Iraq War Veteran Returns Medals After Being Sacked 72 Hours Before Getting Pension

Sgt Lee Nolan

An Iraq war veteran has been made redundant by the army just three days before he was due to qualify for his full Army pension.

As a result, Sergeant Lee Nolan will lose out on at least £100,000 after becoming one of 20,000 soldiers who were axed as a result of harsh military cuts.

Having joined the army almost 18 years ago at the age of 24, Sgt Nolan did tours of Bosnia and Iraq as a medical technician in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The 43-year-old who along with his job also lost his army home – now living with relatives in Manchester – has written a heartfelt letter to David Cameron and has even returned his six military medals to the Prime Minister.

In his letter Sgt Nolan said: 

The events of the past 12 months have turned my life on its head and sullied my near-18 years of loyal and exemplary service to my country. The medals I have enclosed would only serve to remind me of the shocking way I have been treated.

Under the current rules, forces personnel over 40 need to have either 16 or 18 years’ service to earn a pension – leaving Sgt Nolan was just three days short of qualifying for the full amount having given 17 years and 362 days of service before being let go.

He received a redundancy payout of £93,000 and will get a £5,000 a year pension when he reaches 60. If his contract had been terminated just three days later, he would have received a payment of £188,500 in instalments – almost double the amount. The Ministry of Defence has responded saying the nearness to pension eligibility was not a factor in their decision to let Sgt Nolan go.

A spokeswoman for the former soldier said:

People who leave the Armed Forces lose a whole way of life and need financial security as they adapt, retrain and start over again.