Barry hugging his son

Baz's story

After being diagnosed with PTSD and having a stroke in his early 40s, we supported Army veteran Baz in his recovery and helped him reconnect with the Armed Forces community.

Baz joined the British Army when he was 17 and went on to serve over 26 years, completing a number of operational tours in Northern Ireland and Iraq.

Barry on deployment during his time in the Army

He enjoyed his time in service, but the experiences he encountered whilst on deployment took their toll and came to a head in 2019. 

“The issues began for me when I was in the Guards Room and just snapped at something that was said out of turn and the ball started rolling from there,” says Baz.

"I was diagnosed with complex trauma PTSD and traced it back to incidents in Iraq and Northern Ireland.

"On one occasion I was driving the front vehicle during a routine patrol in southern Iraq and I realised we had driven into a minefield.

"The only option was to reverse out, with Apache helicopters flying overhead. 

"It took about three hours but we managed to get everyone out OK. 

"At the time I thought I was just doing my job, but the trauma of the incident obviously affected me."

Barry on tour in Iraq Barry pictured with his wife and son Barry and his wife at Royal Ascot

Baz continued to serve in the Army, but his career was cut short after a stroke in 2020.

"I went for a run but didn’t feel too well when I got back home. I left it overnight, but the next day my my wife Sarah knew there was something wrong, so took me to A&E," recalls Baz. 

"My blood pressure was 249 and the medics believe I may have had multiple strokes before that occasion.

"It took a while for me to accept that I couldn’t work again after more than 26 years in service."

Barry with fellow attendees at the RBL Battle Back Centre
As part of his recovery, Baz attended the RBL Battle Back Centre – our facility in Lilleshall that supports wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans.  
About the RBL Battle Back Centre

"The RBL Recovery Team got me on the course last year and I loved it," says Baz.

Centered around adaptive sport and adventurous training activities, courses at the Battle Back Centre help veterans and serving personnel grow confidence and improve motivation as well as the ability to deal with stress.

"We did archery, canoeing, rafting, things you never get the chance to do normally. 

"But it was mainly about meeting like-minded people and rediscovering the camaraderie I had enjoyed in service. 

"Veterans are sometimes put off because they don’t want to ask for help or leave their comfort zone, but it can help massively. 

"All the team and the coaching staff were amazing. They couldn’t do enough for us and the whole experience was brilliant.

Barry hugging his son

Since completing the course Baz has since gone on to become an ambassador for RBL. He has also taken on the role of Director at the Veterans Community Working Party (VCWP) which runs outdoor activities for veterans, including weekend maintenance work parties in the Lake District 

"The stroke still affects me, but I walk to stay as fit and active as I can. There is still a lot of fatigue but I’m a big believer in mindfulness, which helps a lot. 

"I don’t like to just sit around because you can get yourself into a dark place."

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