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Care-assistant-led virtual reality sessions help veterans cope with PTSD

Author: Educare Staffing | Posted: 17th November 2016 | Category: General News


Born in 1925 in Putney, London, Frank Mouqué was a corporal in the 263 Field Company of the British Royal Engineers. Mr Mouqué was a sapper and was, therefore, responsible for laying and defusing mines and explosives, constructing and destroying bridges and edifications, as well as participating in combat.

He was part of the D-Day assault on Sword Beach, where, under fire, he and his fellow sappers cleared a path through the mine-littered beach ahead of the rest of the British troops.

In the weeks following the D-Day landings, he was part of the Allied forces that took Pegasus Bridge and liberated several northern French towns. Including Armentières – the town he remembers the clearest.

The virtual reality video was specially created for the 91-year-old D-Day veteran and was shared ahead of this years’ Remembrance Sunday 2016 (13 November). The video shows Mr Mouqué using VR to revisit the French town of Armentières that he helped liberate during World War Two. The project was devised and coordinated by Manchester-based start-up Twine (www.twine.fm) and uses one of the year’s most discussed forms of emerging technology.

The video offers a first-person experience with 360 functionality so that viewers can share Frank’s first-person experience, in addition to a second film documenting Frank’s reactions, 20% … 60% and the experience enabled Mr Mouqué to enjoy a tour of present-day Armentières and a subtitled interview with the town’s mayor during which he ‘virtually’ presented Frank with the town’s official medal, the ‘Medal of Armentières’.

Stuart Logan, founder and chief executive of Twine, said: “Virtual reality is a technology with almost limitless potential, but we wanted to look beyond thrills and entertainment and use it to achieve something truly profound.

“My late grandfather took part in the liberation of Europe, so I was drawn to the idea of helping a member of this extraordinary generation see the town today that he helped free so many decades earlier. It was wonderful to let Frank experience the gratitude of the people of Armentières and see first-hand the enduring legacy of both his service and the sacrifices of so many friends.

“I am proud that we were able to mobilise so many members of the Twine community of creative freelancers, from across the world, to help make this special film for Frank.”

After the experience, Mr Mouqué said: “It’s ingenious! It’s like you’re really there, standing in front of them! On behalf of all the people who were [serving] with me, thank you.”

Now 91, he lives at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, which he describes as the ‘best nursing home in the world’, entertaining fellow Chelsea Pensioners and staff with his irrepressible sense of humour.

Colonel Simon Bate, an adjutant of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, commented: “This is a tremendously important time of year. Remembrance is a chance for us all to remember how lucky we are to be here today and what we owe to our veterans.

“For Frank, to be thanked by the people of Armentières for his contribution during the war, and to receive this medal from the mayor, means a tremendous amount. He will have been thinking of the other soldiers who fought alongside him as he received the medal on both his – and their – behalf. It will mean a lot to him. We need to make sure that the sacrifices of those lost in war are never forgotten.”

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