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Who am I?

I got stuck in a total time warp last night. My stay in hospital naturally got me thinking about my army days. A quick Google of AAC Harrogate (where I did my training) quickly led me to Facebook where I found loads of my old pals and, better still, loads of old photos.

I’ve caught up with a lot of people and when I went to bed, I could not get to sleep for thinking about it all.

I served for around four years, but of that time only two were spent in training; the rest was hospital and sick-leave time. Now at the time I was never what could be called army barmy, but I was good at what I did and I really loved the social side of serving in the forces. The friendships you make there are without doubt some of the closest and most quickly-formed that there are.

I never actually made it as far as the regulars. We did two years’ training as apprentices at the college in Harrogate and only then got to the regulars. Well, in a sense I suppose I did as I did graduate from the college, so for that brief time between grad and my medical discharge, I was technically a Signalman in the regulars. All my classmates went on to earn their first stripe straight away, simply because our trade got us that quick step up.

Looking through photos of one particular friend got me wondering and feeling a little sad of what might have been. I would have enjoyed that life.

On with the philosophising. After the army I went to school for two years and got what I needed to get into university. I got into one of the most prestigious universities in the country (it’s good enough for Prince William!) and, one way or another, graduated with an MA. Thence on to do a Masters Degree, which I also got and where I met Lorraine. And then working and living abroad for 10 years or so, which is kind of what I’d have done if I had remained in the army anyway.

I left school with next to no qualifications and it was the army that got the best out of me. It turned out that I was a pretty clever bloke and that is the one thing I can and will be forever grateful to the army for getting out of me. I only joined up because I didn’t think that there was anything better for me.

So I really shouldn’t be feeling sad for what might have been, rather I should be grateful for what was and accepting that all of what I did has made me who I am today. I was in the army, I suffered a terrible accident and got through it, I made friends, I went to uni, I met Lorraine, I worked abroad, I live on an island, I was crazy about BMX freestyle, all sorts of things that all go together and form my past.

One of my employees is now in the process of applying for the army, partly at my suggestion, and she seems really excited. I’m kind of reliving my experience through her at the moment. She’s hoping to be a veterinary technician and she’s so well suited for that.  Anyway, enough for now. Let me just say how great it is to have found so many old friends on Facebook and it’s good to be in touch again.