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Did your armed forces relative suffer ptsd as a result of what they saw in WW2?

(19 Posts)
MaryTheBookeeper Fri 04-Sep-20 07:53:17

I'm thinking of my own grandfather whose mental capacity was utterly shattered to bits as a result of the war. He was a gibbering wreck of a man, extremely violent, irrational & abusive. He drank himself to death. Do you have a similar history in your family?

Humbertbear Fri 04-Sep-20 08:12:39

One of my husband’s uncles served in the trenches in the final months of WW1 and was never quite the same when he came home. When I was a child our neighbour had been trapped in a pillbox at Dunkirk and definitely had what we now call PTSD. In those days people were expected to come home, get on with normal life and forget about what they had seen and done.

Luckygirl Fri 04-Sep-20 08:52:29

My father was deeply affected by the war - he was bitter and angry that it took away a chunk of his youth, and refused to talk about it or to recognise remembrance day. I believe it also contributed to his emotional distance.

MerylStreep Fri 04-Sep-20 08:54:30

My own father. An extremely violent man. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I knew that he was 19 yrs old when he sailed on the Russian convoys ( where your life expectancy was 4 days) where he was a signalman.
I have a young friend who suffers with PTSD because of what he witnessed in Iraq.

Curlywhirly Fri 04-Sep-20 08:59:18

My Mum's younger brother, only in his early twenties, had a complete breakdown during WW2 and spent the rest of his life in an ayslum. He very rarely spoke and was totally withdrawn. He died there age only 50. God only knows what he must have witnessed for him to be so traumatised. So, so sad.

Callistemon Fri 04-Sep-20 09:20:17

Are you trying to glean information for a book or an article, MaryTheBookkeeper?

This seems an unusual request. If so, you have to go through the proper channels, ie Media Requests, GNHQ and, I believe, pay for the privilege.

MawB2 Fri 04-Sep-20 09:23:52

After our experience of snakeinthegreengreengrass I am reluctant to post anything personal about family members.
Is there a specific reason for this request?

MerylStreep Fri 04-Sep-20 16:27:59

I see Mary hasn't replied so I take that as a yes, Callistemon & MawB.

Callistemon Fri 04-Sep-20 16:32:39

Anyone who did not suffer any consequences of war-time experiences must be an automaton.

Fennel Fri 04-Sep-20 17:14:49

"Anyone who did not suffer any consequences of war-time experiences must be an automaton."
Exactly Callistemon.
And to a much less degree, those of us left at home.
I think that's why those of us who lived through those days find it difficult to sympathise with the anxieties and sensitivities of modern times.
Best keep quiet.

BBbevan Fri 04-Sep-20 18:10:31

I suspect my father did. He was a commando. However he never spoke to us about his experiences and just got on with life. Later in life he did talk to my DH

MaryTheBookeeper Fri 04-Sep-20 19:29:54

No I am not a journo thank you Calli. I'm reminiscing about my childhood & the lives of extended family who are all dead now so I can't ask questions. But by asking the experiences of others I can glean a bit more information about how it's affected all of us through our extended families. I regret that I never got to know my older relatives better & learn about their lives but I was so young when they died. I like hearing other peoples experiences.

Callistemon Fri 04-Sep-20 20:04:29

Ok, perhaps I am a bit suspicious nervous lately, Mary.

I don't think that many men who had gone off to war talked about it when they came home so we will never know now, sadly.

Perhaps they could compartmentalise or just decided to get on with finding a job and looking after their families. It must have been difficult to slot back in to family life if their wife had coped on their own for years and the children were not used to having a father around. Forces discipline does not always sit well back at home.

jdga Sat 05-Sep-20 04:29:26

Yes, my father definitely did - in particular from the London Blitz.

Willow500 Sat 05-Sep-20 08:00:42

My father was in Dunkirk and evacuated off the beaches, he was also in Italy and Egypt and saw a lot of death and suffering losing several of his pals. He never spoke about it for many years but it must have had an effect on him - he enjoyed talking to both my husband and younger son about the war in general in his later years though. He was the gentlest of men and quite prone to tears if he saw something very sad.

My FIL went through the D Day landings, was one of the first into one of the concentration camps and also in Korea. He was a no nonsense man and not at all sentimental but some of that came from his early childhood.

I'm sure both suffered some form of PTSD in their own way but it was never spoken about or recognised back then.

Davidhs Sat 05-Sep-20 08:00:48

My family was lucky none served in front line combat roles, over the years I have come across some that obviously suffered greatly in silence. Their plight only exposed during the funeral obituary, one in particular was captured by the Japanese and served 4 yrs as a POW, that explained why he was “strange”.

We owe a great deal to those brave service men and women

ayse Sat 05-Sep-20 10:18:33

My father served in Egypt, Iran, North Africa, Italy and finally Germany. Until I was 11 my parents seemed fine. Following moving house my father spent more time going to his local and drinking cider at home. The arguments grew worse and he became violent, sometimes hurting Mum quite badly. I was seriously frightened for her. She in turn became a medical junky.

Years later, I realised that it all stemmed from WW2. He rarely talked about the war, would not go to either Italy or Sicily. He did tell me just once that he was hiding in a small bunker but became very anxious and left. His mates were blown to pieces.

Just imagine five years of utter horror both abroad and at home. The virus has brought home to me how much my family endured during the course of both world wars (plus all the other conflicts).

My father died at 60 from cancer and Mum 9 months later, a suicide. She missed him even though he could be so very violent.

Before he died he did say how sorry he was for making our lives so difficult. Mum left a suicide note saying she could not continue. It was so sad for both of them.

Namsnanny Sat 05-Sep-20 10:54:22

ayse ... so sad for you
What ordinary people went through and were expected to carry on, doesnt bear thinking about.

Fennel Sun 06-Sep-20 10:33:13

Willow - your Dad sounds a bit like mine , he was in the RN and served in the N. Atlantic, Med. and offshore on D Day.
I've got his medals which told me more about his service than he did himself.