Two men have taken it upon themselves and made it their duty to ensure that the British public remembers not only our fallen troops but to pay respect to those who have ever served.
I had the greatest pleasure in talking to the team of British Troops Remembered last week and I was eager to learn how and why their Facebook page of thirty-three thousand followers began.
Phil (Shorty) Short, the Founder of British Troops Remembered has never served in the Armed Forces, so I wondered what inspired him to commit his life to honouring British troops.
“I’ve always had an interest in the Armed Forces and although we remember our fallen troops on Remembrance Sunday, I feel like we tend to forget about our veterans who in my opinion get pushed to one side. If anyone deserves respect, it is not only our fallen troops but every soldier who has ever served our country”.
“I never thought we would ever get to where we are today with thirty-three thousand followers in three years. I’ve met some great people along the way and we’ve had incredible support throughout”.
How did Adam Barlow join the team?
“In November 2015, Adam messaged me requesting to share a remembrance video which he had made. Adam’s tribute videos were getting a really good response, so I asked him if he would like to continue creating videos for the British Troops Remembered. Since then, the videos have been a real popular feature on our page”.
Adam Barlow served on operational tours in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq with the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) in the Royal Engineers.
“My family and I are from Rhodesia and my father served in the Rhodesian Forces during the civil conflict. In 1985, it was a case of whether we moved to South Africa or England. National Service still applied in South Africa at this time and my mum was dead against me joining the Armed Forces because My father was always away during the war. Subsequently, we moved to England”.
“In 1989, the Army visited my school which sparked my interest. My mum wasn’t too pleased, albeit, in 1990, I decided to join the Royal Engineers”.
“I deployed to Bosnia in 1993 during the ethnic cleansing, then in 1995 and again in 1997. I really enjoyed my tour in 1997 because that consisted of real bomb disposal”.
So on this tour, you really got hands on explosive ordinances and disarmed them?
“Yeah, I loved doing that. We had one incident where two American veterans had driven into a minefield and we had to crawl on our bellies for three to four hours in order to extract the casualties out. That was what I loved doing”.
My hat goes off to any EOD guys out there, even in today’s modern conflicts when Royal Engineers are tasked to deal with IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). You wouldn’t catch me doing that.
“In 1998, I decided to leave the Army because I thought the grass would be greener and one week later, I found myself working in a factory. I really couldn’t handle it but thankfully, the company sold out and I was asked to leave. I then went into care work which I enjoyed but it didn’t really pay the bills”.
“It was then that I received a voluntary call to deploy to Kosovo with the Royal Engineers. Then six months later, I received a compulsory call to deploy to Iraq with the EOD. Unfortunately, we lost two guys on that tour”.
Adam has had his fair share of operational tours during his time-serving in the Armed Forces and since then he has achieved much more.
“My original idea was to make videos for money through weddings, hen parties, stag parties and other such events. Then on remembrance day, 2015, I decided to make a tribute video. Phil saw this video and asked me to join British Troops Remembered and this inspired me to continue making tribute videos. I have now made a total of ninety-three videos which I have never taken a penny for, I have always done it for free”.
“One of my favourite videos that I have ever made is a video that I made for the Royal Marines, titled ‘By Land, By Sea’.
“Sandie Dunleavy, a former BBC presenter strangely commented on the video and asked me to get in touch with her and because I use a lot of media material without permission, I thought I was going to be in trouble. To my surprise, she asked me to create two videos for the York Festival of Remembrance and she also invited me to the show”.
“I went to the show suited and booted with my mum and second oldest son. Halfway through the show, they displayed one of my videos and I cried like a child. It was just so emotional seeing it on the big screen at such an event. Sandie introduced me to one of the queen’s lords lieutenants and some D-Day veterans, it was so overwhelming”.
“I have now been asked to make three more videos for this year’s Festival of Remembrance. This has gone further than I ever expected. It’s a hobby that I enjoy doing and although it is sad that these soldiers have been killed, we have got to remember them. From doing these videos, I feel that people are remembering our fallen troops”.
I truly believe that Phil and Adam are providing a service that certainly deserves some kind of recognition.
“I don’t want recognition but it is nice that someone has thought of that. I don’t need money for doing this, it’s not about the money where this is concerned, It’s about soldiers being remembered”.
Not only are British Troops Remembered ensuring that our soldiers continue to be remembered but in my opinion, they have created a community. I personally believe that British Troops Remembered is more than just a Facebook page because you really feel a sense of belonging to their community.
I wanted to give both Phil and Adam the opportunity to address the British Troops Remembered followers.
“Thank you all for the support and contributions, without you, we would not be what we are today. I couldn’t thank you all enough” – Phil (Shorty) Short.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to the families for allowing me to make these videos and to everyone who follows British Troops Remembered.
Thank you for remembering” – Adam Barlow.
Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s blog. This blog is a little different from our usual agenda but I felt like British Troops Remembered deserve some recognition for committing their time to ensure that the British public remembers our troops.
Jamie and special guests Adam Barlow and Phil (Shorty) Short.
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