The report comes in the wake of comments by the outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Stuart Peach, who said wider society has too simplistic a view of those that had served their country.
Military veterans are struggling to adapt to civilian life, a charity has warned, as former service personnel criticised the Ministry of Defence’s “tick-box” support.
Many working-age service leavers feel “undervalued by society and misunderstood by civilians” with the resettlement process failing to address their lost sense of belonging, the study by Ssafa, the Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Families Association, found..
The charity surveyed over 1,100 former service personnel between the ages of 18 and 49, for a new report titled The Nation’s Duty: Challenging society’s disservice to a new generation of veterans.
Over three quarters of those polled (77 per cent) – all of whom had sought help from the charity – said they felt they were not fully prepared for civilian life with 19 per cent saying the resettlement package failed to provide them with suitable skills or qualifications to find a job.
Sir Andrew Gregory, SSAFA’s Chief Executive, said: “Support for the Armed Forces means more than just supporting them during active duty, it means creating a welcoming environment for them to re-enter when their time is served.”
“The absolute majority of people who served in the Armed Forces return to fulfilling lives enriched by the experience. We are not all heroes and we are not all broken by service,” he said in his valedictory speech earlier this month.
Gemma Morgan, an army veteran, told the Telegraph: “The military puts huge effort into creating a separate society, a separate fighting force, for good operational reasons,” she added, “but sometimes the real world can be more complicated and there is often a reverse culture-shock and loss of that sense of belonging once someone leaves”.