Royal Navy: Special Boat Service veterans donate £60,000 of body armour to equip a platoon of Ukrainians on the front lines fighting Russia

SPECIAL forces veterans from the Royal Navy have answered the call to help equip Ukraine’s military fighting for freedom against Vladimir Putin - by donating about £60,000 of high-end body armour.

By Tom Cotterill
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 4:55 am
SBS veterans Simon Roland and Neil Strang in The News's office after donating about £60,000 of body armour from their private security company Veritas International
SBS veterans Simon Roland and Neil Strang in The News's office after donating about £60,000 of body armour from their private security company Veritas International

Simon Roland and Neil Strang, veterans of the elite Special Boat Service – the sister unit of the SAS, responded to a joint plea for the ‘life-saving’ kit by The News and Portsmouth North Penny Mordaunt.

The pair, who run private security firm Veritas International, travelled from their HQ in Poole to The News’s office at Lakeside in North Harbour on Thursday, to hand over crates of protective equipment.

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In all, about 34 sets of bulletproof vests and helmets, along with a range of other military tactical gear, were donated – enough to equip a platoon of Ukrainians on the front line.

The latest addition is part of a huge store of military kit collected by The News and Ms Mordaunt over the past week, which will today be shipped off by Ukrainians heading to defend their homeland from Russia.

Simon, who is the chief executive of Veritas and has previously served in war zones across the globe during his 16-year career in the military, said the kit would save lives.

The veteran added: ‘This kit will make a huge difference. This is all life-saving equipment and is allowing people to defend their properties and defend the front line in as good a kit as what they can hope to wear. Any Ukrainian soldier receiving this kit will be very grateful.

‘A lot of this is exactly the same quality as what the British military has and it’s brand new and will do the job.’

Veteran operator Neil added it was tough seeing the images coming from Ukraine and said: ‘We’re all parents here and we’re watching images of fathers going out to fight and looking after their wives and their children. It strikes a cord with you, especially being ex-military and understanding what they’re about to go into.

‘Some people have no experience of fighting in the front line like that and yet they’re going in to protect their families, first and foremost, and then their country secondly.

‘When you watch this, it can’t not strike a chord with you and if you can do something to help, then you should do.’

The kit was transported to Portsmouth by Harvey Hawkins of PWB Ltd, an industrial heating services firm based in Poole.

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