Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 2nd 2014 Contents You re taking cover with your head-
set on, working under extreme con-
ditions to save lives, never knowing
what to expect, thousands of miles
She thinks that, ultimately, the
occupation of Iraq, by British forces
at least, left the Iraqi people better
off than when they arrived. "By the
time we left they had water, electricity,
schools, bridges, jobs and humani-
tarian aid," she says.
MEDICAL DISCHARGE AND
TAKING TO THE STAGE
Simi talks in a hybrid of British
accents, the Caribbean lilt almost
gone. There s some Mancunian in
there and maybe a hint of Brummy
(Birmingham). "You just pick up how
other people say things," she says.
One imagines that in the army,
when your colleagues can t under-
stand your Trini dialect, you assimilate
There were other Caribbeans in
Iraq---Jamaicans, Vincentians and
Grenadians---but she never met
It s a cruel irony that, having sur-
vived Saddam s missiles and mines,
Private Simpson s career would even-
tually be ended by a civilian.
Posted to Germany in 2010 with
the Engineers regiment she was
preparing to be dispatched to Hel-
mand province, Afghanistan by doing
six months basic training.
Leaving the base on her bicycle one
evening a motorist ran a red light,
"buss a junction", as she puts it, "and
took me with him."
She regained consciousness under-
neath the wheels of the car. Someone
pulled her out and she was taken to
casualty where they found she had
ruptured the whole left side of her
body. Particularly bad was her left
femur which needed realignment sur-
Eventually discharged on medical
grounds in November 2013 she still
cannot walk without the aid of a stick,
several years after the accident.
She spent 2011 to 2013 in a personal
rehabilitation unit and was based at
Woolwich barracks at the time drum-
mer Lee Rigby was hacked to death
on a London street by Islamic extrem-
ists last May.
Just 41, her military career is over
and though she has a basic army inva-
lidity pension she hasn t been awarded
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 2, 2014
Maurillia Simpson surrounded by fellow soldiers who are also in the play The
Two Worlds of Charlie F. PHOTO: RANKIN
The Two Worlds of Charlie F at theatres till June 14
a war pension as she wasn t tech-
nically at war when the accident
happened. She received compen-
sation but not the maximum
amount. The army told her the
accident was not their fault,
though they accepted she had
been on duty at the time.
She wasn t offered a desk job
for health and safety reasons,
because she didn t have the phys-
ical capability to run out of a
building if attacked.
A case for loss of earnings
against the driver is still to be
concluded once her surgery and
rehabilitation is complete.
Simpson doesn t show signs of
anger or frustration, though there
must be a sense of fighting con-
stant battles against life.
She s now acting in a play, cur-
rently on tour in the UK.
It s called The Two Worlds of
Charlie F, written by the Welsh
poet, Owen Sheers.
The cast is made up entirely
of former soldiers. It s a way of
telling their story, she says.
"It s about all wounded, injured
and sick soldiers who were hurt
while in service. It s a play for all
those who have used theatre to
get their voices back."
Produced by Alice Driver of the
Help For Heroes movement,
Simpson says Driver was inspired
by a friend injured in Afghanistan
who explained to her that for a
soldier to be injured "you lose
your sense of self worth, your
dignity, your personality and what
you always wanted to be."
Having toured Canada, The
Two Worlds of Charlie F is show-
ing at regional theatres in England
until June 14.
For further information about
the play go to www.charlie-
Just 41, her military career is over and
though she has a basic army invalidity
pension she hasn't been awarded a war
pension as she wasn't technically at war
when the accident happened. She received
compensation but not the maximum
amount. The army told her the accident
was not their fault, though they accepted
she had been on duty at the time.
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