Returning heroes facing fresh battle
A FORMER Marine has turned his hand to fiction after his autobiography, detailing his experiences during the first Gulf War, sold out. Simon Byfield s debut novel, Honourable Retribution, has already been praised by Falklands veteran Simon Weston. Inspire
A FORMER Marine has turned his hand to fiction after his autobiography, detailing his experiences during the first Gulf War, sold out.
Simon Byfield's debut novel, Honourable Retribution, has already been praised by Falklands veteran Simon Weston.
Inspired by the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, which affected Simon on his return to Sawtry from the Middle East, the novel explores the reality facing soldiers on their return home after serving their country.
"People tend to forget that we have been at war for the past three years in Iraq," said father-of-two Simon, 37.
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"We seem to ignore it on the television and, if you talk to the average person on the street, he or she is not affected by what is happening in the Middle East.
"But there are soldiers returning every day who are affected by warfare.
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"I support a charity called Combat Stress, which aims to support servicemen, and their research has shown a 26 per cent increase in traumatised servicemen over the last year.
"However, support for these men and women seems to be dwindling - they get demobbed, enter the NHS and end up waiting for treatment."
Following the success of his autobiography, Forced Out, which Simon admits was written as a kind of "therapy" to his own experiences, he has also drawn on his time as a police officer in his new book.
Set in modern-day Britain, the novel also addresses the "social chaos" in our towns and cities.
"It's about a guy coming home from combat, who struggles to come to terms with his new reality. Finding himself lost and alone in a culture he no longer recognises, he takes the law into his own hands." Now a private investigator, Simon's experiences in Iraq remain with him.
"It's very difficult to explain to people, but when you are out there, you are living on your wits 24/7.
"Even when you are asleep, you are aware of the dangers of mortars.
"To come back into society and to have to fit in, there needs to be a period of readjustment. Many people struggle with that."
INFORMATION: Honourable Retribution is available from www.amazon.co.uk or WHSmith in Huntingdon.