Charities hit out after death of homeless soldier in Edinburgh

Veterans medals

Squaddie died on the streets after refusing offers of support 

16th January 2018 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Veterans charities have hit out after a former soldier died homeless.

Darren Greenfield served with the Royal Tank Regiment before living on Edinburgh’s streets.

He had a become a familiar sight on Waverley Station stairs where he would sit dressed in his military attire.

A charity worker who befriended Darren said: “We are dealing with the family and assisting them with logistical matters. It is so, so sad.

“Darren was admitted to hospital and passed away shortly thereafter.

“The cause of death has not been released. I think they have been waiting for next of kin.

“We reached out to him on numerous occasions over the years, as did other military charities. We know he had a loving family, too.”

World War I remembrance group Ancre Somme Association Scotland wrote on Facebook: “Darren was seen by thousands of Scots and tourists sitting outside Waverley Station, next to the Balmoral Hotel, over the last year.

“Scotland must look after our veterans and take action now before we lose more lives. Our veterans deserve better.”

Calum McLeod, who runs post-traumatic stress disorder charity Who Dares Cares, said: “It is a sign of the times that a soldier is left to die on our streets.

“Many people will be angry that a hero was sleeping rough but many more will now be furious that he has been left to die there. It is an utter outrage.

“The homeless problem will get worse as the forces are downsized and more people return from the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a long-term problem with no easy solution.

“Our hearts and thoughts go out to Darren’s friends and family at this very difficult time.”

Tony Hayes, who heads Veteran Assistance UK, a charity helping homeless ex-­servicemen and women, said nearly all the homeless veterans have PTSD or some form of mental health problem.

He added: “Once they leave the army, they lose their support structure.

Once they leave the army, they lose their support structure - Tony Hayes

“From our experience, the problem of homeless veterans has never been greater. I’d say 13,000 is a minimum – it could be far higher.”

Cuts to the armed forces, which has led to almost 30,000 troops losing their jobs since 2010, has made the situation worse, say charities.

Despite the UK government outlining its duty to serving and former personnel by enshrining the Armed Forces Covenant in law in 2011, homeless numbers have soared,

The covenant says veterans “should have priority status in applying for Government-sponsored affordable housing schemes, and service leavers should retain this status for a period of discharge.”

17th January 2018 by J

This is a bit one sided - there are also other reports in the local press that he had often refused help from places offering to help him get a home, preferring instead to live as he did.