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The Abandoned Soldier

Mark Christmas conceived The Abandoned Soldier project with a mission to raise awareness for veterans suffering from post-combat trauma, while raising money to find a permanent home for project colleague James Napier’s sculpture of the same name that was created for an episode of the 2007 BBC documentary series Power to the People.

The sculpture depicts Lance Corporal Daniel Twiddy, who sustained facial wounds from shrapnel in a ‘friendly fire’ incident in Basra in 2003. Twiddy experienced subsequent trauma episodes. Napier says the sculpture symbolises the forgotten servicemen of recent conflicts, a soldier physically and mentally broken from the effects of combat.

In addition to his Psychology studies, which follow 12 years spent in the British Army, Christmas has written poetry about servicemen and women who bear ‘an injury not on show’, who may be ‘psychologically busted’ and have difficulties in building a ‘mental baulk’ against ‘some terrifyingly intrusive past’. He says: ‘The Army, the Navy and the Royal Air Force are trained, in a Pavlovian way, to become “different”. The problem we have is, who “trains” them to become civilians? Where does the domain of psychology take its own stance with regard to PTSD, its causes and effects? I am looking to engage with the psychological community on this.’

Read more at: www.theabandonedsoldier.co.uk

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Download Mark’s poetry collection The Abandoned Soldier: Reflections of War here.