A SOLDIER who served in a “horrendous war” has said the lack of recognition of the conflict he was involved is “appalling”.

Andrew Thomas, 47, grew up in Sible Hedingham before serving in the British Army for six years between 1993 and 1999.

A year after enlisting, he was deployed to Bosnia Herzegovina with the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, as part of the United Nations Protection Force’s peacekeeping mission in the Bosnian War, following a ceasefire between Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Muslim forces.

Andrew was involved in the mission for seven months, during which time he helped oversee the ceasefire, escorted convoys and provided humanitarian aid and food.

But the UN’s attempts to gain control and establish peace, however, sadly failed.

By the time the fighting ended in 1995, it had claimed the lives of more than 101,000 people and displaced more than two million – Europe’s most devastating conflict since the Second World War.

Twenty-five years after he served in Bosnia, Andrew is now appealing for more recognition for those who put their lives on the line to try to end the chaos and remember the thousands who were killed and left scarred by the harrowing events.

He said: “The anniversary coverage of the conflict has been nationally appalling.

“We know it was a failed mission, but this shouldn’t detract from the thousands who lost their lives and were injured, both physically and mentally, as a result of the horrendous war.

“The Bosnian War isn’t seen to be as glamorous as other wars, because peace-keeping can be seen as boring, but it is equally as important, if not more so.

“The lack of recognition is a bitter pill to swallow.”

Andrew, who lives with his wife and two children and works in Canary Wharf, also served in Northern Ireland in 1996 and Cyprus in 1998.

But he insists the Bosnian War was the worst conflict he was a part of.

During his time there, his battalion lost an officer who was killed by a landmine, which deeply affected and shocked Andrew and his colleagues.

But it was the sheer scale of destruction, the by-products of ethnic cleansing and the abandoned children that really hit Andrew hardest.

He said: “The fear factor was there before I went out, because I saw it all on the news and I knew that it didn’t look good at all.

“What some people witnessed was worse than others and for me it was an eye-opener and to this day it remains in my memories – there can be tearful moments.”

He added: “Seeing the devastation of buildings blown to bits and kids with nothing and begging for food had an effect on me.

“It was like something from the Dark Ages – it was truly horrible.”