Ex-soldier from Hornchurch calls on public to remember his fallen comrades
- Credit: Archant
An Afghanistan veteran hopes people will spare a thought for his brothers in arms this Remembrance Day.
With the 100th anniversary of the Somme, and indeed other important commemorations on the horizon, people often forget that it is also a day to remember those who have fallen in recent years.
Sean Laidlaw, 28, of Hornchurch, served two tours as a bomb disposal searcher in Afghanistan, after quitting his job at an estate agent, and witnessed the brutal reality of war.
“I joined up when I was 20, I was working in London at the time and the army was always something I wanted to do. It was around the time of the credit crunch,” he said.
“I went out there [Afghanistan] and we were the guys out in front finding the bombs and making them safe.
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“I was 23 on my first tour. I think the main thing going through your head is ‘don’t mess this up’.
“There were quite a few [deaths]. We had an American attachment and a guy was blown up and killed in 2011.”
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Since returning to Havering, Sean has found work as a fitness coach for Beyond Limits, Thurrock, and says it is a far cry from the hazardous routines of the army.
“At 12 I’d be disposing a bomb and then at one o’clock I’d be playing Xbox with my mate,” he said.
“You get used to the all or nothing nature of it – there is no in between.
For Sean, Remembrance Day has always had a significance for him and his family, but even more so now after his time with the army.
“My dad always made a big deal of Remembrance Day. We’d always go to a parade if we could, it gave us a sense of national pride.
“It definitely did change the way I look at the day itself. It’s a day where the whole country is thinking about the same thing.
“It is about the boys and girls who wear the uniform, it’s about marking the sacrifices of those who didn’t come home.”