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The Military Times would like to offer their condolences to the family and friends of Kyle Mason, a great sportsman who has died at the young age of 33.

Kyle played rugby for Plymouth Albion and Brixham RFC in Devon. However, it was as a Royal Navy player that he was perhaps best known. He was the Navy’s most capped player, appearing 29 times for the team.

As a Leading Airman, he served on a number of ships including Bulwark and Ocean. Most recently he was a Fireman at RNAS Culdrose. He made his debut for the Royal Navy in 2007 as a front-row forward and is generally regarded as one of the very best forwards to have played with the team. He was in the RN team that won the Inter Services title in 2010.

Described as a “gentle giant” and a true gentleman, Kyle sadly took his own life.  He is the fifth forces-type to have done so this year.  His death is a stark reminder to all of us that the Services can place many strains upon some individuals. Indeed, in a recent survey, some 41% of Veterans have expressed real sense of loneliness and isolation since leaving the Forces.

Probably almost all of us who leave the forces experience a feeling not unlike leaving a room full of friends; when the door closes behind us a silence descends and we find ourselves “out there” and wondering what we can do to replace the close sense of community that might have been our lives for ten, twenty or thirty years.

The ability (or not) to integrate with the civilian community and its values will determine whether we are able to move on or keep looking over our shoulders.  Many former service people cannot make that transition and we need to keep an eye out for them and to make them feel that they are not alone.

TMT will now undertake to research and publish articles about how we can all assist Veterans in this way. There are a number of support services provided by civilian and military agencies and we will do our best to provide readers with a clear and sensible road-map or guide as the best way to get help – either for yourself or perhaps for someone who you think is going through a rough patch.

Kyle’s death has been a bit of a wake-up call for us at TMT. We hope we can do something to help others in future so that they, their families and friends do not have to suffer in the same way.

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