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Linda was on tour in Afghanistan when she was told her husband had been injured in a parachute accident in the UK. She shares her story and describes how the Legion helped her and her husband get through the resulting challenges to their lives.
The Army has been a large part of Linda Noble’s life. She comes from a big military family and has herself served for over fourteen years. Linda began her military career as part of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment before taking two years out to get married and give birth to her son. She re-enlisted and has been serving ever since. Linda completed a tour of Afghanistan in 2008 where her role was dealing with the helicopters coming in and out of camp, and going out on patrol. “We’ve had tough times out on tour, where we’ve seen things that people don’t like to see, but overall it’s been fantastic,” reflects Linda.
Linda was only on tour for three months before being told that she had to be back in the UK immediately. It wasn’t until she arrived that she found out that it was because her husband had been involved in a parachute accident.
Linda met her husband Alexander in the Army when they were both stationed at the Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut, Surrey. They fell for each other the moment they met.
Alexander, Linda and Linda’s sister were all on separate courses at the time. When Linda’s sister was taken ill, Alexander was there to help Linda get her sister to the hospital. When they finished their courses, Linda went back to Gibraltar and Alexander went to Kenya on tour. Despite being thousands of miles apart they stayed in touch. Even though they had met only once in person once after they left Deepcut, they got engaged over the phone a month later. It was truly a whirlwind romance.
Five years later the Noble family would be devastated by Alexander’s accident.
Linda was told about Alexandre's accident while she was on tour in Afghanistan. When she got the notice to move there was a helicopter waiting to take her back to Camp Bastion where a plane was waiting to take her back to the UK. When she arrived in the UK she was told that Alexander might never walk again.
In less than 24 hours she’d gone from Afghanistan to the UK and her world had come crashing down. Alexander had served in the Army for 21 years – seeing action in the first Gulf War and the Balkans – but now, because of his injuries, he was medically discharged and told that he would be wheelchair-bound in about six years. The Army was everything to him. Without it, he cut himself off from the world.
“It broke his heart. He’d done 20 years' service. It was all he knew.”
It was then that Linda and Alexander ran into problems with Alexander’s disability benefits. They applied for the benefits but kept getting turned down. After each refusal they were encouraged to appeal, but the emotional strain and stress of repeatedly going through the process was taking its toll on the family.
A friend recommended the opportunities for support offered by the Legion. At first Linda didn't contact the Legion, thinking that there were people more in need of help than them. Luckily Linda soon changed her mind and gave us a call.
“We struggled to get help, so having the Legion there was a godsend.”
Our Independent Living Advice Team helped Alexander with his application for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which was successful. We also helped Alexander to receive a mobility allowance. Linda and Alexander have two sons and the extra payments have made a big difference to the family.
Alexander has been able to get his independence back, and is now able to take his children out. "The help from the Legion has been great," says Alexander. "I would recommend anyone in a similar position to the one we were in to speak to them. We knew the Legion helped injured Servicemen but we honestly didn’t expect this level of support. They have helped us with all our paperwork and made the whole process a lot easier.”