Dear Royal British Legion

Where do I begin?

We are an ex-forces family having a tiny Christmas this year and worrying about where we will live and how we will pay bills in the New Year.  This is as a result of what you would call restructuring and I would call heartlessness.

I still find it hard to stomach that you could recruit to advice and welfare-related posts whilst at the same time throwing numerous loyal and long-serving staff out of work telling them they were redundant.

As an organisation you claim to be there for Forces and ex-forces families and yet since September when my husband became unemployed at your hands we have not had a single enquiry from your charity about how we are coping and if any help can be given.  Not even at this special time of year.

If you can’t care for former loyal employees who are also ex-services, it does make me question how genuine your interest in service personnel really is.  Why should they pay the price of your mismanagement of funds raised through the Poppy Appeal?

I know you don’t care but should you happen to come across this letter, here is our story since you told my husband he was to be made redundant.

My husband tried to look for work and your management made this very difficult to do resenting every interview he went to and trying to block him going to them against your own written policies on occasion.

Apparently the only reference you will provide is confirmation of dates of employment which immediately signals to a potential employer that there was misconduct.  The only misconduct in my view in this situation is from your organisation in letting so many people down.

My children have worried about having to leave their schools and friends for my husband to find work.

There have been many tears.

I have actually thanked my lucky stars that my war veteran Dad who lived with us died before all this happened or his welfare would be at such risk and I know he would be appalled by your actions.  He would have cancelled his membership.  Of that you can be sure.

Family members and friends chose not to buy poppies this year knowing our story.  I did not ask them to do this.  It was their choice.

I have turned to comfort-eating and put on weight just when I was having real success with weight loss.  My fault, a minor thing in the grand scheme of things and yet one of the effects of my husband’s redundancy and the stress placed on our family as a result of it.

A marriage has been tested as financial pressures have increased.

Since leaving your employ, my husband has travelled thousands of miles in search of work and has laid out such a lot of money on travel to interviews where potential employers would not cover travel expenses.

He remains without work.

I have resolved that this is the last time I will mention you on my blog.  You may rob of us of our security but I will not give you the power to reduce us to nothing.

My husband has a lot of experience and skills.  I fully expect these to be recognised with a new job in 2014.  I think the fact that he felt so down and abused by your actions has had an adverse impact on his interviews.

As you can see, I have communication skills and will put these to good use in 2014 to move our family forward.

We will have a Christmas filled with the important things – life, laughter and love.

I feel sorry for those who support you not knowing the full story and the cuts you are making to welfare support for service and ex-service personnel.

Your website claims you provide practical care, advice and support to the Armed Forces family all year round.  Is that with the exception of ex-forces staff who have served you well?  I remember the long hours my husband worked including evenings and weekends on occasion.  I remember Christmas Eves sitting waiting for him to come home because he was putting your organisation and its clients first.  Shame on you for treating him and others so badly.

You may be able to silence traditional media outlets but you will not silence me.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my poppies poem dedicated to the Royal British Legion after their harsh treatment of my husband and our family.

It is of course inspired by Wilfrid Owen’s poem.

Hard-working, totally committed to the task

Flexible, working for clients, he put in extra hours

Until people distant from the frontline turned their backs

And, ignoring families’ plight, used their powers

He phoned home. His wife lost all hope.

But they limped on, wounded. Not the same; all sad

Confused with it all; deaf even to the messages

From online, real and new friends that got behind

Help! Help! Why us? – A muddle of feelings

Getting organised with job search hoping in time ..

But the family are still calling out and stumbling,

And wondering why the others did this crime

Heartbreak, as birthdays come and hardship bites

As under a sea of poppies, you see us drowning

In all my days, before my helpless sight,

The children look at me, not understanding what went wrong

If in some other reality you too could face

The tears the man and child do cry

And feel how the man feels he has let us down

His morose face, who can’t quite believe what they have done to us

If you could see the travel and effort across the UK

The money spent, the hopes dashed

The obstructions placed, in a way that is not OK

The lack of checking in

My friend, you would not tell with such belief

Based on years of being misled

The old Lie; the Royal British Legion cares for our service people and their families.

Not this one, they don’t.

My favourite poem is Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est”.

It tells the truth about war and its horrors. It calls on people not buy into the “Old Lie”.

Little did I know that one day I would write a poem using that one as my foundation on the Old Lie that the Royal British Legion care about all service and former service people and their families.

We remain very hurt, bitter and let down.

We will not be defeated.