From flying army helicopters in Afghanistan to financial management, Suffolk born-and-bred Henry Anderson has had an incredible career.

Raised in Framlingham, he studied engineering at Loughborough University before joining the British Army.

Following in his uncle’s and great uncle’s footsteps, Mr Anderson toured the world as an army pilot. During his 19-year military career, he operated in Iraq, Afghanistan and Estonia. 

For nearly a decade, he was based out of Wattisham, Suffolk.

“I joined the army to join the world but ended up moving about 45 minutes away from where I was born,” Mr Anderson joked. “But even though I was based in Suffolk for most of my military career, I spent most of my army life away.”

When working overseas, Mr Anderson relished the opportunities the army offered.

“I loved Afghanistan,” he said. “It was probably the most satisfying job I have ever done. Lots of saving colleagues’ lives, for example, and supporting the ambulance team.

“Iraq was much more fluid. Nowhere was safe; lots of roads were bombed; there were lots of rockets. But again, it was very rewarding though unbelievably hot.”

Having risen to the rank of Major in the armed forces, Mr Anderson then served in a number of planning and oversight roles. At the Permanent Joint Headquarters, he helped plan operations in Estonia, Lithuania, Kosovo, and Ukraine.

He said: “I would fly out to Islamabad on a Monday, for example, and spend a week there working with the counter-terrorism unit and working out what was working and what was not. Then I would fly back to London and try and develop further improvements.”

And as squadron commander at Wattisham, he then led a group of 170 people in Estonia, enacting the strategy he had developed at the Permanent Joint Headquarters to help deter a Russian incursion into Europe.

When he wasn’t abroad, the Major’s time was filled with training, planning, and strategy.

He said: “It was about doing as much training as you could. A huge amount of effort goes in to keeping the aircraft serviceable and into pilot training. There was endless training and tests!”

But Mr Anderson loved it and said none of this would have been possible without the incredible support he received from his wife.

“I was very well supported by my wife Becky, who I’ve been married to for 12 years,” he said. “I was very conscious though that being in the forces is quite a selfish act in terms of being away from your family, so I always worked really hard to make the most of it.

“I missed nine months of my daughter’s first year. She won’t remember but I will feel bad about that, but we agreed as a family it was the right thing to do.”

After 19 years in the army, Mr Anderson began looking for a new career, eventually becoming a financial adviser.

And the veteran is trying to help others leaving the army find their own dream second careers.

East Anglian Daily Times:

He said: “People in the forces don’t understand how important their skills are to employers. The military invests an incredible amount of time, money and expertise in training people in leadership and planning, that many employers can’t afford too. Many people in the military don’t realise how in demand those skills are.

“But equally, business often have a very stereotyped view of what veterans are like. They think you’re overly rigid, hierarchical, inflexible. They literally couldn’t be further from the truth.

“For me, I had lots of transferable skills which were perfect for financial planning. Whenever you planned a military mission, it was about understanding what you wanted to achieve at the end of it. That’s really similar to financial planning – when you meet clients, working out where they are today, how they got there, and where they want to be in the future. You’d be amazed at how similar the army planning process is to the financial planning one!”

Having joined Parallel Wealth Management in Ipswich in 2023, Mr Anderson has sat his exams and is hoping to become chartered by the end of the year.

He said: “I love helping people and I love the detail so this role was perfect for me!

“Everyone benefits from financial advice – there’s a massive advice gap. UK tax is really complicated. There’s nowhere near enough financial advisors to deliver the advice people need.”

East Anglian Daily Times:

And now the financial adviser is set to launch a podcast to help other veterans find their second careers and support them through this journey.

Mr Anderson said: "Veterans have incredible skills – they need to think laterally about what is going to motivate them after the forces. And it’s about making other companies realise the value of veterans."

A veteran, father of two and now a financial adviser, Henry Anderson has had an incredible career. And now he's hoping to help others leaving the armed forces do the same.