Brian Riordan went to the sea training school Indefatigable at the age of 15 and to sea in the Merchant Navy from January 1945 until he 'swallowed the anchor' in March 1947.
Civvy street was not to his taste and being from a family of regular army soldiers for four generations he decided to join the 'family' regiment, The Green Howards, commencing his service in August 1947. He was on the reserve for 15 days and joined the 30th Training Battalion in Elgin, Scotland, on 4 September 1947. He made unpaid Acting L/Cpl during training, which he quickly lost when posted to the Green Howards Holding Company in Catterick in January 1948.
In the meantime, he had been encouraged to volunteer for The Parachute Regiment by an old school friend Ron Heath, who was serving with 2 PARA as a National Serviceman. This he did, and in February 1948 went off to Aldershot and P Company.
He became an 'eight jump wonder' on 11 March 1948, and returned back to the Depot and Maida Barracks for posting to one of the battalions. He remained at the Depot until August having been selected as a member of the Southern Command Obstacle Course Team, which competed at the Royal Tournament held at Olympia.
After this outing he was sent to 1 PARA and reality in Lubeck, Germany, as part of the British Army of the Rhine. 1 PARA moved to Brunswick in late 1948 and back to Aldershot in November 1949. Between Lubeck and Aldershot he had become A Company Clerk and promoted to L/Cpl, then later to Corporal.
During the days in the UK he managed to pick up a back injury and promotion to Sergeant before he was 21.
In 1951 when the battalion prepared for the crisis in Persia (now Iran), which did not mature but resulted in the deployment of 1 PARA to the Suez Canal Zone, he was posted to 11 Bn (Mx) TA The Parachute Regiment, in Hounslow Middlesex, as a Permanent Staff Instructor (PSI) in Ealing.
In 1952 he completed the Assistant Parachute Jump Instructor (APJI) course at Abingdon and spent many a happy weekend dispatching the lads from a balloon on Wormwood Scrubs!!
In 1953 Brian attended the Royal Army Pay Corps (RAPC) Unit Pay Clerks' Training Course and transferred to the RAPC on completion in December 1953.
His next 12 years in the RAPC included service with the 2nd Bn The Royal Welsh Fusiliers from August 1954 to 1957 in Malaya. Brian returned to the UK and a posting to the 15th/19th Hussars in Omagh, Northern Ireland. This was a short assignment and in mid 1958 he was moved to Newcastle Regimental Pay Office. He served there until August 1960 when he was again on the move, this time to the British Army Pay Office at the British Embassy in Washington DC on a posting which lasted until September 1963.
Returning to the UK, Brian was promoted to Staff Sergeant and after an absence of 10 years he returned to the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment at Farnham, as the Senior NCO of the Unit Pay Office. During the next two years he served with 1 PARA in Cyprus and Bahrain. In May of 1965 he was Medivaced to the UK from Bahrain via Aden.
In September 1965 Brian took a free discharge having served 18 years and emigrated to the United States, working for many years training accountants in the Pacific Island Nations.
He retired in 1991 as the Auditor-General of the Marshall Islands.
Editor's Note: The World War II Medals listed in Brian Riordan's profile were awarded for service in the Merchant Navy. The remaining listed medals were awarded for Army service.