Op Telic: The Heat Smacked You In The Face
Manage episode 358719881 series 2813344
Neville Johnson left South Africa and joined the British Army in 2003.
After basic training, he joined the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers on a cease-fire tour in Belfast, “Those first couple of weeks were a big eye opener for me, definitely paved the way for future operations…”
Neville deployed to Basra in 2005 and 2006, duties including night and daytime patrols, working with special forces units or the parachute regiment during raids, apprehending personnel of interest, long hours in the heat with threats of “...indirect fire on our base…it was the start of the roadside bombs.”
He then deployed to Afghanistan, “Afghan was different. It was full-on war fighting.”
“We got attacked every day…numerous times, all at the same time from different directions, small arms fire, sniper fire, RBG mortar rounds. We knew it was going to be hot, flying-in it was full-on.”
“You're always on alert. You're never fully relaxed. The feeling of knowing someone is there to attack you. The incoming rounds. The sound. The feeling is difficult to explain. The fear, it's horrible…Everyone trained together. We went through it together.”
It wasn't until many years later that Neville felt the impact on his mental health. He doesn’t usually talk about his deployments, even with family, but he found a way through writing poems and putting them out on social media, “...for the world to see, to dissect, was way out of my comfort zone….but getting that release, it's amazing.”
Soldiers from the Commonwealth play a vital role in the British Armed Forces and Neville is testament to this. His poems have now been published and despite being shy, he reads some of them out to us which is incredibly moving and powerful.
Follow Neville on Instagram
If you’re a member of the Armed Forces community and need support with your mental health, Op Courage can help.
Or you could phone the Combat Stress Helpline on: 0800 138 1619
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