Who is a Real Veteran???

This question came up at school a few days ago. Grade three students seemed to have difficulty understanding the meaning of veteran. I can understand their confusion, I have been confused myself. I served for 12 years in the Royal Navy most of that time in submarines. I also served a further 12 years in the RCN reserve. In 1967 in Dartmouth Nova Scotia I asked to join the local legion branch and was turned down. Why? because I had not served in a theatre of war. Apparently the Legion considered themselves quite an exclusive club in those days. Nevertheless, it did effect how I looked upon my own military service, was I really a veteran or just a person who had been in the Navy? The Legion’s requirements was nonsense of course, any one who served their country was entitled to call themselves a veteran. Today the Legion will take civilians in as associate members, they need the numbers as the older members die off. But the Legion does not own or decide who is entitled to be called veteran. I served at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, probably the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear world war, in fact perhaps the end of the world as we know it. I didn’t shoot at anyone and no one shot at me, but my shipmates and I were there and the danger was very real. Servicemen and women often face dangers during their service whether in peace time or war. Sailing in a world war two submarine in the 1960’s was inherently dangerous just by the fact that at any moment something could fail. So yes, I consider myself and all other retired military people to be veterans. We have been there at the sharp end when it counted, and our troops continue to do so.
On 11th November please remember all our veterans.
God Bless and keep reading.

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in HM Submarines, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Who is a Real Veteran???

  1. Robby says:

    Hi, this is the Official definition from the DVA site: The term “Veteran” includes Canada’s war service Veterans – the men and women who served during the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War – and also encompasses former Canadian Forces members in recognition of their service to Canada, for example, in international peace- keeping missions and other modern day operations.

    Veterans Affairs’ family of clients also extends beyond Veterans, to include still-serving CF members, past and present members of the RCMP, their survivors and dependents, as well as certain allied Veterans and eligible civilians

    I have lost what ever respect I had for the Legion. They buried my Grandfather and father and I was a proud member of the Legion in various provinces. After a 15 year absence in Canada I went to the Borden Legion to rejoin. I was a paid up member of the Royal British Legion in Portsmouth. They made me an ASSOCIATEmember. I asked what they were doing and they said because I had left Canada I had lost original Legion membership as a full member..What a Crock. Anyway on this Remembrance weekend I must say that On Monday next week it is time for changes within the Legion.
    We shall Remember Them that have paid the ultimate price.
    Robby a Veteran and Proud Canadian

    • irishroverpei says:

      A very good explanation of who a real veteran is Robby. As for the Legions, they do good work in many areas but are also often controlled by people who let power go to their heads. Many years ago in Scotland an ex German soldier, a POW who married and stayed in Scotland, asked if he could join the British Legion. He was turned down. I’m not sure I agree with that decision, I see the German submariners as no different than myself, we merely belonged to and served in different navies and nations. Its not the soldier that decides to go to war.

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