What is a veteran

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) defines a veteran as:

“anyone who has served for at least one day in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve), or Merchant Mariners who have seen duty on legally defined military operations.” Under the definition, veterans have already left the Armed Forces.

The Armed Forces Covenant defines the Armed Forces Community as:

  • Regular Personnel – any current serving members of the Naval Service, Army or Royal Air Force;
  • Volunteer and Regular Reservists – Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marine Reserve, Territorial Army and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, and the Royal Fleet Reserve, Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Merchant Navy (where they served on a civilian vessel whilst supporting the Armed Forces);
  • Veterans – anyone who has served for at least a day in the Armed Forces as either a regular or a reservist;
  • Families of regular personnel, reservist and veterans – spouses, civil partners and children, and where appropriate can include parents, unmarried partners and other family members;
  • Bereaved – the family members of service personnel and veterans who have died, whether that death is connected to their service or not.

The 2018 Veterans Strategy and the 2011 Armed Forces Covenant reinforce the moral obligation to those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, their families and the bereaved. Both hold that members of the Armed Forces community should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services; and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most such as the injured or the bereaved.

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