My name is Jim Faulkner, but if you’ve read the introductory episode to my story, you’ll know me already. In ‘A Life of Choice: Part One’, I explained how as a reserved teenager I left my home town of Glasgow in Scotland. I had an office job in the city centre but lived with my family in one of the infamous housing estates — Drumchapel, situated seven miles to the west of the city.
I joined the British Army on my 17th birthday and, two weeks later I was off to basic training in Catterick Garrison. Having achieved good scores on my assessment, I had a choice of corps or, regiments to join. I chose the Royal Corps of Signals, with the intention of becoming a radio operator.
Basic Training was a trial for me. No, let’s be honest, it was a period of several trials, including the attentions of a bully within our ranks. I stood up for myself when it mattered and, was able to hold my head high afterwards.
I’d arrived in Catterick in October 1969, somehow survived all that was thrown at me and, was on the Passing Out Parade in December. Regarding my military life, the whole of 1970 was spent in various stages of training. The first week of January 1971 saw me arrive in my first working unit in Shoeburyness, Essex.
I thought my military awakening was turbulent, but it was merely me shrugging off my previous persona. I managed to go from reserved, non-swearing, non-drinking, virgin, to outspoken, cursing, heavy drinker. I was still learning about women.
A mere seven months after my arrival as a member of 260 Signal Squadron (SAM) in Shoeburyness, the entire unit packed up and, we shipped out to our new home in Dortmund, West Germany. As a sub-unit of 36 Heavy Air Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery, we were an integral part of a much larger operation.
In this episode, I’ll explain how my life and, career developed. There is no requirement for the reader to have been in the Armed Forces.
It is a human story – a coming-of-age … A Life of Choice.