Andy Julien, a 27 year old former cavalryman for the British Army remains abandoned by Britain’s Ministry of Defence. Now working as a customer service adviser for O2 he told the Observer newspaper; “For a long time my anger was directed towards the British guy who fired upon us; now I realise there was wider failure…”
Andy sustained his injuries during the illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003 when he and his colleagues came under assault from a Challenger II tank. A shot from the deadly British tank killed two British soldiers - one his best friend - and left him with severe injuries. The subsequent inquest into the incident found nobody to blame for what the army simply termed ‘friendly fire’.
At the early age of 14, Andy had decided to join the British army after meeting army recruitment personnel who had visited his school. Having being told of what a wonderful career he could have in the armed forces Andy went home and announced to his parents that he was going to become a solider. When they refused to allow him to join up, the teenager waited until he was seventeen and went to a local army careers office by himself. His mother said; “He needed our consent to join and we wouldn't sign the forms. He just said he'd wait until he was 18 when did not need our consent”.
Today Andy is still waiting for an appointment with the charity Combat Stress who help address the mental health issues afflicting victims of war. Despite the protestations of his solicitor, Andy still has not received any compensation and remains limited physically. Talking about the incident that injured her son, his mother said "he had been dragged from the tank with both legs broken - one badly crushed - a broken arm and a brain injury caused by shrapnel that had blinded him. He was taken away for surgery after we'd seen him, and the consultant warned us that he might not survive. He told us that all we could do was pray."
Andy Julien: Former African British soldier
Britain’s child soldiers
Britain is the only european country which recruits children into the armed forces from the age of 16 specifically seeking those with "low educational attainment and living in poor communities". In January 2008, a report exposed how the British army glamourises war as a means of attracting children into the military. The study revealed how more than £2 billion is spent each year recruiting and training about 20,000 new personnel to replace those who leave. The report states "The primary target groups for armed forces marketing are children and adolescents," this is done through the use of army websites , such as Camouflage, aimed at 12- to 17-year-olds and propaganda films about people from ethnically diverse communities historically participating in the British army.
Andy has undergone seven operations, including surgery to re-break and re-set his crushed right leg, which is now 5cms shorter than his left causing him to walk with a permanent limp. He has also had an operation to reverse a colostomy and underwent neuro-surgery after suffering a brain haemorrhage caused by shrapnel injuries. He has also been left with blurred vision in his left eye.
Andy who has received no contact or support from the British government or the Ministry of Defence after being betrayed by them feels abandoned. He said “I put my trust, my heart, my soul and everything into the army and I was told that I was a part of the family”.
External LinksObserver - They're back from the front line - so why are these ex-soldiers still fighting their own wars?Crippled by Friendly Fire .. left to rot by the ArmyGuardian - Army accused of glamorising war and recruiting youngstersCamouflage – Army recruitment for children
Role Muddle army recruitment campaign: David Case, Valerie Amos, David Lammy, Patricia Scotland, Trevor Phillips
African cultural values are a problem says Britain
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The army relies on children living in poor communities with low educational attainment to fill its ranks. The government believes it can stem a recruitment crisis by promoting the British army as the best career path for African children. Is this right?
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