Armistice Day: How many veterans are there in St Helens?

The Office for National Statistics is planning to collect more comprehensive information about veterans in the 2021 census
The Office for National Statistics is planning to collect more comprehensive information about veterans in the 2021 census

Since the 2019 Poppy Appeal launched on October 24, a veritable army of Royal British Legion volunteers have been busy collecting donations in train stations, schools and shops in every corner of the UK.


The appeal will end on November 11, otherwise known as Armistice Day, with Remembrance Sunday set to be marked the day before.

Money raised from donations and poppy sales goes towards providing support to serving and ex-serving members of the British Armed Forces, as well as their families and dependents.

But how many veterans — and potential benefactors of the appeal — are there in St Helens?

The Government does not keep a comprehensive record of all armed-forces veterans living across the UK, so it is difficult to arrive at an exact estimate.

However, the Ministry of Defence does publish a variety of statistics which give an insight into the veteran population in the area.

Veterans under 65

According to the 2011 census, St Helens is home to an estimated 2,780 working-age veterans — those aged between 16 and 64.

That's around 2% of the overall population , higher than the England and Wales average .

Of these, 94% were men and 6% women.

The Office for National Statistics is planning to collect more comprehensive information about veterans in the 2021 census.

This is intended to help the Government, councils and NHS services plan support for veterans and their families, in areas such as health, housing and employment.

Pensions and Disability Compensation

A total of 1,497 people in St Helens have received some kind of armed forces pension or compensation for injuries caused by service in the armed forces, according to MoD statistics covering to March.

Of these, 1,383 are veterans, with the remainder made up of family members or personnel who are still in active service.

War Pension Scheme

The War Pension scheme was a compensation programme for armed forces personnel who were killed or suffered injuries or ill health as a result of service, from the start of the First World War up to April 2005.

It consists of a weekly or monthly pension, or lump sum.

In St Helens, at least 606 veterans had received compensation or a pension under the scheme as of the end of March, according to the latest figures, as have 69 widows and widowers.

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme replaced the WPS in 2005.

To date, 62 veterans and 43 serving personnel in St Helens have received compensation under it.

This consists of a lump sum, with an additional ongoing payment for more serious cases.

Dependents who have received compensation because of the death of a veteran are not included in the figures.

Armed Forces Pension Scheme

Members of the armed forces who have served for at least two years are entitled to a pension once they reach retirement age.

In St Helens, 879 people currently claim a military pension.

Characteristics of veterans

Around one in eight working-age veterans in England and Wales say their day-to-day activities are limited because of a disability, according to the 2011 census.

In St Helens, 250 veterans (9%) said their activities were limited a lot, and 265 (10%) said they were limited a little.

Overall, 210 veterans aged under 65 (8%) said they could not work because of a disability.And While the majority of veterans are homeowners, figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government show that two veterans needed support from the council between January and March this year because they were homeless or were going to become homeless within 56 days.

A spokeswoman for the Royal British Legion said life in the armed forces brings "unique challenges" both during and after service.

She said: "We offer support in a number of ways including providing crisis grants, researching the changing impact of blast injuries on the body, lobbying the government on key issues, specialist dementia care, sport and art-based recovery programmes, and advising on benefits and money problems.

"We are here 365 days for any member of the Armed Forces community that may need our help and support.”