19YO Man in UK So Influenced by Games & Online Content, He Went to Fight for Ukraine Despite Having No Military Experience


Ever since the introduction of video games, there has always been ongoing debates about whether the violence and gore in the game negatively impacts the impressionable children.

Of course, it’s ridiculous to assume the gamers are incapable of separating the virtual from reality, and they should be quite aware that guns hooting using a mouse or console doesn’t translate into having accurate shooting skills in real life, but well…

This 19-year-old teenager might have been too caught up in the entire war narrative that he decided to sign up to fight the Russians for Ukraine, despite having zero combat military experience.

It Only Took 36 Hours

The story was first published by ITV Granada, who personally interviewed the family even though they have kept their faces strictly anonymous.

According to the family, Jamie was just a normal 19-year-old boy who loved playing Call of Duty (a popular first-person shooter franchise), who had a job at a local Subway outlet.

That was mostly what his life revolved around—games, job, and family—until the news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine started to bleed into the daily newsfeed.

Jamie became obsessed with the news surrounding Ukraine: he would watch televised speeches from United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who said that she would “back them going over there”.

He would also consume YouTube videos of the happenings in Ukraine, what was happening at the relief centres, and the videos from people who have already gone over.

The extent of his research was only made known to his family after Jamie disappeared and decided to head over to Ukraine to help in the conflict as well.

All Jamie had to do was contact a London-based organisation, writing: “Hello, I am here to sign up to help ukrain fight off Russia I was told to email you to get more information about it.

“Kind regards: Jamie.”

Image: itv.com

Shortly thereafter, they thanked him for his support and told him to fill out a form, adding a note that he should only book tickets if he had military/combat or medical, rescue, fire fighting or mechanical experience.

Jamie was none of the above.

He couldn’t even speak Polish or Ukrainian, he had never gone outside the country even with his parents, and the only “military experience” he had was the one year of Army Cadets he attended.

Alas, that did not stop Jamie from booking a one-way flight ticket to Warsaw, Poland for £45, on a child’s passport.

When he touched down in Poland on 5 March, he met the others before crossing the borders on the morning of Monday, 7 March.


The family was completely taken aback by the turn of events, and how quickly it had happened, which made them incredibly worried about the safety of their son.

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Why Had It Been So Easy?

From Jamie’s mother’s account, she stated that there was no vetting process when Jamie applied.

Image: itv.com

He was simply accepted and given directions on where to meet others like him once he made it to Poland.

She adds incredulously, “If you have military experience it’s fine to go, but not someone who hasn’t got military experience, not someone who has not been vetted.

“They’ve not had the health checks mentally and physically, they’ve not had the background checks, medical records, etcetera, he’s had none of that done, so for this, for him to be able to go over there is ridiculous.”


His uncle gives his two cents about the lack of a vetting process as well, noting the spelling and grammar errors that were littered through his nephew’s shortly worded e-mail.

With questionable quality like that, you would think it would be some kind of alarm bell that would tell the organisation that this individual probably isn’t fit to survive in a combat zone.

The organisation didn’t even ask for scans of official papers like resumes, certificates, enlistment letter confirmations; absolutely nothing.

Worst still, is how unprepared Jamie himself is.

His family said that he didn’t take anything with him.

After Jamie’s unceremonious disappearance, the family had tried to locate him via geo-tracking, only to find him near the borders of Lviv.


The site promptly stopped working after he entered Ukraine.

The next time the family managed to get in contact with Jamie—which was 24 long and worrisome hours later—they got a message that wrote that he had signed a two-year contract and he had just received his army gear.

Image: itv.com

Jamie had been inaugurated so easily, even though he wasn’t suited to be there.

The Push Towards Going to Ukraine

The biggest problem, Jamie’s mother feels, is the way that the media has portrayed the Ukrainian conflict.

Judging from her son’s internet history alone, she sees the British media showing that helping Ukraine is the good and right thing to do.


For instance, Boris Johnson has continuously supplied Kyiv with defensive equipment and there have been memes circulating about the light anti-tank weapons he has recently sent over; the videos that tend to go viral on Tiktok regarding the war are more light-hearted like a tractor towing away a military tank as opposed to the actual gruesomeness of the war.

It doesn’t help matters that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has vocalised her support on public television towards any individual who is willing to fight for Ukraine, which runs contrary to the messages the other MPs put out. 

Jamie’s mother adds, “In a way, it’s being promoted. It’s showing that it’s a good thing to go over and help them.”

Despite the Secretary of Transport, Grant Shapps, stating that it’s illegal for Britons to join the fighting in Ukraine, especially since they might worsen the situation, it hasn’t proved to be a huge deterrence since Britons have arrived in Ukraine by the hundreds.

Additionally, a spokesperson from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development said that they advise that all Britons should not go into the conflict zones to engage in unlawful activity, and that they will probably be investigated upon their return to the UK.

All in all, Jamie’s family feels that the teen went with good intentions, but he doesn’t fully recognise the far-reaching consequences of his actions on himself and his family.

As Jamie’s uncle aptly puts it, “Jamie has that caring side of him, but there’s also that side where he doesn’t fully understand the repercussions of shooting a weapon, and what that can do to a child’s mind.”

Jamie isn’t exactly misguided, merely influenced and spurred by the narrative that the media has painted.


Volunteerism is a good thing, but Jamie isn’t the right lad for the job.

Thus, while Jamie is away fighting in Ukraine, his family is constantly waiting for text message confirmation from him every day; a simple sign that that their dear boy is safe and okay.

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Featured Image: ITV Granada