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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 06:11 GMT 07:11 UK
My War: The husband back home
Bryan d'Arcy
Bryan d'Arcy's wife is away in the Gulf for the RAF

Bryan d'Arcy's wife is serving in the Gulf as an RAF doctor, while he looks after their one year-old son back home in the UK.

He talks of the family's frustration at having a wife and mother away at war.

My wife Jo is an RAF doctor working as part of an aeromedical evacuation team.

It's her job to look after casualties as they are being flown out of the war zones, back to safer locations.

Unfortunately she is there to certify the dead too. She hasn't been needed that much, which is excellent.

Meanwhile I'm at home looking after our one-year-old son, Alexander.

It's not just husbands that have gone out there it's wives and mothers too
Bryan d'Arcy

I understand why she's gone, but it's very frustrating because my wife has missed her son's first birthday.

Jo has also missed watching her son starting to crawl and speak and get more teeth. That's probably the hardest bit.

I've had plenty of excellent support from my parents, her parents, brothers and sisters.

But I don't think most people realise civilian husbands of military personnel exist.

All the talk is of supporting 'our boys' at war and I find that very frustrating.

It's not just husbands that have gone out there, it's wives and mothers too.


This is the first time Jo's been away in a war zone and during the combat I was constantly watching BBC News24 and checking News Online.

That's the most heart-rending thing, just watching it on the news and wondering where she is and what she's doing and is she all right, is she coming back?

Seeing Jo go was a massive low point, but I think the worst morning I had was when she moved locations and there was a report about a jet being taken down in the place where she was going.

The d'Arcy family
The family have been separated since February

I've watched the news a lot. I was watching when they pulled down the statue in Baghdad, but that didn't make me feel any better.

The only thing I'm looking forward to is her coming back.

We have also had to move out of our home in Peterborough, because I can no longer commute to London and be back in time to pick Alex up from nursery.

We've moved in with my wife's parents closer to London and Alex has started a new nursery.

It's been quite difficult, quite an upheaval for us, and for Jo too of course.

Food parcels

I've had a reasonable amount of contact with Jo.

There have been emails here and there and she gets 20 minutes worth of phone calls a week, so we've had a fair amount of chats, sometimes very brief, sometimes at 4am!

This is Jo's first time at war, but she's doing fine.

She understands why she's out there and is the type of person that will crack on with the job. She is with a good team of people.

I know it's a war zone but, but Jo's made the best of it she can.

She is struggling with the food out there as she's a vegetarian.

When Jo first went out they didn't have any vegetarian rations and she had to eat potato sandwiches!

I've had to send out things for her to eat for breakfast, as well as vitamins and toilet paper.

Now that the worst seems to be over, she is just looking forward to getting home.

Officially we've been told Jo will be coming home at the end of August.

But we're hoping it will be a lot sooner than that, maybe within a month. That would be nice!


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