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The difference between squaddie mates and civvie mates


Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
About a month ago was one of those months for me. I've kept resolutely out of the circle since I left - clean cut and all otherwise it's too painful.

Was in London for a conference, shouted up an old buddy who changed his shift at his fire station. He came to the conference, got him VIP and we got wrecked. Not seen or spoke to him since 2009 in Afghan.

We had a great night. Massive bezzering, ended up in a nice restaurant too drunk to remember where, telling the staff to 'bring us all your eats' and telling a homeless guy to **** off.

Then two days later back home, phone goes and it's another mate from back then who phoned because he though, 'Why the **** not?'. Get updates on another mate who's had a horrible accident training and now making plans to surprise visit him at HC.

Funny how these things happen, but yes, it was like we'd just been away on a course and was catching up again.
I've got an old mate from when I was in the mob back in the seventies who has kept in touch over the years. He's now living in the Czech Republic just over the border from Germany. He's been unwell with stomach pains for a few weeks. He's coming back arriving tomorrow when he will stay at my place in West London for the night and then I'm driving him up to Oxford for an afternoon appointment at his quacks.

He's not too bad and hopefully it's nothing serious so he's ok to get on a coach and travel back but I'd have driven to the Czech Republic and brought him back if it was necessary.

Barring family, there aren't many people I'd do that for.


I don't think this is a civvy vs squaddie matter. For some people the connection doesn't evaporate with time, others sadly feel that just because you haven't kept in regular touch the friendship is falling down for lack of repairs. Silver rusts; gold doesn't.
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.

That was at the end of April-early May 1982.

5th Inf Bde depoyed to Sennybrisge to train for operations in a South Atlantic winter. Sennybriodge experienced a heat wave with glorious sunshine. There were several grass fires due to the usually waterlogged ground being so dry...

I do have pictures somewhere but I can't be arrsed to scan them :)

Details can be found here:

The difference between Squaddie mates and Civvie mates?


  • Squaddies don't hide under the table when a car backfires outside the pub.

  • Squaddies don't bore on for hours in the pub about how Iraq was all about the oil and Afghanistan was all about the opium (they both hate Tony Blair though).

  • Squaddies turn up on time without any lame excuses of getting mugged or carjacked or stabbed or murdered (they might have been, but they still turn up on time without a bone excuse).

  • Your squaddie mates probably won't have an account on arrse. Your civvie mates probably will.

  • Squaddies will help you bury a body, civvies will have a previously arranged luncheon date. Hell, your squaddie mates will help you 'dispatch' the body if they're really good friends. If your really good friend is wolvoexpunk this maytake some time before he's finished slowly torturing the ****** half to death, then bringing him back to life and torturing him a bit more. You could be there a while.

  • Your squaddie mates will know what colour the boat house was.

  • When there's a fight in the pub and you get arrested, your squaddie mates won't shout loudly at the coppers arresting you "**** you Dad! You can't tell me what to do!"

  • When you get pulled over for speeding on your way home from the pub, your squaddie mate's first words after rolling down the window won't be "are you arresting me, Officer?"

  • Your squaddie mates won't want to drink with your civvie mates! (Unless your civvie mates are paying).


  • Your civvie mates will want to drink with your squaddie mates! (And they won't mind paying).

  • Your civvie mates don't look at you awkwardly and change the conversation every time you crack open a packet of McVities Digestives. Especially if it's just the two of you.

  • Your civvie mates will have at least some kind of taste or standards in the opposite sex. Your squaddie pals would **** a frog if it stopped hopping long enough. Better chance of getting laid at least with your squaddie pals if that is your aim. Quantitty not quality!

  • Civvies will think you're a bit of a gayer if you turn up to the pub in a frock wearing pink lipstick, Your RM mates will just think it's standard dress code and probably be wearing a little number themselves.

  • Your civvie mates will always enter the pub by the front door. Your 'Maroon Machine' pals, however, will infiltrate via the balcony and exfiltrate via the smashed in back doors, and no one will even know they were ever there. No one talks about 'them'. No one that 'knows' anyway.

  • Your civvie mates from the North East will just think you're going for a quick cigarette when you tell them you're going outside for a tab (where as in fact you will be back in precisely 4 hours at the exact same location with full kit on gopping wet and sorely in need of a bath). If you tell them you are going for a yomp they will just think you're being rude. The throbbers.

  • Your civvie mates will have no idea at all what your experience in the army was like. Coz they weren't there, man!

  • When your civvie mates hear you talk about THAT rifle with your squaddie mates,they will think you are referring to the specific singular, where as anyone who 'knows' will know you are talking in omniscient and universal terms. They also won't understand why a tear drops from your steely eye either.

  • Your civvie mates won't be able to beat up your squaddie mates, but they could probably outrun them (it's the fear if nothing else).
I have not got any Civvy mates, i have nothing in common with them.
You were RAF you wouldn't know what a mate was, so no change there. I stand by for my last 20 posts getting a SBCA from you

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