brought on by weakness of character. During the Second World War, the sufferer was instead sent down the coal mines and made to wear a LMF (lack of moral fibre) armband.

Even today, PTSD suffers are stigmatised. This has to stop. Any service personnel hit by the disorder are casualties of war, just as much as soldiers hit by an enemy bullet. More service personnel who fought in the 1982 Falklands War have gone on to commit suicide than the 255 killed in action.

I served in the British Army for 18 years: eight as an infantry solider, and 10 in the SAS. I have been captured and tortured as a prisoner of war in Iraq. I have been placed against a wall for a mock execution. I have stood beside friends as they have been shot or blown up in the mud, and I have killed men in many different ways, to prevent the enemy from killing me first. I don’t think I suffer from PTSD, but I am very aware that I probably just got lucky.

I’m a patron of Help for Heroes. We do a lot to help the physical wellbeing of injured soldiers, and we also work alongside the charity Combat Stress. But we need a lot more help if we are even going to begin to treat this condition properly. Combat Stress says it takes an average of 14 years before someone approaches its charity for help. And they usually do that only when their lives have already fallen apart.

I know this from experience. Two of my closest friends have committed suicide as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder, and many more have suffered terribly for years. My SAS troop, 7 Troop, was never more than 12-strong, so we knew each other very well. Frank Collins and Nish Bruce were a bit older than me and they became my heroes. I operated with both of these men in South East Asia, as well as under cover in Northern Ireland. Frank eventually left the SAS, got ordained into the Anglican Church and became an Army Padre.

Nish was decorated for his bravery and ranked as one of the top 10 free-fallers in the world. Both were tough, brave and thoughtful men. To see my two friends, and others like them, decline in body and spirit until they can’t bear to live any more, leaves me scared, frustrated and angry.

After my experience of being a POW in Baghdad in the first Gulf war, I was automatically sent for counselling. It was conducted by Dr Gordon Turnbull, then an RAF psychiatrist, and now one of the world’s leading experts on PTSD. He explains it very simply: a normal reaction to an abnormal experience.

Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, high anxiety, severe mood swings, hyper-alertness, violent and aggressive outbursts, lack of concentration, sexual dysfunction and depression, and an inability to readjust to ordinary life. It often leads to drinking, divorce, violence, unemployment, crime, prison, suicide and even murder.

Another member of my troop, Tommy Shanks, became a doctor after he left the SAS. One day he pulled an assault rifle from the boot of his car after an argument with his ex-girlfriend and gunned her down outside a pub. He is serving life in prison. Three guys who served with Shanks in the Gulf have committed suicide. Two were military doctors. Seeing young men carried into their wards scarred and with limbs missing must have taken its toll.

All sufferers of PTSD need treatment. But like the combat that is responsible for the disorder, fixing a broken mind is not a precise science. Part of the problem is that soldiers often don’t want to ask for help. Apart from anything else, they don’t want those close to them to think they are weak.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is not about being weak. I have been to both Iraq and Afghanistan with our troops, and today’s 19-year-old infantry solders are as hard as any generation before them.

Since late onset of PTSD can occur up to 13 years after a traumatic event, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. About 130,000 UK armed service personnel have now rotated through Iraq and Bosnia. So far, more than 2,000 Iraq veterans have already been diagnosed with PTSD.

Charities are at the forefront of care for our veterans. But what about the NHS? The state has made them responsible for veterans’ mental welfare.

I feel the NHS could do so much more but stands back, perhaps in the hope that the underfunded but committed charities will do it for them. There is a mental health crisis facing those who have served our country. We need to act now, before we discover in another decade that more soldiers have killed themselves since returning from Iraq and Afghanistan than were killed there in action. Our veterans deserve our help, our understanding and a whole lot of respect. And what’s more, they need it now.

Source: The Telegraph

2008
13.11

Andy McNab, the SAS veteran and author of Bravo Two Zero, will next month publish his fourteenth book, Brute Force. His first book, Bravo Two Zero was an account of the now famous eight man special forces patrol McNab commanded during the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

www.battleseen.com

This is like a military website where troops upload their own film that has normally been taken by a helmet cam or mobile phone. There’s not just ‘bang bang’ but also some very funny clips from guys sitting in the middle of the desert and bored.

www.frontlineclub.com

Frontline is a media club that uniquely combines eating, drinking and thinking. The Frontline Club after the Frontline Television News agency closed down. Frontline TV was created during the chaos and confusion of the Romanian revolution. The Club was set up by the surviving (many were killed while filming in on war zones) members of the original team of maverick cameramen. The site does a great job of ensuring that stories that fade from headlines are kept in sharp focus.

