We wanted to take a look at some of the work our Veterans undertake when leaving the Forces, so in this next series of blogs we will be recounting the journeys and tales of some of our Forces veterans, highlighting their journeys, struggles and achievements along the way….it is not always pretty, nor do we always have a fairy tale ending, but this is the real life of a veteran.
On leaving the British Army in 1997 after 20 years in uniform, Chris North moved into the Humanitarian Demining and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) sector, clearing Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). This was the start of what would become a long journey across many parts of the globe, working in troubled and hazardous conflict and post-conflict areas.
Initially in those early days, with Handicap International, Chris worked predominantly in Bosnia and Kosovo.
He had always written poetry – the reasons behind that hail from the aftermath of an incident that is written about in Chris’s writing under the heading ‘These Things I Keep Inside’. At that time (and to this day to some extent) Chris’s writing was a kind of therapy. He would write about an issue or incident, read it a couple of times then he would burn it to banish the demons, sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t, but this practice continued for many years as a kind of ‘self-therapy’.
After a series of events that resulted in one of Chris’s poems, ‘War Trade’, being seen by a small-time publisher (who incidentally had a past of writing screen-plays for early porno movies). Chris was persuaded to stop destroying his work and eventually to publish some poetry.
He did this in three short collections, ‘Risky Business’, ‘War Trade’ and ‘Victory’ (the contents of all these are included in Chris’s Book). A certain amount of publicity followed as the books were selling and raising money for mine-action charities and to his horror Chris soon inherited the pseudonym ‘The Poet Deminer’.
– HE HATED IT –
Over the years, as age mellows most things, he has come to accept this tag and has now decided to “brave the public” and publish his writings.
In doing so, he made a promise to be honest and to hold nothing back, so you get to see the vulnerabilities, the fears, the loves and the general chaos that makes up not only Chris, but possibly many other EOD operators plying their trade on the international aid and post-conflict circuit.
“So that is the start of this journey through the feelings, thoughts, emotions, ramblings, fears and loves – of The Poet Deminer – all laid bare, warts and all…… be kind when judging, even the old emotions are still very raw and painful at times, it’s not all pain and sorrow though, stick with it, there is so much joy to be seen too”.
Chris’ book can be purchased through Amazon here.