“I joined the Royal Air Force when I was 20 and Uncle Frank died serving in the Army when he was just 19. He had already given so much at such a young age. So, to march in the Remembrance Day Parade and represent him is such a great honour”.
When 38-year-old year Naomi Adie was discharged from the RAF she felt like she had lost her sense of belonging and who she was. Four years on though Naomi feels like she has re-discovered her old self, but a much better version.
"It has taken a lot of grit and determination to get where I am today. It’s not just for me but for my daughter. I want her to see mummy achieve something despite my physical limitations. I want her to see the person and not the disability or the injury”.
Naomi from Holme Hale in Norfolk struggled with her mental health when she left the military after 14 years in 2014 due to a severe spinal injury.
“Four years ago, I couldn’t even leave my house and now I’m representing Team UK at this year’s Invictus Games. That helps me to keep fighting and not give up. Help for Heroes has walked alongside me to help achieve that, so I’m honoured that they have chosen me to take part in the Remembrance Sunday March”.
She describes taking part in the March as having been on her bucket list for a while but says its more poignant this year as it marks the end of a difficult few years.
“On the day I suppose that I will be exceptionally emotional as there are lots of people who can’t be there but also there are people at home still going through their recovery journey”.
With her Great Uncle Frank, her grandfather and countless cousins serving in the military it was a natural career move for Naomi to join the RAF.
Naomi’s Great Uncle Frank served in the Manchester Regiment after he enlisted of his own accord. He was killed in action before reaching his twenties at the Battle of the Somme on 19th August 1916. Family rumour suggests he was much younger though.
“Sometimes its extraordinary circumstances that people go through but we’re just every day people that have just chosen to do an exceptional job. We’re all part of one big military family; regardless of where in history you sit within that. It’s something very special to be part of”.
Unfortunately, Frank’s body was never repatriated so his name is inscribed on the Theipval War Memorial. As his brothers in arms knew that his family would not get his body back they made a trinket from the battlefield for them. The crucifix, which was sent to his father, remains in the family; a piece of Great Uncle Frank in the present day.
“Help for Heroes has given me my life back and me back to my family. I probably wouldn’t be here without them. That’s really tough to say as we often think it but rarely say it. You need to have the camaraderie and feeling part of a team as you can’t face it alone. On Sunday I’ll be marching alongside a Band of Brothers who are there for me; just as they did 100 years ago for my Great Uncle Frank”.