www.apolloduck.com

This is my day dreaming site. I can spend hours checking out all the luxury yachts for sale around the world. Today I noticed that there is one of my favourite (this week anyway) yacht’s for sale in the South of France. A Sunseeker 82 and a snip at £1.8 million. I hope that includes a full tank of diesel.

www.helpforheroes.org.uk

I’m a patron of this charity that is helping to care for the wounded in Britain’s current conflicts. What is H4H all about? It’s about the blokes, our men and women. It’s about a soldier who has lost both his legs, it’s about a young guy whose jaw is wired up so he has been drinking through a straw. It’s about a young guy who was handed a mobile phone as he lay on the stretcher so he could say goodbye to his wife.

www.reverso.net

The reason I spend far too much time looking at boats (that I’ll never buy) is because I have an apartment on the Italian coast and the harbour is full of Russian gin places. I have got to know a couple of the owners these past few years and they try to trip me up with Russian emails. But with reverso.net I can instantly translate them and send my reply’s in Russian and that really annoys them.

Source Telegraph.co.uk

Well… I can only add that there is a very significant link missing there 😉

2008
01.11

On the 30th of October Andy was the Guest speaker at the National Army Museum in Chelsea London. Gary Curtis was lucky enough to get a ticket and he wrote us a review: 

National Army Museum, London
19.00 hours

I sit in the shop come cafe eating my muffin pondering if a 33 year old man like myself can justify buying the Action Man I can see on the shelf in front of me, even if he does come with full SAS black assault gear.

There was a certain amount of excited browsing going on from the people gathered here waiting to hear a talk from the SAS hero and author, Andy McNab!

I for one was very happy to buy Brute Force, the new Nick Stone thriller a week or so before it’s official release.

We all moved down to a rather grand room in the museum, took our seats and after a short bit of faffing about out comes Andy McNab, ahhh, so that’s what he looks like!

Andy starts by telling us his story in the army. From a young boy facing a life of crime to the Green Jackets and the various tours of Northern Ireland. His main motivation at this point was to buy cars between the tours and write them off! Next onto selection for the SAS. Andy mentioned his work in the regiment and the funny first meeting of his new mates in Seven Troop.

After Bravo Two Zero he said the MOD were keen for him to write about his experiences in Iraq. How this led to a best seller and his work in the media for newspapers and TV. Several trips to see the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown him that the current British soldier is the best equipped of any generation of soldiers the UK has had, particularly the Osprey body armour which has stopped 50 cal rounds. He also mentioned the trauma care in Basra is the best in the world and doctors are keen to do a tour there to gain experience.

Andy mentioned a lot of people back in the UK are concerned about he amount of soldiers getting injured but he said 5 years ago they would have been killed instead.

Questions.

Andy offered to answer any questions the audience may have. Of course there was so many questions and so little time!

Firstly Andy was asked about PTSD and how it effected both friends of his in the Regiment and how army is much better in recognising it in soldiers today. He mentioned that the MOD were supportive of Andy writing Seven Troop and bring PTSD to the publics attention. He also mentioned his work for Help for Heroes. When asked how he was feeling, Andy said he barks at the moon every Thursday!

Secondly he was asked about women not being able to fight on the front line and Andy said that he had witnessed female soldiers fighting and there is no issues with it. He said that the lack of a front line is giving them a chance which isn’t often reported.

Andy was asked about the armed police being used more and more and how and when the SAS would be called in on counter terrorism duties. Andy said that the regiment would be used as the police do not use explosive entry. The SAS would always be called for any jobs that involved this.

There was talk on how his friends reacted to the success of Bravo Two Zero and some were jealous but most were very supportive. Sadly time ran out and there was a huge round of applause from us fans!

Book signing.

I was about fifth in line for the book signing, I was keen. Before hand I decided to take Bravo Two Zero, my original paperback as this was the book that got me hooked on McNab’s writing. My turn came. I walked up and put it down for Andy to sign, he laughed and said “that’s an old one”. He wrote ‘buy new one! Andy McNab’ in it! Next up was my wife with my Brute Force book and she asked Andy to sign it for me. ‘Two R’s or one’? he asked.

I was always nervous about meeting my heroes but Andy was down to earth and friendly. Once signed I shook hands with Andy, I got a grin and that was that!

No dramas!

Andy McNab signed Gary Curtis' book