I Lost My Husband to Trauma of War. Now He's Come Back to Me; Couple Split after Soldier James Returned from Afghanistan Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, after Long Wait for Counselling, the Couple Are Retying the Knot. CATHERINE LILLINGTON Reports

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), October 5, 2016 | Go to article overview

I Lost My Husband to Trauma of War. Now He's Come Back to Me; Couple Split after Soldier James Returned from Afghanistan Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, after Long Wait for Counselling, the Couple Are Retying the Knot. CATHERINE LILLINGTON Reports


Byline: CATHERINE LILLINGTON

TERRIFYING flashbacks from the battlefield drove a young Coventry veteran and his bride apart.

But James Price and his ex-wife Anneka's love could not be beaten and they are tying the knot a second time.

Even so they suffered an agonising two-year wait for counselling to help James who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The couple met in 2006 while James was on leave after serving in Iraq with the Grenadier Guards.

In March 2009 they had a son Owen. He was christened on their wedding day that August. Anneka remembers their marriage at the Guards Chapel in London as the happiest day of her life.

There was one cloud on their horizon - James was being posted to war-torn Afghanistan the following month.

While he was away, Anneka wrote every day, enclosing pictures of their toddler Owen. Brief and cheery replies from James, now 29, made no mention of the horrors he was seeing. Nor did he mention that he was racked with survivor guilt at being still alive after five members of his regiment had been killed.

He would to me Afghanistan, I knew he seen some Anneka He recalled: "I missed so much in those months - Owen's first words, him starting to crawl and his first birthday. But thoughts of my family kept me going. "When I was out there I just did what I was trained to do, I didn't think too much.

"But now when I look back, the tour was really gruelling and was affecting me emotionally and physically. We came under heavy fire lots of times. Five of my regiment were killed in seven months.

"We became like brothers, working closely together. So when we lost anyone it was like a kick in the teeth.

"One night three men were killed, including a close friend, when the Taliban attacked." He added: "The devastation caused to Afghan civilians by Taliban attacks was also harrowing. Children would run screaming from gunfire and as a first aider I had to attend to some horrific injuries. It was heartbreaking."

When James came home for Christmas Anneka noticed he was withdrawn and unhappy. She said: "Something wasn't right. If I asked, he wouldn't talk about it."

James left the army in March 2010 and Anneka realised he was no longer the man she married.

Anneka, 31, remembered: "He became moody and locked himself away. We were constantly arguing.

"He was once a loving dad but now he showed no interest in his son. He would snap at me and soon the intimacy between us disappeared.

"At night he would toss and turn and scream and I would get hit by his thrashing arms and legs. Our rows were upsetting and Owen and I couldn't take any more.

"I thought James might be depressed and asked him to get help but he'd just say there was nothing wrong. Finally I asked him to leave. I needed to protect my son from seeing his dad in such a bad way.

"He would never talk to me about Afghanistan, although I knew he must have seen some awful things. But neither of us really knew what was happening to him or how to cope."

never talk about although must have awf" James recalled: "I would have flashbacks to explosions and hear men shouting orders and gunfire ringing in my ears. …

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I Lost My Husband to Trauma of War. Now He's Come Back to Me; Couple Split after Soldier James Returned from Afghanistan Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, after Long Wait for Counselling, the Couple Are Retying the Knot. CATHERINE LILLINGTON Reports
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