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Ventress

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Tends to ramble on and on and on and on and on............. oh no, here he goes....

An ex-Medic, bit like an ex-parrot except I am not dead. Well I wasn't the last time I looked. I am, as my username implies a Police Officer and have a damn good time.

24 years man and boy in the Glorious Corps and now I moderate the RAMC board after finding the previous Moderator had let it go to rack and ruin by neglect and too much brandy sours!

I hope you find the board of use, as there are many posters who work in the higher echelons of power and some who do not!

I have travelled extensivley from Aldershot to Iraq and Bosnia, oh and Pirbright.

My career started as an Apprentice at Keogh Bks, late 1979, which is now a fast food centre and occaisional Trg Centre. Here I learnt the ways of the wild, bulling, bumpering and the 3 Hills. Having attained all my educational requirements at school I only had 13 months and missed out on the 'Old Boy' status which allowed me to set fire to boys a year younger than me. I then went to CMH and QEMH for 4 months and found out being a hospital wallah wasnt for me. This cost me a posting to Hong Kong, I still have the posting order to remind me what a buffoon I was! The next stop in 1981 was the RAMC specially formed Penal Battalion at Mons Bks Aldershot, in the form of 6 Field Force Field Ambulance (6FFFA). The Unit TRF had the yellow on blue pegasus less rider and this faded to a 'warry' pale colour when washed the onec, it then disappered after two washes! When I arrived at a 1950 Guard Room I was asked what I had done to do MCTC time. Most soldiers posted into Mons where ex-MCTC. We had a smattering of ex-Legionnaires and other mad men. I was shown Block 36 and a bed space, which contained a bed, no locker and a white top box with no lid. The Ord Cpl introduced to a huge Mancunian who had 3 lockers and pointed to a locker and said thats your locker. I lived out of a suitcase for several months. 6FFFA was made up of the remains of 23 Para Fd Amb and had the AMF/L med support in the way of a section and RAP. I ended up in the AMF/L section and had many a great tour of Norway, Turkey, Southern Germany and Denmark. The section was attached to the AMF Infantry Bn and in my time was 1PWO and 1PARA, I just missed RRF taking over. The section was made up of 10 lads who would live side by side for 3 months of the year in a 10 man tent in -30 deg temp and then get back to UK and live in the'AMFL' block! We were close. 1982 saw the Falklands invaded by the Argentinians and 5 Inf Bde was mobilized and we were attached to 1 Welsh Guards and sent to Sennybridge for pre-deployemnt training. On EX Brecon eagle (Or something like that). On our return it was thought by powers that be that the Russians might try something whilst the rest of the British Army was away so all AMF/L units were deployed to the flanks of NATO. The section was broken up and reformed from our Dressing Station and I ended up in Baumholder West Germany for a month with a Brummie named Daz. We missed out on the Falklands and returned to find the section attached to the Welsh Guards had had two soldiers, namely LCpl Scouse Farrell and Pte Kenny Preston, KIA on RFA Galahad and the Unit had lost it's Second in Command Major Roger Nutbeem. Those injured were returned to UK to the CMH and I dont think I have ever gotten over missing that deployemnt. I had the honour to attend Kenny Preston's memorial in St Helens and also escorted him on his last Orders being charged with being asleep under his bed whilst on Guard. His excuse was it was raining and he had returned to the billet to get his 'crisp packet' waterproofs which were under his bed and the next thing he knew the Guard Commander was beating him! His story was plausible but £50 light later we marched out of the OC's office. I was miss out on the Falklands but made up for it deploying to Northern Ireland, The Gulf 1990, Bosnia three times and Telic in 2003.

