The difference between squaddie mates and civvie mates

TheresaMay

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
#1
For my 4,000th post under this name I thought I'd try something a little different.

I've been a bit quiet of late, having successfully negotiated the limbo of selling up and buying what could be my "forever home". Not quite the Ravers Towers, but I digress.

I was getting an early night last Friday as I was off to That London for a much deserved weekend break of drinking gin & lying to women way out of my league in the heart of Soho when, early hours of the morning I get an extra loud "pa-ding" on Messenger...

See I don't know why, but my little green icon thing tells the rest of the world I'm "online" at silly hours when in reality, the Zweviec & failed masturbation attempt has normally knocked me unconscious by about 1030.

Out of the blue, it was an ex-squaddie mate I'd not served with for 20 years, and not seen bar one brief meeting in town about ten years ago.

He'd just come home to an empty house. No warning. Apparently I was the only one "online" at that point, but I'm glad that A. He reached out and B. That we reconnected.

See I was explaining this to a civvie mate and she couldn't quite get her head around the fact we'd not spoken for 2 decades (more or less) and when I popped by to see him on Saturday to see how he was getting on, immediately started bezzering up and interspersed with casual "snakes-with-tits" one-liners, we'd re-engaged dit-lock and carried on normal jogging; tales of Jokers nightclub, "where are they now"... I could almost smell the Joop, stale alcohol and cigarettes of 1995 emanating around the room...

It was a sadly familiar tale though. He'd worked tirelessly to build a home, took on a fair amount of debt to make the house a home etc, she buggers off, wants half the results, none of the burden.

I'd suggested getting in touch with the RBL. Make a list of all the positive things that will come of it. Keep busy. Reconnect with your pals etc. It was nice to see in the space of six days, he'd booked the estate agents I'd recommended too. Plus I've offered my place up for the occasional visit / stay if the old boy needs a change of scenery having been tirelessly getting it shipshape over the last month and with any luck, two years from now he'll be roughly where I am. Floating through life, looking out of the window thinking "it could be worse".

Although give it a few years and I'll be evicting Ravers, getting sucked off by a different supermodel every day and eating fillet steak & Roquefort for brekkie. I digress again...

Where am I going with this?

Well when I told him I'd been through a similar situation just over two years ago (albeit very amicably by comparison), he said "and why the hell didn't you get in touch?"

Why the hell indeed. I meet up with a load of other former squaddies every 6 months or so for a curry, whoever has settled here the last 20 years or so, whoever is available. We always have a great time, promise to keep in touch but we never do. We simply carry on the same convo that started 6 months, a year, 20 years ago. But there's always a bed spare for a mate, and one hopes the same for me should life ever kick me in the balls so hard I've literally no idea where to turn.

Give your muckers a ring. They'll think you're a raging homo for doing so but having lost a few good mates recently who had everything to live for and were only in their 40s, there won't be too many opportunities to do so in the future.

We used to be invincible. But then we were squaddies... And that's the difference.
 
Last edited:

Purple_Flash

ADC
Moderator
#2
For my 4,000th post under this name I thought I'd try something a little different.

I've been a bit quiet of late, having successfully negotiated the limbo of selling up and buying what could be my "forever home". Not quite the Ravers Towers, but I digress.

I was getting an early night last Friday as I was off to That London for a much deserved weekend break of drinking gin & lying to women way out of my league in the heart of Soho when, early hours of the morning I get an extra loud "pa-ding" on Messenger...

See I don't know why, but my little green icon thing tells the rest of the world I'm "online" at silly hours when in reality, the Zweviec & failed masturbation attempt has normally knocked me unconscious by about 1030).

Out of the blue, it was an ex-squaddie mate I'd not served with for 20 years, and not seen bar one brief meeting in town about ten years ago.

He'd just come home to an empty house. No warning. Apparently I was the only one "online" at that point, but I'm glad that A. He reached out and B. That we reconnected.

See I was explaining this to a civvie mate and she couldn't quite get her head around the fact we'd not spoken for 2 decades (more or less) and when I popped by to see him on Saturday to see how he was getting on, immediately started bezzering up and interspersed with casual "snakes-with-tits" one-liners, we'd re-engaged dit-lock and carried on normal jogging; tales of Jokers nightclub, "where are they now"... I could almost smell the Joop, stale alcohol and cigarettes of 1995 emanating around the room...

It was a sadly familiar tale though. He'd worked tirelessly to build a home, took on a fair amount of debt to make the house a home etc, she buggers off, wants half the results, none of the burden.

I'd suggested getting in touch with the RBL. Make a list of all the positive things that will come of it. Keep busy. Reconnect with your pals etc. It was nice to see in the space of six days, he'd booked the estate agents I'd recommended too. Plus I've offered my place up for the occasional visit / stay if the old boy needs a change of scenery having been tirelessly getting it shipshape over the last month and with any luck, two years from now he'll be roughly where I am. Floating through life, looking out of the window thinking "it could be worse".

Although give it a few years and I'll be evicting Ravers, getting sucked off by a different supermodel every day and eating fillet steak & Roquefort for brekkie. I digress again...

Where am I going with this?

Well when I told him I'd been through a similar situation just over two years ago (albeit very amicably by comparison), he said "and why the hell didn't you get in touch?"

