To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many British armed forces personnel who served in the (a) Gulf war in 1991, (b) Iraq war in 2003 and (c) Operation Herrick (i) died on active service during those conflicts or (ii) subsequently took their own lives due to (A) post-traumatic stress disorder and (B) other causes.
The number of UK Armed Forces personnel who died during active service in each of the specified conflicts is presented in the following table:
UK Armed Forces deaths as a result of operations in Gulf 1, Iraq and Afghanistan, as of 28 February 2022
Number of deaths
2 August 1990 to 7 March 1991
Iraq (Op TELIC)
20 January 2003 to 22 May 2011
11 September 2001 to 28 August 2021
The number of UK Armed Forces personnel who served during Gulf 1 who subsequently took their own lives was 216 as of 31 December 2015 (source: 1990/1991 Gulf Conflict UK Gulf Veterans Mortality Data: Causes of Death). This includes both coroner-confirmed suicides and open verdict deaths, in line with the definition used by the Office for National Statistics. Information is not held on the numbers of former serving personnel who deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan who subsequently took their own lives. However, Defence Statistics are in the process of setting up a new project to understand the long-term consequences of military service (including all deaths) for all personnel who have served since 2001, including recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2018, the then Secretary of State for Defence directed that, going forward, the study should include all personnel to understand the impact of continued deployments overseas, and it should provide near real time surveillance of causes of death in Serving personnel and veterans. The study is currently going through MOD Ethics and the NHS Health Research Authority Confidentiality Advisory Group ahead of the data flows starting between NHS Digital and MOD. Defence Statistics expect to start reporting for England and Wales later this year with data for Scotland and Northern Ireland following. The first report is expected in 2022.
Information is not held by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on whether subsequent deaths for former serving personnel were due to post-traumatic stress disorder or other causes. Cause of death information is collated from the death certificate; this source of information does not provide any insight into the life factors and medical conditions that may have resulted in individuals taking their own lives.