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Weston urges 'realistic' portrayal

Falklands War veteran Simon Weston has called for a more realistic portrayal of injured service personnel to warn people about the dangers of joining the Armed Forces.

The charity campaigner, who sustained serious injuries in the 1982 conflict, said that media coverage of service men and women injured during combat was cherry-picked to show individuals who were coping relatively well with their injuries.

But Mr Weston said that, in most cases, soldiers usually struggled with their life-changing injuries and called for a "warts and all" presentation of the realities of war.

He said: "It [coverage] needs to be more realistic, it needs to be warts and all.

"And the warts and all would probably scare a huge amount from ever joining, and that's no bad thing."

Mr Weston suggested that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was hand-selecting wounded individuals to forward its own propaganda campaign to recruit new members. These people, he said, "attacked their rehabilitation, not just performed their rehabilitation, but attacked it".

He added: "And that does skew it, because again with the MoD and the way the press are regulated by the MoD, then you only ever get to see the ones that are really coping and the majority that are injured don't that well."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We are committed to providing the best possible care and support for all Armed Forces personnel injured on operations.

"As a nation we want to mark and recognise their courage. The MoD does this in a number of ways through official and public events and working with others, including charities and the media - but at a time that is right for affected service personnel, many of whose injuries are life-changing. Our priority is always their well being, recovery and rehabilitation."

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