Why the hell indeed. I meet up with a load of other former squaddies every 6 months or so for a curry, whoever has settled here the last 20 years or so, whoever is available. We always have a great time, promise to keep in touch but we never do. We simply carry on the same convo that started 6 months, a year, 20 years ago. But there's always a bed spare for a mate, and one hopes the same for me should life ever kick me in the balls so hard I've literally no idea where to turn.

Give your muckers a ring. They'll think you're a raging homo for doing so but having lost a few good mates recently who had everything to live for and we're only in their 40s, there won't be too many opportunities to do so in the future.

We used to be invincible. But then we were squaddies... And that's the difference.
So true. Friendship in the army is so different to any other walk of life. And those who leave lose that network and can become vulnerable very quickly when life throws a wobbly.

Which is one of the great things about this site for those who have served, it extends the support of that network across the world for those willing to engage.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
For various reasons, I stayed off the scene for well over 20 years, reconnecting only a few years back.

The time in between didn’t make any difference - conversations picked up like yesterday. The result has been people who’ve been there when I’ve neeeded support, and vice versa.

I don’t think it’s uniquely a squaddie thing, though. The same has happened with certain friends from school and elsewhere. The thing is, we connect with those we have a connection with. For squaddies, that’s the army. I think it gives a certain, perhaps different set of loyalties but we’re merely unusual, not unique.
 
#4
The difference between squaddie mates and civvie mates?

About 2 stone.
And not in favour of my squaddie mates
 
#5
So true. Friendship in the army is so different to any other walk of life. And those who leave lose that network and can become vulnerable very quickly when life throws a wobbly.

Which is one of the great things about this site for those who have served, it extends the support of that network across the world for those willing to engage.
So true; and it's a shame that there are those (and we all know one) who won't engage, preferring to leave it all behind them.


For various reasons, I stayed off the scene for well over 20 years, reconnecting only a few years back.

The time in between didn’t make any difference - conversations picked up like yesterday. The result has been people who’ve been there when I’ve neeeded support, and vice versa.

I don’t think it’s uniquely a squaddie thing, though. The same has happened with certain friends from school and elsewhere. The thing is, we connect with those we have a connection with. For squaddies, that’s the army. I think it gives a certain, perhaps different set of loyalties but we’re merely unusual, not unique.
Yup; for some it's university, or apprenticeship, or their 'learning experience'. For those who have served in the military, that is their common bond. I'm still in touch with my best friend from school (difficult though that is, as the industrial amounts of cannabis he smokes renders most conversations slightly one-sided....!), friends from when I joined up in 1991, exchange tour, numerous other roles & postings etc.

In the excellent book "Legionnaire", the author Simon Murray describes his time on the FFL Para JNCO course as ".......there is nothing that fosters friendship like the sharing of hard times....." or words to that effect. This, I think, is true to an extent, and is what binds us together as people who've served in whatever capacity.
 
#6
Far too long ago to be sensible about I became a tad obsessed with climbing - started doing the bimbly things then progressed to foreign parts, it was on one of these Tax Payer Funded Holidays that I met up with a bloke who I rather disliked but was a far better mixed route climber than me. To telescope matters somewhat over the next five years we ended up climbing together or jointly providing the technical expertise for a lot of 'expeds worldwide.

Usual things happened - postings, courses, the odd little conflict here and there and as a matter of course lost touch with one another.

Last month I'd arranged to meet my RFD de jour to collect a few bits and as I was running late 'phoned ahead with my apologies. Turned up, did the 'biz and was on my way out when I noticed amongst the other customers a figure who was vaguely familiar - but though nothing of it as frankly, these days, I am getting a tad absinthe minded.

Made to leave the premises and on the way out the vaguely familiar figure said something like " Excuse me, but I rather think I know you, you're XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX".
To which I replied " If you think I owe you money then certainly not."
He then replied, " I'm XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX.

How F********** mad is that, not seen the bloke for nearly thirty years, he and his family live less than 5 miles from Meaty Towers and we shoot at the same Range but on different days.

Arranged for a casual meet up to exchange histories which had very many shared experiences and toddled off musing at the randomness of life or somesuch

Delightful as it was to meet up again the context of our friendship has changed and, I suppose, the motivation for it and I am reminded of the oldy but goody:

" When you leave a Regiment all debts and friendships are cancelled".
 
#7
STABS like me seem to think we have a kindred connection to ex-regs, paras, etc for the enduring hardships that reservist commitment offer...

Any excuse to share a beer
 
#8
STABS like me seem to think we have a kindred connection to ex-regs, paras, etc for the enduring hardships that reservist commitment offer...

Any excuse to share a beer
I'm still in touch with lads I was in 3 RRW with. One joined the air force, one became a Sapper, a few of us just had shit jobs. But we ALL remember Sennybridge in November.
 

TheresaMay

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
#11
The difference between squaddie mates and civvie mates

Usually about 6 pints!

Civvy lightweights!
And when your mate invites you over to stay with his family around Xmas, all sat round watching Shrek 2 and get bollocked by his mum for debating which version of Princess Fiona would put out more.
 
#14
#16
#18
That's spooky! It's like you read my mind.
In fairness, those who have served probably have a fair idea of the conditions prevalent there. Of course that precludes many site members! Although I do remember a gloriously sunny spell there once. But only once.
 
#19
#20
In fairness, those who have served probably have a fair idea of the conditions prevalent there. Of course that precludes many site members! Although I do remember a gloriously sunny spell there once. But only once.
You know the rule..........photo or it never happened.
 

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