Prior to Sandhurst, I served in the Parachute Regiment joining the RMAS with the dizzy rank of LCpl. After commissioning, I joined 2 PARA at the end of a parachute, by jumping into Northern Greece. I was not impressed having been on commissioning leave in Sicily, recalled, and flogging back to the UK, followed by a fly out to Malta from where we mounted into Greece. Thanks to having passed P Company as a recruit, and kept in date for parachuting through the Edward Bear Club, I had no excuse.
From then until early 1966 I served in 2 PARA as Platoon Commander and Intelligence Officer on operations in the Gulf, Aden, Malaysia and Borneo. I was then posted to train recruits at Depot PARA in Aldershot before being promoted to Acting Captain, being posted to our Battle School at Brecon to form what became the Parachute Regiment Recruit Wing for basic and advanced battle training courses. I married Judy in December 1966, and then spent the first three months “separated’ as she finished her Guy’s Hospital Badge Staff Nurse mandatory period in London. After a posting to Scotland as Adjutant 15 PARA, I then had a stint in 3 PARA from 1970 to 1973 as a Company Commander including a UNFICYP tour before attending the Long Armour and Infantry Course at the RAC Centre at Bovington…a sensible place to send Parachute Regiment officers, particularly one who had been bent permanently through a parachuting accident in the Sudan! Another period in 3 PARA covering several Northern Ireland tours before a weapons staff posting beckoned in London, then back to Aldershot as 2lC Depot PARA. A Technical Intelligence posting to Canberra spanning the Falklands War was followed by a return to Brecon as the Chief Instructor of the School of Infantry NCO’s Tactics Wing. In 1986 I was posted to the Falklands on a short six-month tour as the SO1 Ops/Plans at HQ BFFI. After promotion to Lt Col, I filled in with a project from RHQ PARA in Aldershot before returning to Scotland to command 15 PARA. I ended my service in 1990 as the Comdt HQI/Deputy Garrison Commander in Lisburn.
After retiring, Judy and I decided to return to our native Yorkshire. She had qualified as a Health Visitor while the children were quite young, and was a peripatetic camp follower picking up jobs wherever we were posted. With elderly parents in the Hull area we decided to be close, but not too close, and ended up in the Yorkshire Wolds in a delightful village in North Yorkshire. As a civilian I worked from home as a small-business consultant because there are many SME’s in Yorkshire, a job which I did for 15 years before retiring again, when Judy did the same from the NHS.
Over this period, I helped to form the Airborne Network (ABN) (www.abnetwork.org) with a chum, and stayed with it as `Colonel Snippets’ until March 2022. Some of you will know of the existence of such a beast! I still run my specialised `Africa Group’ within the Airborne Network which keeps me out of trouble with two newsletters per week, as well as contributing to the ABN.
Judy and I have two children, Samantha and Alasdair and four grandchildren, Louisa, Cameron, Grace and James. Sadly, the family live in the Isle of Wight and East Devon, so it is getting to be a bit of an adventure to drive that distance in one fell-swoop, Age is a terrible thing and you have to be tough to handle it!
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