I then got my first posting overseas to British Militay Hospital Berlin, which was short for drink drink and drink. I lived on the 6th floor in a single room which after the blocks of Mons Bks was a culture shock. Being shown a shower and bath I said I was happy having the ablutions in my room, the Ord Sgt explained it was my bath and shower! My first experience of lagging in the sink! The humble CMT worked on reception and had his eye constantly on the 'Bat Phone' which was the contact from Spandau Prison and Prisoner No 7, aka Rudolph Hess. My claim to fame was my first best man nursed Hess when Hess' Afghan nurse was on leave. The BMH had the whole second floor closed off for Hess' treatment should he require any. It also meant a company of the duty Infantry rocked up and guarded him. We always hoped it wasnt the Russians guarding him as they to would have a presence at the BMH. We had the occaisional Ex within the Bde around Rhulebhan ranges which only lasted a week, apparantly after a week we would be either dead or on our way to the Gulag. The BMH had an underground hospital built for withstand the might of the Russians for 4-5 hours! Great exercises down there! BMH Berlin had no QARANC OR's just officers as the OR's couldn't behave themselves apparantly. The bar was great and the duty of barman was the opportunity to make a killing on bar food. All now frowned apon by H&S! Food handling certificate?? Great trips over the East and wining and dining with Russian generals on the Hotel Moscow. It was always great at the end of the night to leave the Lavatoty attendand all our old East Germans marks which we got at about 10 DDR to 1 DM, which we got 4DM to the pound. So the tip to the East German was enough to retire to a small village on the northern coast in East Prussia.

My depature in 1986, from Berlin saw me married and off to Pirbright, The Guards Depot. A major culture shock to a medic who couldnt spell drill. I was also given the first my first chevron.Which at Gds Depot, meant two! Oh and you called Household cav SSGT 'Sir', oh and their Sgt majors were Cpls, and you called them 'Sir', oh and GGG meant Grenadier Guards. Oh and a Gold Sgt was higher in rank to a LSgt and was called the Pay Sgt in the GGG, although they didnt do pay! Our Senior Medical Officer had been at Pirbright a while and struck fear into all staff except our civilian Nursing Sister who was married to a famous ex RSM GGG and had no fear! All Medics were alocated to a MO, luckily I got the SMO! Also her sick parade timings were set in stone, even a soldier crawling in, run over by a tank wouldnt been seen unless his FMed 566 was anotated in red and signed by the GOC LONDIST. I used to love telling WO1(RSM) from the CG they were late!!!! Not! Luckily other MO's were more flexible. I think the SMO saw her time out at Aldershot GMC. I also had the pleasure of working for the new SMO who was a breath of fresh air to the tight curled tyrant, whom she replaced. I also got promoted to Cpl at the Depot was promoted in the Gds Depot Sgt Mess the same day WO1 (RSM) Gibson Coldm Guards was commissioned into his Regiment. Much ale was supped and in the drunken haze I ened up with WO1(RSM) D Gibson's drill boots and his rank brassard, which I still have, the boots have since been passed on to another Warrant Officer and used regulary and still only require the occaisional water bulling! We treated over 5000 plus at Pirbright and at night had the largest catchment area for any medical centre in the UK, troops came from all over the south when the clock passed 1700hrs.

