Hi, I’m Jim Faulkner, and if you’ve read the first three parts of my story, you’ll be acquainted with where I’ve come from, but not so sure where I’m going.
In Part One of my adventures, I explained how as a seventeen-year-old I left my native Glasgow to join the British Army. I introduced you to the ups and downs of training.
In Part Two, I joined my first working unit in the south of England, which, after a few months moved to Dortmund, Germany. While there, I faced the pleasures and pitfalls of alcohol, tax-free cigarettes, ladies of ill-repute, and a thousand ways to get into trouble. In 1973 our unit was tasked with an Op Banner tour, and after extensive training, we hit the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the role of infantry soldiers.
In Part Three, I arrived in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. I enjoyed a variety of tasks, working on Land Rover detachments, Radio Room shift, and on airborne patrol as a Heli-Tele operator. On Rover Group I worked both in uniform and in civilian clothes, packing a pistol.
I survived my two years, to follow it with a three-month course in Catterick, before going on to a two-year posting in West Berlin. Again, I faced but lost the arguments with my demons - namely: alcohol, tobacco, and sex. What’s life for, if not for living?
Did I get into trouble in my first year? Yes, I did - quite a lot as you’ll remember, which included fighting, drinking to excess, and being the subject of a Court Martial. I was co-founder of a fund-raising club in aid of charity. After a year of incredible highs and lows, I went back to the UK on leave. I had a decision to make, and I needed time out.
There is no requirement for the reader to have been in the Armed Forces, although it would be beneficial to have read the earlier parts of my tale.
It is a human story – a coming-of-age ... A Life of Choice.
Sunday 5th November 2017
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