Walter Richardson, 36, was injured in Afghanistan whilst on Operation Herrick and was medically discharged in 2016 after nine years of service. He lives in Scotland with his wife and five children and has now retrained as a support worker for vulnerable young people.
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He said: “I was caught in an ambush by the enemy in Afghanistan that knocked me down a hill and I landed awkwardly. I got back to my patrol base and the doctor said it was just bumps and bruises. I carried on and finished the tour, then five months later my leg collapsed underneath me when I was marching down the Edinburgh mile to parade in front of the Queen. I had broken my leg in two places and that was the build-up to my medical discharge.”
Walter ran into financial difficulties as soon as he was discharged from the Army. He said: “We couldn’t get social housing, even though we had four kids and had to rent privately instead. I was using my Army pension to pay the rent, council tax and bills.”
Although he eventually got a job in security it only lasted four months because his injured leg couldn’t cope with the physical demands of the work. A friend contacted SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity on Walter’s behalf and his SSAFA caseworker was able to secure funding to pay off Walter’s council tax arrears.
“SSAFA also helped me out with bunk beds for the kids because the ones we had were falling apart and weren’t safe. Unfortunately, the washing machine that came with the house was plumbed in wrong so it ruined our clothes and SSAFA also got me a new washing machine. At the time we were struggling quite a bit so SSAFA’s support really did help us out.”
Walter has since completed a one-year Higher National Certificate course in social services and secured a job working as a support worker with vulnerable young people.