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Does anyone remember their time in the armed forces with affection.

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tonywiltshire | 13:01 Wed 05th Dec 2012 | Military
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Does anyone remember their service in the Armed forces with something approaching affection?
I know it is human nature to remember the good times and ignore the bad times but I spent over 6 years in the army and my memories are mainly positive and good, am I alone?

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I had nine years in the RAF and enjoyed it, especially the travelling and comradeship. I visited Canada, Toronto, and America,Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hawaii. Stayed at Hickam air force outside Honolulu and then flew to Christmas Island [Now Kiribati]where over a period of six months the Americans tested 24 atomic and hydrogen bombs.Shortly after I...
01:35 Fri 07th Dec 2012
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Only recently saw this heading under Society and culture, mostly ignored as my post will probably be ignored which I believe to be a pity (not my post). Perhaps a reflection on society, perhaps not.
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Can't answer that personally, but I have six uncles, two went into the army, both were sappers in the royal engineers, one went into the airforce, two went into the navy and one the merchant navy - my great grandfather flew Wellington's during the second word war - and every one of them loved their time. I got the impression that the team spirit the cameradarie, the reliance on others and the travel. I have a cousin who has now done his time but he did two tours of Afghanistan, he hated it both times the heat, the flies, the lack of basic equipment, and lack of fresh food. This may seem a stupid thing to say but do you think it has something to do with seeing armed combat or not - ?
The CCF was more than enough for me! Could never see the attraction of military service. Old men often say that they enjoyed National Service ("I made good friends, it made a man of me") but they never seem to have joined the regular army at the end of it. Doing court-martials; highest rank was 'half colonel', which worried me in case the cold war got hot and someone mistook it for the genuine thing;was interesting but the professional soldiers seemed to live in a world apart from the everyday world of civilian life, insulated from that to the utmost degree.

So, Tony, what did you enjoy most about it?
I did my National Service in the infantry from 1960 to 1962. I can't say that I particularly enjoyed it, but, compared to some, I had a pretty good time. I got on well with everybody, from officers to privates (my rank throughout), I saw something of the world, I learnt to drive (at taxpayers' expense; thank you all). I wasn't badly treated by NCOs, and I wasn't given silly duties to do. However, I had no thought of signing on in the regular army afterwards. In fact, I was the first in the queue for demob papers, and the first through the barracks gates en route to the rail station. I wasn't cut out for the army, because I wasn't desirous of promotion, and I didn't like having to say 'sir' to anybody. Also, I like to plan ahead, and I couldn't do that in the Army. I liked to be able to say, in January, 'In August, we'll go to (wherever) for 2 weeks holiday', but in August I could be on the other side of the world. So, no, I don't remember my time in the forces with actual affection, but it wasn't - overall - what I'd call a bad time.
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What it was not Fred was the travel which only took me to distant parts like Germany. This was my first experience of being given real responsibility with men, some of whom had seen action and were old enough to be my Father; I was only 19 when first commissioned. It was during those years I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and I am grateful for that opportunity. It was a very busy life, but one I chose not to join on a regular basis and was happy to leave with very good memories.
I'm still in the RAF and having trouble remembering my time with affection, never mind when I leave!
I had nine years in the RAF and enjoyed it, especially the travelling and comradeship. I visited Canada, Toronto, and America,Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hawaii. Stayed at Hickam air force outside Honolulu and then flew to Christmas Island [Now Kiribati]where over a period of six months the Americans tested 24 atomic and hydrogen bombs.Shortly after I returned to England the Cuban crisis blew up and we were on high alert keeping the V bombers ready for action. The outstanding thing for me certainly was the camaraderie, a lot of friendships were made and there is a bond in the Forces which just isn't there in civilian life. I miss it.
I spent 4 years in the RAF and by and large enjoyed it. People looked out for each other, we were well fed and clothed at public expense; all your pay was pocket money. I left to go to university, a decision with hindsight I now regret.
Joining the army was the biggest mistake of my life. Giving and taking
stupid orders ( in my opinion ) and having little or no control over my life was something to be endured . I made the best of a bad mistake.

It's like being in an institution, you are expected to conform , life for most of the time is routine ( especially in peacetime ) and the individual can do little to change it.

For some it offers a home and security, which for the homeless and those from disturbed backgrounds it offers stability but once they leave the service they can't cope with the freedom of civilian life.
All this talk of teaching self relience is bunkham . In general terms you don't have to think , you are told what to do , there is little room for individual decisions. How can there be, the services have a job to do and they conform to regulations.

A couple of years National Service was probably a good thing for many but my 7+ years it was largely a waste.
On the good side you do see a bit of the world but even that can mean being stuck in the same place for years.
my late father was in the air force for thirty years
he was ground crew on vulcans and victors (the v bombers)

he enjoyed every moment

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