‘My Special Forces mindset means I by no means needed to purchase a house’

Jason Fox, often called “Cunning”, 46, is a former Royal Marine Commando and sergeant within the elite Particular Boat Service. 

He served within the army for 20 years earlier than being medically ­discharged with put up traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD). He has since change into a psychological well being advocate.

He’s greatest often called one of many ­directing workers on the award-winning Channel 4 present SAS: Who Dares Wins. He lives in London.

Did you could have begin in life? 

I used to be born prematurely with a collapsed lung and died twice in my first few days. My mum, who had been within the Wrens [Women’s Royal Naval Service], says it was a really aggravating time. 

We relocated so much once I was a baby as a result of my dad moved from job to job when he left the Royal Marines. Finally, we moved to Yorkshire the place he arrange a enterprise changing autos to liquefied petroleum gasoline (LPG). It was doing nicely, however then his enterprise companion did a runner with a load of money and the agency went into liquidation. 

We’d been residing in a big home in Skipton however needed to downsize. Dad was so hard-up he needed to work on a farm. The farm house owners couldn’t afford to pay him in money, so he’d work for slaughtered chickens and pigs as a substitute. 

Once I was three, he landed a safety job in Luton, Bedfordshire, and we moved to a council home within the city. We had little money and my brothers have been saddled with garments I’d worn the 12 months earlier than, however I’ve joyful childhood recollections. Dad was adventurous, which made up for not having a lot cash.

Why did you be a part of the army? 

I hated faculty and left with low grades. I loved being outside and holding match. I used to be additionally simply influenced and sensed that I’d most likely get into hassle if I stayed in Luton. My dad influenced me, too. He’d taught us sensible expertise like map studying and I cherished listening to his tales about his time within the Marines.

What have been you paid once you signed up? 

As soon as on the Potential Royal Marine Course, we needed to cross vigorous gymnasium exams earlier than working round in a muddy area for hours to show we have been as much as what the Royal Navy described as “elite amphibious fighters”. Solely the recruits nonetheless standing on the finish have been capable of transfer into Commando coaching. The 32-week course is without doubt one of the hardest within the British army, however I made it via. I used to be paid one thing like £100 per week, which I assumed was superior on the age of 16.

Did you see a lot motion? 

I progressed to the rank of lance corporal, however didn’t see a lot operational service. The British Army skilled a prolonged interval of peace throughout my years within the Marines. Even the troubles in Northern Eire had calmed down a bit. 

After 9 years I needed to expertise fight at a senior degree, so in 2001 I utilized to affix the Special Forces. Once I handed the choice course of, I used to be requested whether or not I needed to affix the Particular Boat Service (SBS) in Poole or the Particular Air Service (SAS) in Herefordshire. I selected Poole as a result of it had a pleasant seaside. I began on about £30,000, however that got here with an unbelievable degree of duty.

What did you do within the SBS? 

I acted as a counter-terrorism and ­demolition skilled, chargeable for ­planning and main operations. I used to be additionally a fight swimmer and concerned in lots of counter-narcotic and hostage ­rescue missions. 

My most scary expertise was throughout a mission to rescue a civilian in Afghanistan. I used to be mendacity in a ditch throughout a horrific gunfight, surrounded by 400 insurgents. One in all my squadron had simply been killed and I bear in mind questioning if I’d get out alive. For about two or three seconds I needed to be again dwelling as a 10-year-old boy. That’s when my psychological well being ­issues started, though they have been the fruits of many occasions.

Have you ever ever struggled to pay the payments? 

After 10 years within the SBS, I used to be medically discharged in 2012 having been identified with PTSD, melancholy and power burnout. That’s once I misplaced my approach and contemplated killing myself. 

I had a small army pension however I struggled to search out employment. My army profession lent itself to safety or private safety work, however my psychological well being points precluded me from getting these jobs. I ended up pulling pints in a bar and sleeping on mates’ sofas. 

What was the turning level? 

I discovered a superb therapist. Then a mate talked about a bloke who recruited ex-military sorts. He provided me a job as a venture ­supervisor at an organization known as Sodexo, which delivered services ­administration throughout the Forces sector. By some means I landed a £40,000 wage with sick pay, vacation depart and an organization automobile, however I hated it and stop.

How did you break into tv? 

In 2015 a buddy requested me to cowl for him. He was a part of a crew of divers who have been supporting a TV manufacturing crew filming a documentary in regards to the restoration of Captain Kidd’s misplaced treasure off the coast of Madagascar. I used to be paid a respectable wage to behave as crew medic and dive buddy to the underwater cameraman. 

As luck would have it, Channel 4 was scouting round for Special Forces guys for a brand new TV present known as SAS: Who Dares Wins, which aimed to place a bunch of lay recruits via the Particular Air Service’s screening course of. They requested if I needed to be concerned. It was too good a suggestion to refuse. Moreover, I used to be flat broke. We weren’t paid that a lot – I didn’t even have an agent at that time – however I noticed it as a stepping stone to different issues. I’ve since filmed 17 sequence – eight common and 5 movie star variations, three Australian spin-offs and one for the US, which hasn’t gone out but.