Jeremy Corbyn in Hartlepool: 'I learned a lot from talking to veterans'

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he learned a lot from talking to forces veterans when he visited Hartlepool.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 4:08 pm
Updated Friday, 28th June 2019, 12:33 pm

Mr Corbyn visited the Heugh Battery Museum on the Headland on the day that Labour announced new measures it would introduce if it was in power to support serving and ex-services personnel.

He met a number of veterans and heard about the battles they and their families faced when leaving the services to re-enter civilian life.

The visit was arranged by Hartlepool MP Mike Hill, a longstanding supporter of the gun battery site.

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Mr Corbyn told the Mail: “I've come to Hartlepool because it is an area where there are many people that joined the armed services, and also to meet a group of veterans and go through their issues on housing, mental health provision, and the good work they do through breakfast clubs and support for people."I learned a lot from this good conversation we had this morning but crucially the need for support for people going through mental health stress.

"It needs to be better organised."

Laurence Williams, 51, who served in the Light Dragoons for 22 years and is a case worker for the forces charity SSAFA, said: "At the moment veterans are just totally neglected whether through post traumatic stress disorder or they just can't cope when they come out the service. If it wasn't for the charities it would be a bad place."

Ian Cawley, who served in the Green Howards, told Mr Corbyn how he had to travel to Inverness for combat stress support.

(Left to right) Shadow Secretary of State for defence Nia Griffith, Heugh Battery Museum manager Diane Stephens and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture by Frank Reid

Mr Hill said: "It is a great honour and privilege that he is here. And bearing in mind Labour's pledges around looking after our veterans, what better place to come than the Headland and museum which is the site of the only First World War battlefield in the UK."

Museum manager Diane Stephens said it was a great coup for the museum. She said: "He was very interested in the history of the museum and was aware of the significance of the site."We talked quite a lot about the effect on the civilian population of the bombardment."

(Left to right) Hartlepool MP Mike Hill, Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, Heugh Battery Museum manager Diane Stephens and Shadow Secretary of State for defence Nia Griffith. Picture by Frank Reid
Labour leader party Jeremy Corbyn talks to veterans during a visit to the Headland Heugh Gun Battery. Picture by Frank Reid
Katrice Lee disappeared on her second birthday from a NAAFI supermarket in Germany in 1981 where her dad was serving in the army.
Jeremy Corbyn (left) with Richard Lee. Picture by Frank Reid