Moray-based army veteran to pay tribute to fallen comrades in London
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A MORAY-BASED Afghanistan veteran is today overcoming her pain at attending Remembrance Day events to travel to London and honour fallen comrades.
Rebecca Dewis, from Hopeman, left Elgin Train Station yesterday to travel to Edinburgh, where she stayed overnight. At 5.48am today, her train left the Scottish capital for London.
She will have travelled almost 600 miles by the time she places a wreath to Kings Cross Station in London at 11am as part of the new Routes of Remembrance campaign, created by The Veterans Charity.
For Rebecca, who served for 18 years with the 205 Field Hospital in the Royal Army Medical Corps, as well as in the Adjutant General’s Corps, it will be a big moment.
She has lived with CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) after two tours of Afghanistan and, until now, has mostly avoided Remembrance Day services due to the painful memories they bring back.
But when she heard about Routes of Remembrance, which will see wreaths carried on trains to London by veterans from around the United Kingdom, she approached The Veterans Charity to see if she could take part.
She said: “It has been too painful to attend remembrance parades having witnessed the fatalities coming into the hospital in Afghanistan.
“The recent withdrawal from Afghanistan has also been a difficult time to process for many of us veterans.
“But it has made it all the more important to me to pay my respects to my forces colleagues who have given their lives in service.
"I love the idea of people from all over the country being able to participate in this and physically take the wreaths to London.
"It's a great demonstration of our commitment to armed forces personnel."
Because she has such a long journey to make, The Veterans Charity is providing two nights of accommodation for Rebecca, while ScotRail is paying for her ticket from Elgin to Edinburgh. London North Eastern Railway is providing free travel from Edinburgh to Kings Cross.
After 18 years as a medical reservist in the army, Rebecca – who moved to Hopeman 17 years ago after her husband took a job at Dr Gray's – has been teaching at Moray College's Elgin campus for the past six years.
She previously studied at Moray College, and now teaches social sciences.
"I've received quite a bit of help from my work," she said.
"CPTSD is difficult to explain – it's different from PTSD in that there isn't one specific case that it relates to.
"I saw so many casualties in Afghanistan, so it doesn't relate solely to one incident. This is something more and more nurses and doctors are reporting after Covid.
"Moray College have been very understanding and have helped me a lot. I'm one of the lucky ones."
The only time Rebecca has previously attended a Remembrance Day parade was with her father in Inverness in 2019. On Sunday, she will also attend a parade in Aberdeen.
For more information on Routes of Remembrance, visit www.veteranscharity.org.uk/remembrance.