AN INVERKEITHING veteran has opened up about the pals he served with and lost over a quarter of a century in the Army.

Bruce Fraser, 67, saw service in Northern Ireland, Greece, Norway, Denmark, Cyprus, Germany, the Ascension Islands, the Falkland Islands and Canada during his 25 years in the forces.

But five years ago, he developed mental health problems and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“In Cyprus, we were there to help protect the local civilians after the Turkish invasion," he recalled.

"The last memories stay in my head: throwing sweets to the local children as we drove away. To this day I don’t know if they survived.

"I often think, could we have done more? Was it my fault not to get them further to safety?

"And in Northern Ireland, we had bricks, bottles and petrol bombs thrown at us. Then the shootings and ambushes.

"I had three good friends murdered in the ‘Angels Executions.’ The last thing I said to them was: ‘Don’t come back in body bags.’ I often think of them, wonder what lives they would have led.

“I miss my military service like hell though. I had lots of good times along with the bad stuff. I made many friends, and I also met my wife, Kathy, through the army."

Bruce left school aged 15 in 1968 and joined the Junior Army. At 17, he joined the 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots, and was posted to Northern Ireland on his 18th birthday.

He added: “In 1993, I completed my service but by then I had a number of health problems, including osteoarthritis and nerve/muscle damage caused by years of lifting and carrying heavy weights, and some deafness due to not having ear defenders in my early years.

"My mental health problems and PTSD didn’t surface until years later, in 2015."

This week, he has hailed the work of a charity that came to the rescue in his time of need.

Bruce Fraser, who also has a war pension, never had any financial problems until his Disabled Living Allowance (DLA) was stopped suddenly and he didn't know where to turn.

Thanks to the Armed Service Advice Project (ASAP) set up by Citizens Advice and Rights Fife, who fought Bruce's corner, a claim for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been successful and the charity is also pursing an enhanced payment that they believe the veteran is entitled to.

He explained: "When my social security was changed from DLA to PIP, I did find it difficult to ask for help, as it is not in my nature to do that. But I’m so glad I did.

"The ASAP team couldn’t have been more helpful. And they don’t just do the job, they are also really friendly and always happy to talk.

"I now have some peace of mind, thanks to them.”

Norma Philpott, Citizens Advice and Rights Fife chief executive, said: "I am extremely proud of the great work done by our ASAP advisers across Fife, and indeed across Scotland.

"The financial gains are so important but the project also help these people in so many other ways that can't be quantified."

The service is available to anyone in any branch of the forces, either current or former, and it will help you with any issue or problem. You can call the free helpline on 0808 800 1007 or visit

Citizens Advice and Rights Fife is this week celebrating the 10th anniversary of the project set up in 2010 which delivers vital advice and support to people who have served in the armed forces.

The service announced it had helped a total of 1,611 from the fife branch over the decade, and had delivered for them a total of £2.4 million gain in welfare benefits, wages and grants.