My First Reunion

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Much like the 'My First Kiss' or 'My First Accusation of Sexual Assault' you're never really sure if it's going to happen or not, but I spent Saturday at my first Regimental reunion since leaving back in 2012. It was for the Herrick 11 10 year reunion. I didn't make the Telic one due to other commitments, so I was determined to go to this.

When I was in, I always held the belief that when you left, you had to leave. Clean cut, start fresh, focus on your new life and prioritise. I didn't want to hang on, I didn't want to be that old crusty who tipped up at Association Dinners and ended up lagged in the corner (seen it, horrible) and I didn't want to let it get in the way of what I was trying to achieve outside the gate.

Since leaving, I've only spoken to two lads on a couple of occasions, one of whom I met up with at a conference where we tanked the hospitality. I had no contact details for anyone else. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this event. Would it be fully of animosity? Resentment? Anger?

Not a hint of it.

It was so gratifying to see that everyone had been successful upon leaving, everyone had decent jobs, some had done very well in the defence industry, commercial, industrial, etc, others just had good solid jobs that were rewarding and worthwhile.

We all immediately fell back in to our old and good ways; I got to say the words 'Mong' and 'Spas' without risking getting arrested or reported and everyone got on just as we did ten years ago.

For all of us there, it was as if we'd been apart for only a day, I couldn't believe how natural it felt being among everyone again and it was then that I understood the whole 'friends for life' thing. I'd always taken that to mean friends you kept in touch with, went out with, did that whole 'friend' thing with, but older and wiser I realise now that it means it doesn't matter if it's ten, twenty or forty years down the line before you next speak to them - you'll see each other, hug (Cav, we're touchy-feely like that) and promptly start talking utter bollocks and laughing about old cockups, bollockings and the adventures you had.

Night came, everyone was bunking in the barracks, well oiled by this point, and sure as shit, people started getting abused whilst passed out drunk. Ten rolls of toilet paper around one room, another lad with said empty toilet tube partially up his hoop, all good, clean, innocent fun. I had tears running down my face both from laughter and from the sadness of what I'd left behind.
The next day a few of us jumped the tube back to mainline stations and said our goodbyes and I'll freely admit I cried like a ******* child once out of sight, because even in the police where you and your partner are dealing with intense situations every single day, you'll never get the connections anywhere else that you get from military service.

There were a few other moments that'll stay with me forever from that night, but the biggest thing I've taken away and it's been said before, is don't wait for reunions or some other random event. If you've got a mates number, email, FB, whatever, and you've not spoken to him since Centurion was a rank not a tank, give the **** a call / message / email and prattle shit for twenty minutes. You might not realise it, but your random bezzer call might be the very thing that stops them from doing something stupid, or helps pull them back from a crisis. Or maybe just give them a chance to laugh and reminisce over some of the best days of their life.

So aye, I've got some phone numbers now, my Whatsapp list has grown slightly and there's now some casual back and forth banter as and when the urge takes us.

What a great ******* weekend. :)
 
Much like the 'My First Kiss' or 'My First Accusation of Sexual Assault' you're never really sure if it's going to happen or not, but I spent Saturday at my first Regimental reunion since leaving back in 2012. It was for the Herrick 11 10 year reunion. I didn't make the Telic one due to other commitments, so I was determined to go to this.

When I was in, I always held the belief that when you left, you had to leave. Clean cut, start fresh, focus on your new life and prioritise. I didn't want to hang on, I didn't want to be that old crusty who tipped up at Association Dinners and ended up lagged in the corner (seen it, horrible) and I didn't want to let it get in the way of what I was trying to achieve outside the gate.

Since leaving, I've only spoken to two lads on a couple of occasions, one of whom I met up with at a conference where we tanked the hospitality. I had no contact details for anyone else. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this event. Would it be fully of animosity? Resentment? Anger?

Not a hint of it.

It was so gratifying to see that everyone had been successful upon leaving, everyone had decent jobs, some had done very well in the defence industry, commercial, industrial, etc, others just had good solid jobs that were rewarding and worthwhile.

We all immediately fell back in to our old and good ways; I got to say the words 'Mong' and 'Spas' without risking getting arrested or reported and everyone got on just as we did ten years ago.

