The tragic Hartlepool veteran’s ex-wife raises awareness of support for PTSD

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Alain died at the age of 40.

Claire Lilly, 45, said more measures needed to be put in place for former military personnel following the death of her former husband Alan Forcer following a fight with PTSD.

Alan, from Hartlepool, was discovered in a wooded area between Darlington and Stockton days after he went missing in May 2020.

An investigation should soon examine the circumstances of his death.

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Claire and Josh with a crown in memory of Alan.

Alan, 40, had served in Ireland and Kosovo and was diagnosed with PTSD in 2018.

Claire, from Rochford, Essex, said she witnessed “horrible things”.

“I think he joined the military to make the world a better place or he was there with that in mind,” Claire said.

She added, “The stories he told me were horrible. Unimaginable stuff.

Claire and Alan got married in 2001.

“I think what touched him the most was the cultural and religious turmoil and he felt a little helpless.”

Claire and Alan met in 1999 while they were both working in the military, married in 2001 and have a son together, Josh, now 21.

Claire said Alan would suffer from nightmares and nighttime tremors and eventually quit the forces in 2003.

In the same year Alan and Claire separated amicably and he then returned to Hartlepool, had two more children and started a business.

Alan served in Ireland and Kosovo.

He was then reported to Combat Stress, who provided him with trauma therapy.

But in 2019, he received a letter from the organization stating that due to funding cuts, they were no longer able to deliver his course.

She said: “He was quite advanced in his program, he had opened up a lot and had covered a lot of ground.

“Having that rug pulled under you was really tough. “

Claire is now trying to make people aware of the battles veterans face in their own minds.

She said: “If you are in a car accident, or if you lose a loved one or have a miscarriage, or any of those things, no matter how horrible they are, you are diagnosed with PTSD. But what soldiers have is a very unique form of PTSD.

“More preventive measures put in place than what is currently available. Cohesive and easily accessible services.

Josh, 21, also tries to help veterans through the Phoenix Heroes charity, where he is an honorable fishing captain – a hobby he shared with his father.

Jeff Harrison, Interim Managing Director of Combat Stress, said, “Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Forcer.

“We are fully cooperating with the coroner overseeing the inquest and will be able to comment further once it is completed.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Our hearts are always with the family and friends of Mr. Forcer.

“We urge anyone who may have difficulty contacting the specialist support available.

“This includes the dedicated veterans mental health and well-being service, Op Courage, which offers a single channel to access specialist care. “

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