Dr Hugh Milroy

Hugh Milroy is the Chief Executive of Veterans Aid (VA), the UK’s leading frontline charity for Veterans who are homeless, in crisis or socially excluded. Hugh has been involved with VA and homeless Veterans since 1996. His MA looked at the effect of military service on military personnel/families in general while his Ph.D. was conducted among street homeless Veterans: Both degrees focused on the impact of military service on the lives of service personnel and their families with the Ph.D. exploring the issues of success and failure/homelessness post-service.  His Ph.D. is officially lodged in the Library of Parliament in Canada. 

Hugh has been CEO of Veterans Aid since 2005 and under his guidance the charity has become the national “Accident & Emergency Unit” for the Veteran community with a distinct and effective prevention ethos.  The modus operandi of focusing on holistic well-being and sustainable futures, rather than constantly redefining personal history, has dramatically lowered the rate of recidivism among clients and prevents many from becoming entrenched in homelessness/social exclusion.  Hugh successfully conducted a high-profile international campaign for changes to the immigration rules regarding Foreign & Commonwealth service personnel and their families in the British Armed Forces and in June 2011 was awarded the OBE for his contribution to the wellbeing of Veterans.  Hugh has many diverse links relating to Veteran wellbeing ranging from practitioners working with Veterans to academics in the field from around the world.  In 2009, he was published as part of a major international academic work on the subject of Pathways of Human Development (* See Chapter 18: From Welfare to Well-Being: Turning Things around Among Homeless Veterans).

Between 2010-13, he was a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London and in January 2016 his paper Stolen trauma: why some veterans elaborate their psychological experience of military service, co-authored with Professor Edgar Jones, was published. In 2016 he became an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of East Anglia’s prestigious School of Social Work, his own alma mater. In 2016 he was awarded a Doctor of Civil Law (honoris causa) by the University of East Anglia.

Hugh is regularly approached for advice by journalists, politicians, academics and members of the veterans’ community – particularly regarding status/social exclusion issues concerning Veterans in 21st Century Britain. He speaks to diverse audiences and gives an annual lecture to MSc students in the Department of War Studies at the King’s College Institute of Psychiatry. Currently, he is advising on veteran matters in Australia, Canada and Denmark.  He is also joint author on a paper concerning “Welfare to well-being” at his hostel in East London.  This has just been submitted to the US Journal, Psychiatric Services – Special Issue on Homelessness for possible publication.  He has recently been asked to be a thought leader at the Tri-Nations ASCN Symposium in Adelaide in early October 2016. Hugh has also just presented as an expert witness in the UK Parliament

Hugh was a military advisor to the Howard League for Penal Reform inquiry into the numbers and reasons for Veterans being in prison. In November 2010, he completed a speaking tour of Canada to academics, politicians and military personnel on handling Veterans in crisis.  (This was sponsored by the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, of the Canadian Government.) In Aug 2011 he was appointed as an advisor to the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, Canada.

Between, January 2012-September 2013, Hugh was a Director of the new £35m Forces in Mind Trust.  He was a member of the small Parliamentary Inquiry Team lead by Stephen Phillips QC looking at solutions to reduce offending/re-offending among Veterans and in September 2015 was included in The Evening Standard Progress 1000 list of London’s most influential people.

In the final part of his 17-year Royal Air Force career, Hugh was the senior welfare and community specialist where he did much innovative work in introducing community well-being as part of the Force approach to personnel effectiveness. This is still being used today by the RN and RAF with the community support websites he created receiving multi-million visits. He has frequently worked in tri-Service environments including a long deployment with the British Army to the Gulf War (1991).


*Stephen Phillips QC, MP: Former Members of the Armed Forces and the Criminal Justice System - A Review on behalf of the Secretary of State for Justice Stephen Phillips QC MP 5 November 2014.