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World War I

After the WWI around two million veterans came home with some level of disability: over 40,000 were amputees; facial disfigurements or had been blinded or become deaf.  There were thousands of cases of “shell shock” from the horrors of warfare, Known today as post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).

The majority of them were young men who had their whole lives ahead.  To avoid a future of misery and hopelessness, and an enormous drain on the state, they needed to try and live independently and support their families.

The government, overloaded with war debts, put its main emphasis on providing war pensions based on the level of disability.

Businesses that employed disabled veterans were given preferential consideration for contracts and could display the royal crest. However, the predisposition was to employ those with low level disability, leaving the severely disabled out of work.

The state did not produce sheltered employment opportunities or provide retraining. Being Britain the only European state to depend entirely on voluntary effort to employ disabled ex-servicemen.

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