Bob Semple, formerly of the Royal Engineers, his work regularly took him to the Middle East. Whilst on his way to work in Yemen in early 2014, Bob was ambushed and captured by Al Qaeda. He was then held in solitary confinement for the next 18 months, with his legs chained to a wall in a windowless, barely lit, cell. During this time, his wife Sallie was supporting the couple’s three sons and the family home with no idea whether she and her sons would ever see Bob alive again. Adding to the stress and worry was the financial pressures placed on Sallie. With only her income as a nurse, the demands of paying the bills became too much.
Bob had been captive for over a year before Sallie began to look for help. Within days of hearing about Sallie’s situation, The Soldiers’ Charity stepped in to help. We assisted Sallie with the costs towards her household bills.
Sallie was, “overwhelmed when the Charity stepped in to help. It was such a weight off our shoulders with so much else going on. I was just taking one day at a time, but we never knew when the phone rang if it would be the kidnappers, or Bob, or the news we were dreading.”
On the 22nd August 2015, having been blindfolded in the boot of a car for more than ten hours, Bob was rescued. The boot burst open and he felt a hand on his arm and someone telling him, “You’re safe now”. On several occasions Bob believed this time would never come, as he recalls the times he believed he was close to death:
“They took me out into the sand on a number of occasions, each time I thought ‘this is it’. Each time they made videos. They wanted me to beg and cry but I wouldn’t”.
Bob now enjoys time with his family and friends.