In 1988 I left the Depot and ended up in the last Leper Hospital in the UK, Thornhill Bks and 22 Field Hospital, it may stil have beeen 2 Fd Hosp but it became 22 very shortly afterwards. As stated the last leper in UK died on its hallowed camp amd now the troops lived in the blocks named Australia and Kenya I think. Luckily I had quarter in Salamanca park, which was destined to become a tescos, or was that Willems Park! 22 had more tents than Billy Smarts but had the same number of clowns! We worked out of the RAE at Farnborough and Jersey Brow, a massive hangar on the edge of the flight line. It meant a 20 minute trip from Aldershot and a detour via Chequers cafe in North Camp for a quick breakfast prior to work. The fateful day was when the new SSM walked and and he didnt want a bacon butty. The punishment is legend and consisted of a day being beasted around the camp at Thornhill and then having to march to RAE ever day for a month. Great days. We had a great bar which people came from miles around to attend. Our Vietnam Night was a thing of legend, peope deliberatly got PTSD just to get the 1000 yard stare. The bar was decked out with a million sandbags filled with polystyrene chips which the Fire Officer saw and past out. Later we filled with sand they made a superb Hooch and trench system. The costunes were spot on and the night was just genrally brilliant. ex Purple Warrior will always be in my mind as I nealry died. The hangar held all our stores and was the demo site for setting up our complex of departments so the Bigwigs could come round and have a cup of tea. In 16/17th Oct 1987 was the Great Storm, Micheal Fish missed and luckily we had a complex up and this was fully fitted with COLPRO. The storm caused £250,000+ damage and was a great opportunity for the QM's to get their book straight. Part of the complex was never found and another tent was shot down over Russia. Nothing survived, some of the poles made it to the Tate gallery for a sculpture competition. In 1988 I got my deployement to Northern Ireland with 1 Bn Royal Highland Fusiliers (1RHF) to Fermanagh and we had our deployemnt when the Army lost 10 soldiers from the Light Infantry on a bus and 6 soldiers doing the Lisburn fun run. Thankfully the 1 RHF had no fatalities. We had a bus bomb when a school bus was attacked and a catholic driver was seriously injured in the town of Lisnaskea. I returned and felt the Army was no longer for me and a clash with the matron put my seal on this. I left and applied for the Police and Fire Service, I passed the Fire Service but again my self destructiveness kicked in and I rejoined the job I loved the most.

In 1990 I got my posting as a Sgt to 3 Armoured Field Ambulance in Sennelager and was made DS Sgt for my sins. In August of that year Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and we deployed in the Jan 91. We made up B Sqn 5 Armd Fd Amb and did our pre training in Munster where we found our selves the poor relations to another Fd Amb. We survived and I was made L/A/ SSgt to run our dressing Station with my OC a QA Major who later was awared the MBE. Top bloke considering he was a Cpl in Berlin 6 years earlier. We arrived at Al Jubayl and moved into the Blackadder Lines, may have been Baldrick. and got acclimatized. It rained for most this period and we then went out into the desert after about a week with 4 Bde and then 1 Div. I recall strange Ex like Dibdibah Charge! We drove around the desert for 12 hours and came back. No wonder the Iraqis were in awe of us! The 28 hr ground offensive came and went and I dont recall much of that except chasing the battle group and setting up a couple of tents. We stopped in Kuwait by the Basra Highway ahd set up for 6 weeks. We did what most bored squaddies do, played football, voleyball, had the obligatory Sods Opera which went down a storm. We needed a PA system and the RCT troop kindly went out and borrowed one ffrom a nearby minarette.(Allegedly). The RADC section had their own transport made up from a Mercedes lorry which was called Raghead 1 and a T55. The T55 only had one track and went round in circles. The lorry on the other hand ws a beast, until the radiator blew causing minor scalds to bothe driver and co-driver! We returned the conquereing heroes mid April and did things we have alwasy done in BAOR.

Next stop was the TA!! As a PSI I went to Cardiff and got a new wife as all PSI's did in Cardiff.

Next I returned to my spiritual home at 16 Armd Fd Amb in Candahar Bks Tidworth. A great unit and I had the pleasure of serving with an old mate from Pirbright who was now a SSM so to be RSM prior to deplyment to Bosnia, post UN Grapple. In Bosnia we depolyed to a clothing factory in Sipovo and did so on the next 2 deployements, only thing the accomodation got better. Plus you returned with the largest CD collection in the world I had two superb tours of Cyprus on Ex Lion Sun.

I then returned to become the RQMS as the unit was amalagamated with 24 Armd Fd Amb in Catterick and we became the lost children again. As B Sqn 3 Close Suppot Medical Regiment it was time to go as my job had been downgraded to a SQMS.

My final posting was on the seaside at Fort Blockhouse and at 33 Fd Hosp. Another unit with a lot of tents and a few clowns! I left this unit in 2002 but called up in 2003 for Op Telic 2 and had my swansong at Shaibah as a watchkeeper, when I returned the first thing I did was leave the TA unit I had joined prior to my deployment.

Now a fully qualified PC and starting to get some courses. And they say the Army are tight with them! Still based by the seaside.