Mr Compain said older vets suffered physical injuries but these days, even with peacekeeping missions being the most common overseas assignments for our troops, post-traumatic stress disorder was rife.
“I have a friend who was in the first push to East Timor. He had to recover the bodies of teenage girls who had been molested and thrown into a well. Can you imagine? People have this view of peace keeping that it’s all about helping out and building schools but that’s not the entire picture.
“These days there are completely different health issues. The nature of conflict has changed as has the environment. There is less wounding, fewer limbs getting shot off and less illness due to exposure. But PTSD remains significant.
“Thousands of us who served have seen terrible things, have done terrible things and we have suffered. Veterans are going to continue to be made and to continue ageing.”
The money raised in the Poppy Appeal is used to help veterans financially as well as with medical and other health needs. Families of veterans and service men and women who have never been sent overseas are also looked after.
Mr Compain said continuing to support the cause was vital.
“Today we are producing more veterans than any time since the end of World War II, so the RSA is just as relevant today as it ever was,” he said.