For all of us there, it was as if we'd been apart for only a day, I couldn't believe how natural it felt being among everyone again and it was then that I understood the whole 'friends for life' thing. I'd always taken that to mean friends you kept in touch with, went out with, did that whole 'friend' thing with, but older and wiser I realise now that it means it doesn't matter if it's ten, twenty or forty years down the line before you next speak to them - you'll see each other, hug (Cav, we're touchy-feely like that) and promptly start talking utter bollocks and laughing about old cockups, bollockings and the adventures you had.

Night came, everyone was bunking in the barracks, well oiled by this point, and sure as shit, people started getting abused whilst passed out drunk. Ten rolls of toilet paper around one room, another lad with said empty toilet tube partially up his hoop, all good, clean, innocent fun. I had tears running down my face both from laughter and from the sadness of what I'd left behind.
The next day a few of us jumped the tube back to mainline stations and said our goodbyes and I'll freely admit I cried like a ******* child once out of sight, because even in the police where you and your partner are dealing with intense situations every single day, you'll never get the connections anywhere else that you get from military service.

There were a few other moments that'll stay with me forever from that night, but the biggest thing I've taken away and it's been said before, is don't wait for reunions or some other random event. If you've got a mates number, email, FB, whatever, and you've not spoken to him since Centurion was a rank not a tank, give the **** a call / message / email and prattle shit for twenty minutes. You might not realise it, but your random bezzer call might be the very thing that stops them from doing something stupid, or helps pull them back from a crisis. Or maybe just give them a chance to laugh and reminisce over some of the best days of their life.

So aye, I've got some phone numbers now, my Whatsapp list has grown slightly and there's now some casual back and forth banter as and when the urge takes us.

What a great ******* weekend. :)
Very glad it turned out better than anticipated.
 
Ah. Reunions. In the many years between being out and my first reunion, I suppose I bumped into old mates about three or four times, usually having a couple of drinks. Eventually got a computer and found the Old Comrades site, and off to my first meeting. V interesting. As I say it was a many year gap, a lot of blokes were immediately recognisable, albeit less hair, more weight, some were recognisable by stance or gait, some by noise. It was a great weekend. As Mr Bane said, you just slipped into old ways, non PC, piss taking, beer swilling old ways. Can't drink to old levels, but one does ones best. Sadly, every year, at the dinner, the list of blokes we won't see again grows. And ours is a finite group, we amalgamated in the late 60's and the decision was made to stick to our regiment. So we're now in a last man standing situation. What the hell, bring it on! Vivat reunions!
 
Vivat reunions!
It's late so I'll give the short version...

A year after time expiry, I organised a reunion. Cocked up from the start - my unit was at Annual Camp on the selected weekend so only 6 of us attended. Promised to be good though, hadn't seen 4 of them for 15 years. One of the lads offered his house for us to doss down in so the format was a countryside pub crawl to be followed by reminiscences into the wee hours.

Before reaching the first pub, I was feeling decidedly unwell so settled for a pint of still orange. At the second pub, I was feeling worse, arms felt as though they were dropping off and couldn't face anything stronger than a lemonade. Threw in the towel and declared a need for A&E. Was rushed to Stoke Mandeville where the receptionist pushed me to the front of the queue. Half an hour later, I was blue-lighted to Harefield, balls shaved (needlessly, as it turned out but the nurse was very pretty) and a stent fitted within 30 minutes of arrival.

Missed the do but apparently it was so good that the lads suggested "Let's do the same every year". 'K off! I dont know that I'd survive another one.
 
Much like the 'My First Kiss' or 'My First Accusation of Sexual Assault' you're never really sure if it's going to happen or not, but I spent Saturday at my first Regimental reunion since leaving back in 2012. It was for the Herrick 11 10 year reunion. I didn't make the Telic one due to other commitments, so I was determined to go to this.

When I was in, I always held the belief that when you left, you had to leave. Clean cut, start fresh, focus on your new life and prioritise. I didn't want to hang on, I didn't want to be that old crusty who tipped up at Association Dinners and ended up lagged in the corner (seen it, horrible) and I didn't want to let it get in the way of what I was trying to achieve outside the gate.

Since leaving, I've only spoken to two lads on a couple of occasions, one of whom I met up with at a conference where we tanked the hospitality. I had no contact details for anyone else. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this event. Would it be fully of animosity? Resentment? Anger?

