Published: 15/02/2018
ISBN: 9781788037532
Format: Hardback

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Down Among the Weeds
by Harry Beaves

Harry Beaves was born in 1947 in Shalbourne where his father was the village policeman. He was sports mad if unspectacular student at Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury before joining the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1966 for a career which he hoped would bring action and excitement. His first posting was to a Regiment in Germany. Garrison life was dull, but he and his contemporaries lived life at ninety miles an hour. With no mobile phones, no satellite TV and only Forces Radio for entertainment they channelled their energies into escapades which often crossed the blurred line between mischief and trouble.

In 1972 this changed dramatically when the Regiment was deployed on an emergency tour in one of the most difficult areas of Northern Ireland, at a time when IRA activity is generally reckoned to have been at its most intense. This was the the excitement he had been looking for and his subsequent postings were most often with Commando Forces or in Adventurous Training where life was never dull, though the requirement to foot the bill for promotion was parties was slim.

Things slowed down a little with the need for heart bypass surgery in 1995 and in 2000 he left the Army. Without the invisible support network of military life, the effects of his experiences in Belfast in 1972 came crashing to the fore and brought on Post-Traumatic Stress. He recounts with candour the struggles to overcome it.

The Army is much more than just a job. It is a way of life, often boring, frustrating, difficult, dangerous and unpleasant, but by far the largest part of its fun, great fun, lived to the full by energetic, well-motivated people. The strong sense of comradeship and humour and the bonds that they create help to overcome adversity are strongly conveyed in this book.

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