Andrew was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in 1977 then served with the Second Battalion in Northern Ireland, West Germany, West Berlin and the Falkland Islands. He graduated from the Pakistan Command and Staff College in 1987. Following this he served in company command and staff appointments in England, then deployed with Headquarters Royal Marines to Southern Turkey/Northern Iraq in 1991. Andrew was a staff and tactics instructor in 1991-93 and then Second in Command of First Fusiliers, including a UN and NATO tour of Bosnia in 1995-96. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1998 and appointed Commanding Officer of the Infantry Battle School, Brecon then served as Sector Commander with the UN Observer Mission in Georgia, 2001. His other operational deployments included tours as adviser and mentor to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces in 2003 and 2005-06, and military liaison officer, Jerusalem in 2006-07. His UK staff appointments included Ministry of Dessence in London, the UK Joint Doctrine Centre, and Headquarters School of Infantry. Andrew retired from the British Army in 2008 and is currently pursuing academic studies in archaeology. He was appointed MBE 1990 and awarded a GOC’s Commendation for service in Northern Ireland 1981.
Andrew was prescribed mefloquine in December 2002 and immediately experienced vivid dreams and a range of other side-effects such as dizziness, loss of balance, memory loss and anger issues. He was advised by medical staff that these were within the accepted range of side-effects and that they would be only transitory, that mefloquine was the only effective anti-malarial for West Africa, so therefore was denied safer alternative drugs. His mefloquine toxicity was not pursued to diagnosis during the following years of service, although civilian consultants confirmed that the lingering side-effects were a legacy of mefloquine. The most severe and enduring outcome is the condition of nightmare disorder. Since 2003 he has not been able to sleep for longer than an hour, always waking after vivid and sometimes profoundly unpleasant dreams. He still has some periods of memory lapse and difficulties of anger control. Post-discharge, the MoD accepted that his condition was caused by using mefloquine during service in Sierra Leone. The diagnosis of nightmare disorder was conveyed to him in a routine letter signed by a civil servant. He has been tackling the MoD’s medical incompetence, negligence and cover-up since 2008. In 2015 Andrew told his story to The Independent:
“For me, the most profound and persistent issue has been ‘nightmare disorder’. I have not had an undisturbed night’s sleep since December 2002. The MoD has accepted this condition was caused by Lariam. I probably manage about one hour of continuous sleep. Some dreams involve profound threat to survival… there are some that are particularly unpleasant and I haven’t divulged the nature of those to anyone.
“Lariam is not a drug which is understood by many of the medical practitioners within the armed forces. I served my country for 30 years and I don’t like seeing my soldiers and the next generation being subjected to this sort of risk, which is quite unnecessary.
“The British army needs to act, and stop giving soldiers Lariam, before another army wife and their family suffer the catastrophic consequences we have.
“A few months ago I was talking to a civilian doctor who works for the Army. He confirmed the very casual approach to Lariam’s prescription with a comment to the effect of: ‘Oh, Lariam. I issue it to soldiers all the time.’”