*Content Warning – death*
“I heard a click, then another no more than 6 meters away. I was horrified to see a man aiming a shotgun at me.” The clicking noise was the trigger being pulled twice, the gun misfired. Later forensic tests revealed there was nothing wrong with the gun.
This incident was only one of many Bob Marmion experienced during his 15 year career in the Victoria Police Force including being bashed, holding a dying man covered in blood who was pleading for help, experiencing the disgusting filth of neglected children eating maggots with their food, being covered in the remains of a decaying body as he carried it downstairs and people attempting suicide by cop.
These incidents are part of the job, even today, however there was no debriefing, counselling or time off to recover in the 80s. If he displayed any weakness or decided to take a “sickie” there was always the fear that he would be considered weak and he should “suck it up”, Thankfully, there are now psychiatric services and counselling available after such events but not when Bob was in “the job”.
The numerous traumatic incidents eventually took its toll on Bob’s health, he shut down physically and mentally, it was horrendous. He was suffering severe asthma, experienced anxiety, depression, gained 60 kgs, became suicidal and had many other issues which forced his retirement as medically unfit in 1990. There was no send off, handshake or pat on the back, he was on his own. It wasn’t until 2013 that he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Incredibly, the psychiatrists in the 80s and 90s failed to diagnose what was staring them in the face.
He struggled for a long time trying to make sense out of the psychological damage, he was a single parent with responsibilities and he needed to rebuild his life. Looking up from the abyss he enrolled in the LaTrobe University as a mature age student. Slowly he began to relish the constancy that study gave to his life, here was a goal to work towards.
After years he achieved a PhD in Victorian history at the University of Melbourne, became a teacher of maths and history and was appointed as the Fort Queenscliff Historian. He’s published books including the successful “The Price We Pay” (recommended) and is an active Peer Support Officer with Police Veterans Victoria supporting veterans in many ways. He is also a very popular guest speaker at many events representing PVV.
Even today, certain smells or events may trigger an anxiety attack and he’s not good in crowds but Bob continues to help others which is why he joined the Police in the first place. We shake your hand Bob and thank you for a job well done over many years working as some of the most difficult postings in Victoria as a uniform Constable and Detective and good luck with your retirement.
We’d also like to mention that Bob is a fantastic supporter of PVV through his involvement with our Speakers Bureau. Our Speakers assist Police Veterans Victoria by sharing their story to groups in the community. We receive requests from all types of groups and organisations and match them with appropriate Speakers to share their story. By doing so, our Speakers help raise awareness and reduce stigma of post traumatic stress, anxiety and depression.
If you’re interested in becoming a speaker like Bob, click here: https://policeveteransvic.org.au/speakers-bureau/