Rajindar young and older


Every member of the Armed Forces community has a story to tell — your support this Remembrance is essential, to help keep their stories alive.

This November, will you make a donation to ensure RBL can always be there to honour the sacrifice of those who have served their country, and those who are still serving?

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Stories to remember from our Armed Forces

These are tales of true valour in extraordinary circumstances.

They celebrate the heroic men and women from all walks of life who gave their all to defend our freedom.

Albert Jarrett

Pride of Jamaica — Albert’s story

Albert Jarrett came to England from Jamaica when he was just a teenager. It was in 1942, at a critical point in the Second World War, and the call had gone out to Commonwealth countries to contribute troops to the war effort. Albert was one of the first in line to volunteer.  

He signed up for the RAF and was deployed to Sutton Coldfield, as ground crew for RAF Spitfires — which he continued to do for the rest of the war. After the war ended, Albert went home to Jamaica. Then in 1953, he returned to the UK, one of thousands of ex-Service men and women from the Caribbean and of Caribbean descent who played a key role in rebuilding the country and reshaping British culture and identity. 

Read Albert's story

Surviving ‘The Stalingrad of the East’ — Rajindar’s story

Rajindar was still at school and living in pre-partition India when the Second World War broke out. He joined the Army at age 20, in February 1941, and was appointed to the Indian Army Service Corps. He excelled in the role, earning a promotion to Havildar Major (Sergeant Major) in 1943 before being sent to fight in Kohima in Northeast India. 

The battle at Kohima became known as the ‘Stalingrad of the East’. Rajindar and his unit were sent there to help break the Japanese siege of the town. You can read more about this battle, about Rajindar’s experience of it, and about his move to the UK after the war ended. 

Read Rajindar's Story
Portrait of Captain John Monro

The other ‘Great Escape’ — John’s story

From the minute he was captured by Japanese forces in Hong Kong in 1941, John had only one thought in his head: escape.

In February 1942, he achieved his goal. He escaped from a prisoner of war (POW) camp in Hong Kong with two comrades and travelled 1,500 miles across China. They travelled on foot, by truck, train and boat.

John’s story is a truly epic tale of courage and survival.

Read John's story

Over and above — Hayley’s story

Hayley Ridgeway joined the Army when she was just 15 and became a medic. In April 2011, Hayley and her unit were on a routine patrol in Helmand province, when an improvised explosive device (IED) blast injured seven out of ten of the patrol, including Hayley. 

Despite being wounded herself, Hayley rushed to assess the injuries and needs of her comrades. After several hours she was rescued by helicopter, brought back to Camp Bastion then sent home for further treatment — it took her six months before she could walk unaided. 

Read Hayley’s inspiring story of recovery here.

Read Hayley's Story

Our Tales of Gratitude

Just as RBL believe strongly in the power of Remembrance, so we are committed to offering support in the here and now.

Together we can make sure that nobody who has served their country will be left to face the cost-of-living crisis alone.

As fuel costs, food prices and rents soar, far too many members of the Forces family are struggling. They are cold. They are hungry. They may be facing homelessness. 

Every single day there are members of the Forces community who come to RBL for help, and we are only able to give that help thanks to the generosity of people like you. We are deeply grateful for your generosity, as it enables us to be here for people like Chris and Emmanuel. 

They can always turn to RBL, which is why we’re turning to you.

Please will you make a gift of Remembrance — of any size — to help ensure we are here for everyone who needs us?


How your gift could help members of the Armed Forces community most in need:

Volunteers carrying out admin support

We understand that life is hard sometimes and it can be difficult to know where to look for help.

If you’re hungry, have nowhere to stay, or feel you have nowhere else to turn, we can be there for you.

Whatever your circumstances, our team are there to help – without judgement – and provide a safe space for the Armed Forces community and their families to access the support they need.


could pay for an electricity top-up to help a veteran cope with their bills this winter.

We help to ease the burden of financial pressure for thousands of serving and ex-serving personnel every year.

The cost-of-living crisis has caused extra money worries for many in the Armed Forces community, and we're here to help. Our team is on hand to give you the advice and support you need to put your mind at ease.



could pay for food vouchers to help a Service family through the cost-of-living crisis.

Our aim is to help ensure the best possible recovery for the Armed Forces community, whether it’s returning to duty or successfully transitioning to civilian life.

As well as continuing to support wounded, injured and sick service personnel, through various ways, such as adaptive sport and adventurous training activities. 


could pay to repair a mobility scooter so an ex-Service person can stay independent.

Chris Purcell

Paying it forward — Chris’s story

Chris served in the Royal Navy for 20 years until he was medically discharged due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arising from his service in the Falklands. He survived an attack on HMS Sheffield, in which he lost a number of his friends, and he lived with trauma and guilt for years afterward.

In 2001, Chris and his wife, Louise, were battling money worries so he approached RBL for support. Thanks to supporters’ donation we were able to provide the couple with £200 worth of food vouchers, which Chris said was their ‘saving grace.’

Thankful for the help they received at this difficult time, Chris and Louise were keen to give something back, in order to help others. They became volunteer collectors for the Poppy Appeal, helping to raise an astonishing total of nearly £400,000 in just three years.

More on Poppy Appeal volunteers
Emmanuel with his son Chissey

Fighting for his son’s needs — Emmanuel’s story

Emmanuel, who is 41, joined the British Army ten years ago. He loved Army life, serving for six years and training as a tank driver. However, Emmanuel’s military career ended abruptly in 2019, following a terrifying incident whilst on exercise, in which he found himself trapped in a burning tank loaded with ammunition.

The impact of this incident on his mental health made it difficult for Emmanuel to hold down a job, and after falling into debt he turned to RBL. Our Benefits and Money Advice Team worked with him to find a way forward.

It was when he was trying to get a disability allowance for his five-year-old son Chizzy, who has acute autism and needs 24/7 home care, that Emmanuel turned to RBL for help again. The amount of his benefits award was not nearly enough to cover the help Chizzy needed, so we helped the family appeal the decision, ultimately securing a higher amount — including a backdated payment of £10,000.

This increase came as a huge relief to Emmanuel and his wife, and will make a substantial difference to Chizzy’s quality of life — covering the cost of a mobility car and a specially adapted bed, among other things. “I had lost hope to be honest,” says Emmanuel. “We were really happy when the decision was changed.”

More on finance support

Your kind support of RBL can ensure we are always here for people like Emmanuel — men and women who need support after serving their country.


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