Not a hint of it.

It was so gratifying to see that everyone had been successful upon leaving, everyone had decent jobs, some had done very well in the defence industry, commercial, industrial, etc, others just had good solid jobs that were rewarding and worthwhile.

We all immediately fell back in to our old and good ways; I got to say the words 'Mong' and 'Spas' without risking getting arrested or reported and everyone got on just as we did ten years ago.

For all of us there, it was as if we'd been apart for only a day, I couldn't believe how natural it felt being among everyone again and it was then that I understood the whole 'friends for life' thing. I'd always taken that to mean friends you kept in touch with, went out with, did that whole 'friend' thing with, but older and wiser I realise now that it means it doesn't matter if it's ten, twenty or forty years down the line before you next speak to them - you'll see each other, hug (Cav, we're touchy-feely like that) and promptly start talking utter bollocks and laughing about old cockups, bollockings and the adventures you had.

Night came, everyone was bunking in the barracks, well oiled by this point, and sure as shit, people started getting abused whilst passed out drunk. Ten rolls of toilet paper around one room, another lad with said empty toilet tube partially up his hoop, all good, clean, innocent fun. I had tears running down my face both from laughter and from the sadness of what I'd left behind.
The next day a few of us jumped the tube back to mainline stations and said our goodbyes and I'll freely admit I cried like a ******* child once out of sight, because even in the police where you and your partner are dealing with intense situations every single day, you'll never get the connections anywhere else that you get from military service.

There were a few other moments that'll stay with me forever from that night, but the biggest thing I've taken away and it's been said before, is don't wait for reunions or some other random event. If you've got a mates number, email, FB, whatever, and you've not spoken to him since Centurion was a rank not a tank, give the **** a call / message / email and prattle shit for twenty minutes. You might not realise it, but your random bezzer call might be the very thing that stops them from doing something stupid, or helps pull them back from a crisis. Or maybe just give them a chance to laugh and reminisce over some of the best days of their life.

So aye, I've got some phone numbers now, my Whatsapp list has grown slightly and there's now some casual back and forth banter as and when the urge takes us.

What a great ******* weekend. :)
Glad you enjoyed it. If you do want to look out for your old mates, next time you go have a look for who hasn't turned up and ask around just in case he's the one living under the arches in a cardboard tent. Not everyone enjoys reunions and he may well be 'busy' somewhere sunny playing golf but sadly it's not always the case.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Much like the 'My First Kiss' or 'My First Accusation of Sexual Assault' you're never really sure if it's going to happen or not, but I spent Saturday at my first Regimental reunion since leaving back in 2012. It was for the Herrick 11 10 year reunion. I didn't make the Telic one due to other commitments, so I was determined to go to this.

When I was in, I always held the belief that when you left, you had to leave. Clean cut, start fresh, focus on your new life and prioritise. I didn't want to hang on, I didn't want to be that old crusty who tipped up at Association Dinners and ended up lagged in the corner (seen it, horrible) and I didn't want to let it get in the way of what I was trying to achieve outside the gate.

Since leaving, I've only spoken to two lads on a couple of occasions, one of whom I met up with at a conference where we tanked the hospitality. I had no contact details for anyone else. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this event. Would it be fully of animosity? Resentment? Anger?

Not a hint of it.

It was so gratifying to see that everyone had been successful upon leaving, everyone had decent jobs, some had done very well in the defence industry, commercial, industrial, etc, others just had good solid jobs that were rewarding and worthwhile.

We all immediately fell back in to our old and good ways; I got to say the words 'Mong' and 'Spas' without risking getting arrested or reported and everyone got on just as we did ten years ago.

For all of us there, it was as if we'd been apart for only a day, I couldn't believe how natural it felt being among everyone again and it was then that I understood the whole 'friends for life' thing. I'd always taken that to mean friends you kept in touch with, went out with, did that whole 'friend' thing with, but older and wiser I realise now that it means it doesn't matter if it's ten, twenty or forty years down the line before you next speak to them - you'll see each other, hug (Cav, we're touchy-feely like that) and promptly start talking utter bollocks and laughing about old cockups, bollockings and the adventures you had.

