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Veterans marching in Whitehall. Courtesy of Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images

Who is a ‘Veteran’? Understanding Definitions of the Term Among the British Public: A Research Note

Rachael Gribble, Simon Wessely, Susan Klein, David A Alexander, Christopher Dandeker and Nicola T Fear
RUSI Journal, 18 December 2019
UK, Military Personnel, Europe
The Ministry of Defence’s idea of 'veteran' is far broader than the British public’s.

There are currently an estimated 2.8–3.8 million people in the UK who fulfil the UK Ministry of Defence definition of a military veteran (a minimum of one day’s military service). Despite these numbers, there is little research on who the public views as a veteran and how this differs across society. Rachael Gribble, Simon Wessely, Susan Klein, David A Alexander, Christopher Dandeker and Nicola T Fear examine public conceptualisations of the term ‘veteran’ compared with definitions from the Ministry of Defence and those of ex-service personnel themselves. Factors associated with commonly endorsed definitions are identified.

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