I joined the Army cadets, 145 PARA ACF in New Addington (Surrey), in about 1972 and left having achieved the rank of L/Cpl.
I then joined 2 Coy 10 PARA (TAVR) in early 1976, leaving in order to join the regular Army in October 1976 and went on to serve 12 years, following Depot PARA (433 Platoon, Lt McFall, Sgt Mick Wright, Cpl Atkinson).
Most of my time was served with 3 PARA, starting in a rifle section (Section Commander Cpl K McCarthy KIA Mount Longdon 1982). As 'Joe Crow' you always got a bit of the heavy kit and I got the 84mm 'Charlie G', until the radio operator fell on his head during a night tank stalk in Germany, then I got promoted to radio operator; the radio kit was heavier than the 84!
As I showed I could use it I ended up on a signals course, and was eventually taken into the Signal Platoon, where I stayed for the remainder of my service. I completed various signals and infantry courses (Battalion tactics cadre with Cpl McKay, later Sgt VC, KIA Mount Longdon 1982) ending up as Corporal (Local Sergeant on SNCO course).
I served in Germany, 2 tours of Northern Ireland (Op Banner: 1978, 1980-81), Canada, Norway, Op Corporate (Falklands), USA (1982, 1986), Belize in 1984 (where I got malaria), Cyprus 1986 (UN Tour) and 1987.
In the Falklands I commanded a Rebroad cast station as a Private in charge of two L/Cpls from the Royal Signals for 11 days and survived two Blue on Blue contacts, before joining A Coy Sigs Det for the Battle of Mount Longdon, my Detachment Commander Cpl S Hope was KIA, resulting in my promotion to L/Cpl.by Len Baines