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Army adverts don’t tell you what being a soldier is really like.

At 17, Wayne Sharrocks joined the infantry. By the end of his training, the army had control of how he thought and what he did. He was made to obey all orders without thinking, until he would kill another person right in front of him ‘at the flick of a switch’ with ‘an insane amount of aggression’. He thinks army training is ‘massively damaging’ to the mind of a young person.

After he turned 18 Wayne was sent to Afghanistan. There he saw a friend’s legs ripped off and another friend killed. He was injured in the face. Nothing in his training could protect him or his friends.

He couldn’t just ‘switch off’ his army training after he left, he says, which caused him all sorts of problems.

Now he thinks that the army shouldn’t be recruiting 16 and 17 year-olds. While it still does, Wayne still believes it’s better to wait until you’re 18 before deciding whether to join up.

Find out about Wayne’s time in the army in these 3-minute videos.

  • Brian Lamb 09/01/2017, 08:33

    I agree with this post.
    As a conscript, I joined the army at the age of 19. Some people (who don’t really know) say that military service equips you for civilian life. Not at all. In the army, you are taught to do what you are told to do – no more, no less. Ok, that’s how the military operates – no time for discussions etc.
    In civilian life, you have so many things to think about – most decisions you have to make yourself. This is contra to army training.
    It took me about a year to adjust to civilian life after the 2 years of army service – reluctantly getting my lazy brain to wake up and start thinking.

  • Simon Mills 09/01/2017, 10:08

    I agree I joined up at 17yrs old and the training I received changed my perception of everything. After basic training I found I could no longer relate to my school friends and was isolated only to my military family. I volunteered for service in the first gulf war at 18yrs old and saw friends injured and killed and witnessed the destruction of the Iraqi army as they fled on the road to Basra. Our children should not be encouraged to witness such things in there youth.

  • Graham Horne 09/01/2017, 13:10

    Well done Wayne

  • Graham Horne 09/01/2017, 13:16

    I am 62 now and was in the Army from 1973-1976. I have a fairly checkered employment history. Some jobs I have done I have even forgotton about but there is one job I can account for day for day for 3 sodding years. The Army. The trouble is time dumbs down bad memories and you start to see them through rose coloured glasses yet in truth Wayne has it right. Endless months of mind numbing monotony and menial work and pointless time filling. The only real hobby I had was getting pissed as often as possible. I need to be honest with myself and everyone else. It was a bloody 3 year nightmare and I never got a sniff of active service. Once again well done Wayne.

  • ross wilson 11/01/2017, 07:49

    i was down the army careers office before i was even 16 years old, i thought joining would be the answer to all my problems, turns out the army was the stuff my nightmares were made of… to this day i have major issues controlling my temper, alienated my friends and family, failed relationships and failed jobs…. i am now a total loser struggling on benefits living with my mother, no job, no partner, no savings, no prospects, no life!

    the army totally destroyed me.
    twice i tried to seek compensation for the pyschological damage done by the predators in training and my battalion.. was refused with no explanation ultimately turning to drugs and alchohol during my time serving.

    tried the counselling route through the GP but all they wanted to do was give me dangerous “anti-depressants” and have a chat, tried ssafa, help for heroes, even tried for a private prosecution against the MOD.

    No one gives a flying hoot, young boys are told to get on with it.

    • Brian Lamb 11/01/2017, 21:44

      Dear Ross,
      Probably most people don’t understand your problems, because they haven’t experienced anything like what you have gone through. Veterans for Peace does give at least a little hope – it is a forum for sharing experiences.
      Sharing the bad things in life makes them easier to bear. Sharing the good things, makes them better.
      By my sharing, maybe I can help at least a little. Contact me via email: LambOfKent@gmail.com Maybe we can arrange to meet.
      Hope to hear from you soon.
      Brian Lamb

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