Night came, everyone was bunking in the barracks, well oiled by this point, and sure as shit, people started getting abused whilst passed out drunk. Ten rolls of toilet paper around one room, another lad with said empty toilet tube partially up his hoop, all good, clean, innocent fun. I had tears running down my face both from laughter and from the sadness of what I'd left behind.
The next day a few of us jumped the tube back to mainline stations and said our goodbyes and I'll freely admit I cried like a ******* child once out of sight, because even in the police where you and your partner are dealing with intense situations every single day, you'll never get the connections anywhere else that you get from military service.

There were a few other moments that'll stay with me forever from that night, but the biggest thing I've taken away and it's been said before, is don't wait for reunions or some other random event. If you've got a mates number, email, FB, whatever, and you've not spoken to him since Centurion was a rank not a tank, give the **** a call / message / email and prattle shit for twenty minutes. You might not realise it, but your random bezzer call might be the very thing that stops them from doing something stupid, or helps pull them back from a crisis. Or maybe just give them a chance to laugh and reminisce over some of the best days of their life.

So aye, I've got some phone numbers now, my Whatsapp list has grown slightly and there's now some casual back and forth banter as and when the urge takes us.

What a great ******* weekend. :)
Great post and spot on. There are some who try to take their rank into the Association, that lasts about five minutes before they are shot down! Those that accept this have a great time, those that can't often don't come back.

I too made the cut a straight one when I left but am so glad I came back to help out when I retired and was looking for something to fill my time!

One former RSM/QM asked me to call him by his first name rather than Sir - some people still have my deep respect and he is one I had/have no problem in calling sir. Others not so much! :)
 
Glad you had a good time. We also had a big get together at the weekend, we have it every couple of years, it was good to catch up with good friends and continue the banter that we have on faceache, where no prisoners are taken, but it is even better face to face.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I flounced from the cavalry for a proper job. RAPC were a bunch of civvies in uniform, both postings were troglodytic and I knew next to no-one anyway. So for about 17 years I never went back. Met my best man (John Mac RIP) through Arrse, by then GSM at Sennelager then Gütersloh. He invited me to a reunion at Swanton Morley. I only went because of him. Work got in his way. I was alone.

It could have been worse. Discovered that rank counted for nothing. The former RSO had become CO of LD. He was being fawned over by a couple of nig louies. He fúcked them off to talk to former LCpl Alien. Maybe it wasn't so bad.

Decade later, at Catterick for the Tercentenary, hosted by @The_Snail (thanks, pet. For clarity, hosted me, not the Light Dragoons), I met a lot more of my old buddies. For example Lugsy and Rickets. We started talking as if we were picking up the conversation from last night.

Reunions are okay in small doses, but I left all my buddies under a (personal) cloud in 1982, and the past is a foreign country. They do things differently there. My life now doesn't revolve around the regiment.
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
I was posted to a REME Fd Wksp and that was my final unit leaving in 94. In 2017, one of the bright sparks on their FB page decided to hold a reunion in Feb of the following year, now with all of the blokes being keen Rugbyists, Feb was the ideal time what with the 6 Nations being played at that time, this is now a 2 yearly thing and the only problem is that it is held in Wales everytime, which kind of breaks the Welsh hearts when as in 2018 England beat Wales and there were 3 proud Englishmen wearing colours in a Welsh Rugby club function hall, loving it. We all had tour rugby tops done with team colours underneath and as I said, 3 white tops amongst a sea of red tops and grieving Welshmen was a sight to see. Roll on 2020!
 
As a PS to my earlier post, the annual piss up is attended by a goodly percentage of REME and other assorted attached personnel, they must have been happy with us.
Good lads, one and all!
Except maybe one or two.
Looks like the wardrobe might join us now he's unemployed.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
My first one was the best, been out about 20 odd years by then and succumbed to the nagging of my old mucker to attend.
It was brilliant only cold shouldered by one ex mate and loads of banter.
Sadly they sold our regimental depot so we now meet in pubs followed by a saturday parade at the local stadium.
I've stopped going apart from the 50th anniversary of founding day as it's no longer the same. I catch up with a few at the cenotaph now and it's cheaper than hotels in Shrewsbury.
A shame really but another ten years and there will possibly be no reunion in Shrewsbury and we will be one of the few attending rifles reunions as founding regts.

Best put down to a former full screw "Ugly didnt you used to be slim?"
"Didnt you used to have hair?"
The best is often the first, others don't live up to the memories.
 
