Peter's Story

Peter joined the Army in 1979 at the age of 23. Peter enlisted in the REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) and started his training to become an aircraft technician (rotary) but changed his ‘trade’ during his training and continued to be trained as an Armourer. Peter spent over three years with 35 Engineering Unit Armourers at British Forces Germany. During his time in the Army Peter was part of the Regimental shooting team and football team.

Peter also served in Northern Ireland as part of the 3rd Battalion Light Infantry.

Peter’s sustained injuries over the duration of his time in the Army, suffering from hearing loss and a knee injury, however Peter was not medically discharged.

In December 1987 Peter submitted his PVR (Personal Voluntary Release) and whilst in hindsight Peter regrets leaving, at the time it was the right thing to do.

Since leaving Peter found employment in various jobs from labouring on building sites and being a motor mechanic. He started his civilian life as a recovery mechanic working on the M25 but was sleeping in his vehicle for 6 days a week which was not ideal.

Peter was married for a short time but he later got divorced and became a single father and found it difficult supporting his son as well as holding down a job. He found work as a ‘Mobile Service Engineer’ (working on hydraulics/engines) which he did for 11-12 years.

Over the years Peter has lived and worked in Basingstoke and Yorkshire and has experienced difficulties with housing and employment, having been made redundant several times and unable to secure accommodation. Peter has found himself living in his car on several occasions.

In November 2014, following contact with SSAFA, Peter was allocated a place at The Beacon. He was housed within 36 hours and says “it literally saved my life”.

Peter said that he has attempted to take his own life in the past – he felt like he had lost everything, his home, possessions, tools and only had his clothes and his car.

Peter is currently looking to train as an LGV driver and has received funding from Walking With The Wounded's First Steps programme. Peter hopes that this will lead to sustainable employment and allow him to secure his own home and regain his independence.

Peter has also received support from WWTW's Head Start programme, which enabled him to access a private counsellor in 2015, to support him with his mental health issues.

Of his time at The Beacon Peter said “My Employment Mentor is the most wonderful person and goes beyond the bounds of her remit to support people. The personal help and intervention I have come across has been wonderful. Without this, I wouldn’t have seen a future for myself.”

Peter was involved in WWTW’s Walk of Britain expedition in 2015 when they visited The Beacon. He said this was “wonderful and raised the profile of the charity and the work that the Beacon do.”

Peter commented: “Walking With The Wounded have helped me feel whole again – a person and not just an object. I have received counselling and support for the future which has helped me feel part of society again.”