Tasmanian Veterans Reflect on Service and Challenges as Anzac Day Approaches

Tasmanian veterans share their military experiences, highlighting the need for better support systems to help veterans transition and cope with mental health struggles after service.

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Tasmanian Veterans Reflect on Service and Challenges as Anzac Day Approaches

Tasmanian Veterans Reflect on Service and Challenges as Anzac Day Approaches

As Anzac Day 2024 draws near, four veterans from the town of St Helens, Tasmania, share their experiences of military service, the challenges they faced, and the importance of community support. Mark Hinsley, Clair Norton, Marc Newton, and Dave Cantley open up about their time in the armed forces and the lasting impact it has had on their lives.

Mark Hinsley, a former navy veteran, expresses mixed feelings about his service. He wishes better support was available for veterans transitioning out of the military and back into civilian life. "It's not easy adjusting after being in the service," Hinsley says. "I think there needs to be more resources and programs to help veterans find their footing when they come home."

Clair Norton, an ex-army veteran, shares the deep trauma she experienced from losing her mates during overseas deployments. The losses took a heavy toll on her mental health, and she struggled to cope in the aftermath. "Losing your friends, the people you served with, it changes you," Norton reflects. "The memories stay with you, and it's a daily battle to keep going sometimes."

For Marc Newton, a particularly distressing mission to Bougainville left a lasting impression. He recounts being ordered to burn body parts, an experience that has haunted him for years. Newton feels he received inadequate psychological support to process the trauma. "What I saw and had to do, it's not something you can just forget," he shares. "I needed help to deal with it, but I didn't get the support I needed at the time."

Why this matters: The experiences shared by these veterans highlight the ongoing challenges and mental health struggles that many face long after their service ends. Their stories underscore the critical need for comprehensive support systems and resources to help veterans reintegrate into civilian life and cope with the lasting impacts of their military experiences.

Despite the challenges, the veterans emphasize the significance of Anzac Day and the role of the veteran community in St Helens. They find solace and camaraderie in coming together with fellow veterans who understand their experiences. "Anzac Day is a time to remember those we lost and to support each other," Dave Cantley says. "The veteran community here in St Helens, it's like a family. We look out for one another."

Key Takeaways

  • 4 Tasmanian veterans share experiences of military service challenges.
  • Lack of support for veterans transitioning to civilian life is a concern.
  • Trauma from losing comrades and disturbing missions haunts some veterans.
  • Veteran community in St Helens provides crucial support and camaraderie.
  • Anzac Day is a time to remember fallen soldiers and support each other.