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I set up this "yarns" page in 2015, and it is little more than a "memory jogger" for myself. Some of these stories are well known to a few of my friends and family, and some not. They may cast light on the person I became over the years, particularly my sense of humour. Some of these "yarns" relate to my own experiences, although many are from time spent with military "work mates".
I've been fortunate, during my working life, not to be in any real danger, although that is certainly not the case for those that I've spent time with. One of the many things that I love about my wife June, is that, in some ways, she remains as innocent as the 18 year old, that I married in 1971. I remember 'phoning her from work during the start of the first Gulf War, to say I might need to take a military flight out, to demonstrate some computer kit to the troops. She did not bat an eyelid: "OK - I'll find that lightweight suit you wore in Lagos".
dates below have not been checked with my diaries, wiki, etc.
Word War I: 1914-1918: my grandfather, on my mother's side, Harold Sharp, from whom I may have inherited my sense of humour. His arm was shattered, and he recalled German and Allied "walking wounded" helping each other, on their way back from the confused "front", until they parted, to their own field hospitals. He spent time in Le Treport. The Christmas football match is a well known story.
World War II: 1939-1945: my father-in-law, captured north of Dunkirk, who spent most of the war in a German POW camp, before an exchange of prisinors, not long before D-Day. Old friend who was captured in Palestine, then spent time in an Italian POW camp.
Korea: ~1951: yarn heard during the 1970s from an RAF "workmate".
Vulcan demonstration: ~1959: The Brits were hoping to sell the Vulcan to the yanks, as a low level nuclear strike bomber.
Vietnam: ~1970s: yarns heard from USAF, returning from 'Nam, through Europe. e.g. "under fire bonus" and "B52 Barrel Roll Competition".
Denmark: ~1970s: fascinating trip to watch an air exercise, with live weapons delivered a few hundred yards from our pill box observation platform. Why was the pill box painted so brightly ? To avoid last years incident where it had been mistaken for a target, and the range officer killed.
Germany: ~1970s: trip to watch an exercise at an RAF base; first taste of tear gas made me feel unwell - or was it drinking in the mess after ?
Northern Ireland and Middle East: ~1970s: tales from business friends working in overseas PP, about their earlier army service experiences.
Lagos, Nigeria: ~1981: I spent a week in Lagos, hoping to sell air defence radars. In the Eko Hotel bar, we met two guys who knew the pub that I'd had my stag night, 10 years earlier. We ended the night in the top floor apartment, occupied for several months by the ex-SAS chap who now sold riot gear. We got a demonstration of a phaser, after he called room service. All Nigerians we met seemed to have a great sense of humour.
First Gulf War: ~1990: I led a small bid team, working on a proposal to UK MOD for computer kit, able to withstand desert conditions, for supply to British troops. We spent a week, "camped" in an office, and one of our number was in the TA. He thought he might "wangle" a military flight, so that we might give a field demo, that could have "clinched" the deal. Years later, in 2009, I spent a pleasant day showing an ex US Marine local sites, such as The Kennedy Memorial, Magna Carta, etc. He told me an amusing tale related to vehicle tyres. I've called this guy "the quiet American", having been moved by a photo of him in combat gear, surrounded by kids in Iraaq.
You may find relevant information about me on my "History" and "Grumpy" pages, linked from the top of this page.