Friday, 31 August 2007

In the beginning...

This year (2007) is the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War. I was 18 at the time and served with 2nd Battalion Scots Guards on Tumbledown and this year I am going back down to the Falklands for the first time since the war. I am amazed actually that my name was drawn from the hat and I dont think that it has quite sunk in yet. I will attempt over the coming months to record some of my feelings about the events that happened all those years ago and the events that will unfold later this year.

First though lets go back to some grass roots and take a look at some of the people who effected me so much all those years ago.

I joined the Army at 16 and in August 1979 reported for duty at the Royal Army Pay Corp Apprentice College in Worthy Down, Winchester, Hants. The first person I met on the train was a lad called Kenny Caraher and the first person in uniform to shout at me and tell me to hurry the f*ck up was Tom Scrimgeour. In seems ironic that both these guys were destined to serve with 3 and 2 para only a couple of years later. Our fates were intetwined even then.

Kenny and Tom recently attended a ceremony held at Worthy Down to mark the 25th anniversary. They were kind enough to enclose a photograph.

Though I have spoken to both of them we havent actually met face to face since I left training in 1981. It would be great to one day say hello again. Here is a photo taken in about 1980.

I am the tall chap at the back on the right. Kenny is in front row, 3rd from left. There are a heck of a lot of lads there I had some great (and not so great) times with. I really should make an effort to go to a reunion, I think one is planned for next year.

While Kenny and Tom were at the Worthy Down reunion I was up in London attending the Falklands25 parade organised by SAMA82. I was really fortunate to meet up with another person I did training with called Paul Ackerman. Was just great to catch up with Paul and amazing to realise that he had gone with the Welsh Guards and survived the bombing of the Sir Galahad.

Paul is the chap in the front row on the far left.

Kenny is in the front row 4th from the right, I am hidden somewhere in the back row.

Of course I didn't just bump into Paul, it was all part of a carefully arranged meet up in a pub opposite the Imperial War Museum the day before. Paul bought his wife, mother and father while I bought Susie, Fredrik as well as another old army friend from the Scots Guards Steve Fordham and 2 of the lads who used to work with me Andy and Jimi.

After we visited the Falklands exhibition we sampled some of the local beer and had a bite to eat.

It was great to talk. Paul was the first veteran I have met in 25 years so it was quite a day.

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