@MrBane with all the “bigging oneself up” that’s said to happen at these things...

Did you tell them you’re “a bit of a name” in the DIY industry?
;)
 
I’ve kept in touch with many via fb etc, never done the reunion thing though. I’ve a few old shipmates on fb and their whole social life appears to revolve around attend various association do’s. Endless phots of overweight blokes in ship’s association polo shirts mid song in a pub, with a backdrop of bored wives and other pub-goers.

Did the Remembrance Sunday thing with my lad for my first time last year. He asked to go. Think that’s the closest I’ll get to that sort of thing. Agree about the friends for life thing though- spoke on phone to someone I’d not seen or heard of for best part of fifteen years the other week, we carried on spinning dit’s and abusing each other where we left off all that time ago. I’m pretty confident that, if I ever found myself stranded in an obscure part of the country, and could ping someone within taxi distance, I’d have a bed for the night.
 
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I keep in touch via Facebook. I left way back in 1977 and only ever went to one minor reunion in east London about eight years ago. I’ve never been to any of the major yearly reunions at Winchester.

If I did go to one, it would probably be the North East Branch one which has become quite famous as a gathering for RGJ vets partly because they are so well attended.

The two major things that put me off reunions is that firstly because it’s so long ago since I left, there are so many people that I simply don’t remember and secondly, those names that I do remember will with age, have changed so much in physical appearance that I won’t recognise them anyway.

Imagine standing around while people with substantially better memories than me walk up and say “hello mate, it’s been a long time, how you doing me old mukka!”

To me, firstly unless I did actually remember them, it would be very embarrassing and secondly how do you respond?

You can either spend the occasion vigorously pressing the flesh and agreeing with them and using phrases like “yes mate, how are you after all this time” while not having a clue who they actually are or, do you be honest and tell them that you don’t recall them despite them very clearly remembering yourself.

So I have, perhaps for the wrong reasons, always given reunions a miss.

I do go to rememberance Sunday parades but only one of the local ones in my manor. I never used to go because I always took the view that I think of the friends I lost almost every day and the many millions who made the ultimate sacrifice are not far from my thoughts most of the time.

I did start to attend them around five or six years ago. I’m semi retired at the moment and am much less active with work than I used to be so now I take the time to put the blazer and beret on and go and pay my respects on the day.

I do also give support in more practical ways.

I’m always happy to help if someone’s in trouble. On a few few occasions, I’ve chipped in a couple of quid for an appeal on Facebook for someone who’s fallen on hard times through illness or just bad luck.

We recently said goodbye to one of my best mates from the mob who sadly died from cancer just over a month ago. He spent his final year living with us while receiving treatment. It was great fun having him around and a lot of the old squaddy humour was prevalent under our roof while he was here. That’s over now and what struck me since then has been just how much my whole family have missed him since he left us.

His family have said to me that they can’t thank us enough. My response was a very simple one. Don’t thank me because if I’d been in his shoes, he would have done exactly the same for me.

So, reunions, no at the moment but I may pluck up the courage one year to go to one. Funerals, definitely yes if I can get there and I’ll always help out in any way that I can if an old army mates in trouble.
 
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ugly

LE
Moderator
We have county reunions and they are usually well attended especially by those who cant make it to Shrewsbury. Our North East ones are popular and a handful of the old boys fo every bash and reunion going. They seem to make it a series of holidays and are always accompanied by their wives.
Some lads even go to the Winchester ones.
I did point out on the fb page that paying a tenner to March around a football club car park in a vain attempt to keep everyone going to Shrewsbury was daft. That since 1968 more LI were trained at winchester than Shrewsbury and that Shrewsbury closed long before everyone moved to catterick.
Went down like a lead balloon.
 
This Saturday 8 or 9 of us from basic '87 are meeting up. Most of us got together about 7 years ago and one of them I see regularly. We'll get pished talk bollox and have a laugh. We tried to make it a bigger affair but the rest of the people the organiser was able to track down weren't interested so fuck 'em
 
This Saturday 8 or 9 of us from basic '87 are meeting up. Most of us got together about 7 years ago and one of them I see regularly. We'll get pished talk bollox and have a laugh. We tried to make it a bigger affair but the rest of the people the organiser was able to track down weren't interested so fuck 'em
Capbadge?
 
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