LIVING THROUGH HELL

THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF ARMED FORCES VETERANS

JOHN DEVLIN SERVED IN IRAQ SEARCHING FOR IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES
RBL

Iraq tour of duty

At the age of 16, John Devlin joined up to escape a culture of gangs and shootings in Liverpool. He found basic training tough, but not nearly as tough as the tour of Iraq that followed. John was part of a search team looking for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) as part of a Quick Reaction Force.

He said: “We were sent to recover a broken-down vehicle when a sniper hit me, leaving me with a six-inch scar across my shoulder. An inch to the left, or a few inches lower, would have been fatal. I know I should’ve died – people started touching me for good luck, which was really annoying. It affected me badly and I went off the rails. Looking back now, I know it was a mental health disorder.”

After leaving the army, John admits his life was chaotic. He went through a string of different jobs and was unable to settle. Then he called the Royal British Legion.

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