The Army is much more than a job. It is a way of life, often boring and frustrating, frequently difficult and dangerous, but by far great fun with energetic, well-motivated people and lifelong friendships. Down Among the Weeds is one such story, detailing Harry Beaves’ journey, from joining the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1966 to the consequences of retiring from Army life and the hardships he had to conquer.
With humour, the author recalls how dull garrison life could be, and how he and his contemporaries channelled their energies into escapades which often crossed the blurred line between mischief and trouble. The narrative flips dramatically from light to dark when his regiment was deployed to Northern Ireland at a time when IRA activity is generally reckoned to have been at its most intense. Dangerous and exciting, but rewarding, it changed Harry’s life, and his subsequent postings were most often with Commando Forces or in Adventurous Training.
Harry left the Army in 2000. 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. Down Among the Weeds recounts with candour the horror of anxiety and depression, of PTSD, and the struggles to overcome them.