Veteran Paddy, a member of the Royal Army Ordinance Corps, served in the Gulf War from 1991 and later Bosnia. A scud missile attack and the suicide of a colleague led to Paddy's struggles with mental health. He was later diagnosed with PTSD and medically discharged from service.
In 1988, Paddy McCartney enlisted with the Royal Army Ordinance Corps, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who served in the Second World War with the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
“I left Belfast as a 17-year-old Catholic boy, not knowing what the world, or the British Army, would have in store for me.” He said.
In 1991, Paddy was deployed to the Gulf War as part of Op Granby. During the conflict he was present for a scud attack in the Port of Al Jubail, which contributed to PTSD.
While later serving in Bosnia, the suicide of a colleague affected him too, leading to flashbacks and insomnia. Paddy was casevaced home due to his mental health struggles, before being discharged in 1996.
“Conflict changed me. The Gulf War made me from a young man to a harder, stronger person. And Help for Heroes has been there – it has given so much help, assistance, compassion and above all hope to the many veterans suffering not only physical injuries but mental pain and torment.”
Paddy received counselling from us and joined the Band of Brothers fellowship group which offers peer to peer support, camaraderie and social opportunities for wounded veterans and their families.
"...Help for Heroes has been there – it has given so much help, assistance, compassion..."
Paddy is taking part in this year’s Cenotaph March on Remembrance Sunday alongside other veterans.
“Remembrance Sunday makes me reflect on the many men and women that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country, but I don’t think about this just during Remembrance."
It fills me with so much honour and pride to be able to be given the opportunity to be able to parade and pay my respects."
I go to London a few times a year and I always go to the Cenotaph. I always walk up it, and feel the need to touch it as a way of remembering people that I’ve known who have died through the battles with their demons after serving operational tours, and the number of others who have died as a result of conflict.
My Grandfather is buried at the Chittagong military cemetery, he was 33 when he was killed during the Second World War, and it’s my intention one day to visit his grave.”