What is a Veteran?


The Military Afterlives project is committed to showcasing the diverse stories of veterans in the UK. Our research revealed that many veterans had experienced stereotyping about military service and identities and that they found this frustrating and upsetting.

Supported by the Societies and Cultures Institute at the University of Exeter, the What is a veteran? Beyond the cliché video project brings together six veteran volunteers to talk about their experiences of stereotyping and to create a video which challenges them.

Meet our participants

Lexi Chambers

Lexi joined the Army in 1998 as a telecommunications operator in the Royal Corps of Signals but left a year later due to foot injuries which led to her medical discharge.

In Civilian Street, Lexi retrained as a nurse where she worked until retiring early in 2021 due to CRPS and a below the knee amputation. Since then, Lexi has become a world record holding athlete, competing in triathlons, half – and full-marathons. Her upcoming world record attempt will see her covering as much distance in 12 hours as possible on her non-sport wheelchair. She does this in aid of charities that support veterans including Blesma and the Aaron Lewis Foundation.

Eddie Campaigne

Eddie joined the Royal Marines aged 16 in January 1975, trained as a signaller, and served with 40, 41 and 42 Commando. After a road traffic accident, Eddie re-trained as a printer in the Royal Marines before he left in 1990.

After his discharge from the military Eddie worked in a mental health and addiction rehab centre where he taught printing to service users. Eddie also studied history and politics at The University of Exeter.  His claim to fame is winning the weakest link with Anne Robinson.

Rob Benson Cross

Rob spent 15 years in the British military. He served in the Territorial Army before joining the Royal Marines in 1983 and he left in 1996.

After leaving the military, Rob emigrated to Australia where he worked in a range of professions from offshore diving, the Australian Police Service and media consultancy. More recently, Rob has worked in the Aged Care sector where he is a business development manager. Throughout his diverse career, Rob has a  strong belief and passion is about giving back to the community through engaging in the work he carries out. Rob is also a member of his local Surf Lifesaving club on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Sarah Maskell

Sarah was commissioned into the Personnel Branch of the RAF in 1999 and served for 19 years in a variety of roles including Personnel Services, Project Management and Employment Policy, Phase 1 Recruit Training and with NATO and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
She recently launched her own people consultancy, Inclusion Insights Group, after senior leadership roles at HSBC, Home Office and the NHS. She is passionate about culture and disruption; helping individuals and organisations to see how their experiences align with the wider world and help them to tackle systemic challenges.

James Murphy

James served for 19 years in the British Military, receiving lifelong injuries from combat.

Upon leaving the Military, James became the Head of Cyber Threat Intelligence for Government Digital Services before becoming the Director of TechVets, a Programme within Forces Employment Charity that was created as a bridge for veterans, Service leavers, Reservists and their families into information technology careers.

James is also a member of the Veterans’ Employers Group, established by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs.

Charlie Radclyffe

Charlie served in the Army and was injured on adventurous training, leaving him paralysed below the knees.  He assists veterans with pension matters and is setting up a community incorporated company (CIC) to drive improvements in veteran-related policy making.

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