-Despair grows in military circles
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the British Army are reeling from a spate of suicides in the armed forces, with veterans of grueling Afghanistan tours being hit the hardest.
Five mostly Army veterans and at least two serving soldiers have killed themselves in the past 15 days, with campaigners claiming the latest spike in suicides is the “worst on record”.
The two serving soldiers are believed to be Sergeant James Byrne, 29, and Matt Slater, who was 33 when he killed himself.
Both Byrne and Slater were so-called Afghanistan veterans, with Slater having completed multiple tours in the Afghan conflict zone with the Royal Anglian Regiment.
A former colleague of Slater told the Daily Mirror (May 15) that the Royal Anglian Regiment soldier had been “deeply affected” after two of his fellow combatants were “blown up in front of him” in 2010.
Former soldier and Northern Ireland veteran, Dean Hart, 53, who appeared on the ITV series Gladiators in 1993, is also believed to have killed himself in early May.
Scottish former soldier, Kyle Robertson, 28, who served in Afghanistan in 2012 with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was found dead at a friend’s house on May 05.
Robertson’s mother, Shona, told the daily Mirror that her son “needed a lot of help but didn’t get any”.
Like the other serving soldiers and veterans who have committed suicide this month, Robertson appears to have been neglected by the authorities – notably the MoD – despite suffering from depression and anxiety.
Not all the soldiers and ex-servicemen who have committed suicide this month were from the Army.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) announced earlier this month that one of their volunteers, Royal Navy veteran, Martin Hallett, had committed suicide outside the Shoreham lifeboat station in West Sussex.
Beyond the latest spate of suicides in military circles, at least 25 British former and serving personnel have killed themselves this year alone and more than 250 have died by suicide since 2018.