Alice Bromage was at home on Saturday night when she got the message. She had just arrived back from a work trip when it flashed up on WhatsApp: I’m stuck here, please help me get out.
The message was from an Afghan man who Alice knew from her days as a major in the British army having served two tours of Afghanistan. She trained and looked after him when he visited the UK.
“If they had a weekend off, we would go shopping for presents for his children,” says Alice, 44. “He would show me videos of his daughters, and what they liked, so that I could help him buy for them gifts to take home. They were very proud of their families.”
She replied to him and asked for more details. “We’re in a very hard time,” he said. He has the paperwork needed to get out, but no money. “I have in bank and banks are locked now. Even I was trying to find milk for my baby and couldn’t.”
Alice says she’s not alone in receiving pleas for help. In fact, most of the veterans she knows have.
“I haven’t heard of a single person so far who hasn’t been contacted by someone. I’m not special,” she says. “People there are desperate and are trying to contact all those who served alongside them. They trust us, that’s why.”