Archaeology helps diggers recover from trauma22 June 2019
Len Kelly has a soft spot for soldiers returning home from duty.
Len is an ex-Army captain, amateur WWI historian and businessman. Although he wasn’t deployed overseas during his time in Defence, he knows many who serve come back carry both physical and mental injuries.
“I never saw active service, having been in the Army post-Vietnam when the world was more or less at peace,” Len said.
“However, in recent years I’ve seen freshly trained, enthusiastic young men come back as different men. It’s sad.”
Former marine commando organises dig
Len is partially funding an archaeological dig from 22-29 June at the famous Australian and British battlefield of Bullecourt in France. The dig is being organised by Breaking Ground Heritage, a UK organisation founded by former Royal Marines Commando Dickie Bennet.
With French government approvals in place and British Ministry of Defence senior archaeologist Richard Osgood on board, the team is set to excavate sections of the Australian support line in the battlefield.
Len sponsors soldier to join as a digger
Len is also sponsoring a soldier from his old battalion, ex-Private Kieran Scotchford of Brisbane’s 8/9RAR to join in as a digger. They will camp on the battlefield and work side-by-side with British veterans, also the survivors of combat. Kieran is delighted with the forthcoming trip.
“I have sometimes found it very hard dealing with civilian life after serving in the infantry in Afghanistan in 2012,” Kieran said.
“This trip is something that I am excited to be part of. It will be great mixing with the British veterans and swapping notes. To link ourselves with the immortal memories and deeds of Australian and British soldiers who fought in France during the Great War of 1914-18 is very humbling”.
Len hopes it will be a unique experience for Kieran and that being surrounded by positive people from a shared culture will further his transition to civilian life, helping him to one day leave behind the effects of his combat trauma forever.