The problems of Northern Ireland Veterans in Civvy St.
Alastair (Aly) Renwick was born in Scotland and joined the British Army at sixteen years of age in 1960. After 3 years in an Army Apprentice School he joined the Royal Engineers and served in West Germany and then in Thailand, Kenya, and Cyprus. He purchased his discharge in late 1968, shortly after a short period in a then passive Northern Ireland, and moved to London to help organise the anti-Vietnam War protests, whose demonstrations he had attended while still a soldier.
He has taken part in peace and reconciliation work in Britain and Ireland, worked with Northern Ireland veterans who are suffering from combat-related PTSD and is now a member of Veterans For Peace UK: veteransforpeace.org.uk
Aly Renwick’s first novel, … last night another soldier…, was published by Information on Ireland in 1990. It was acclaimed as one of the five best novels of ‘the Troubles’ in the Irish Post and became ‘required reading’ for ‘postcolonial-studies’ courses in various universities in the US.
In 1999 his book about combat-related PTSD, Hidden Wounds – the problems of Northern Ireland veterans in Civvy Street, was published by Barbed Wire.
Aly’s latest novel, Gangrene, was published by the Merlin Press in late 2017.
In Northern Ireland from 1969 to 2007, Operation Banner was the longest continuous deployment in British military history, during which troop numbers rose markedly.
By the end of the conflict around 300,000 soldiers had served tours-of-duty and, like the Vietnam veterans in the USA, many British soldiers experienced psychological and/or other rehabilitation problems on their return to Civvy Street.
Hidden Wounds, while examining the history of combat-related PTSD, takes a detailed look at what happened to some of the Northern Ireland veterans and shows how many of them ended up serving time in HM prisons.
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