Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Army

The Red Arrows

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Portland Harbour 2010

At five o’clock yesterday evening I stood on top of White Horse hill and watched the Red Arrows perform for Weymouth carnival.

From this perfect vantage point I could see them soar a mile high above me then swoop down five or six miles to my left (east), climb again and explode out of formation five or six miles to my right (west).

Portland Harbour 1940

They say the Red Arrows are the best recruiting sergeant that the RAF could possibly have.   That is if we have the RAF for very much longer.  It looks likely that soon we will have just one integrated service.  That makes sense though.   In modern times we need an integrated approach using land, sea and air.

Nothing can extinguish or outshine the honour of the RAF or the Army or the Navy, whatever the future holds.  As we remember the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the Red Arrows flew yesterday through the same skies that our young heroes did then in their Spitfires and Hurricanes.   Nothing can ever repay our debt to those who enabled Britain to stand alone for more than a year against the Nazis.  It is no exaggeration to say that through those dark days they and Britain saved the world.   See brilliant BBC story here.

We shall honour them for ever.

Israeli Pirates Claim “Self-Defence”

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A highly trained team of crack commandos from a an army with a reputation for efficiency and ruthlessness abseil down onto your unarmed ship just before dawn.  Others attack from the sea from high speed RIBs with grappling hooks.  They are clad all in black with the most advanced military helmets, body armour and night vision goggles.  Each is armed with an ultra- modern, silenced machine pistol and at least one handgun.  They undoubtedly have grenades and other personal weaponry.  They are backed up by missile ships with heavy machine guns and cannons.

They are resisted with any weapon you have available – metal bars, sticks, chairs, knives, anything you can turn to your defence.  Despite their overwhelming weaponry you manage to overpower one or two but they end up opening fire and killing many.

Then they claim self-defence.  They seek sympathy for the fact that you resisted their attack.  They seek to portray themselves as victims.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

That Which Is Demonstrates Itself.

Walking The Dog 2

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In memory of a fallen comrade

Walking The Dog 2

Apart from herons and wealthy, attractive, single women (which seem to be virtually extinct), the main focus of our daily rambles is sticks.

Of course, sticks come in all shapes and sizes but Capone prefers something, shall we say, robust. I suppose the ideal is about four feet long and perhaps three inches thick but the crucial factor in stick style is the way it is carried. It must be held at one end, not in the middle. I think Capone believes this is more flamboyant in the same way the way that a quiff or fringe sweeps back or a fighter pilot’s scarf flies to one side. Of course, even the most perfectly fashioned stick is merely debris on the ground until I have thrown it. Then it becomes the most exciting, the most important thing in life and if it is thrown into the sea he would swim until he sank before giving up the chase.

At the weekend we tackled Thorney Island, all the way around – an eight mile walk in a force eight gale. Out along a one mile dyke, straight as an arrow, then pass through the MOD security gate keeping to the public footpath beyond. The oystercatchers are still here on Thorney although in much smaller numbers but another mile or so on and we put up a roe deer. In the open, not as you usually see them in woods. It ran and Capone ran too but made my heart burst with pride when he responded immediately to the signal, dropped and looked back at me. We watched it run two, three hundred yards inland and continued on our way.

As you approach the most southerly point on Thorney you see to your right the end of Hayling Island and to your left, East Head at the tip of West Wittering. Between is open ocean and a direct line to the Falklands. A couple of months ago when we first made this journey, I spotted an Army Land Rover ahead and we found two men laying the foundations for a bench in memory of a “fallen comrade”. Now, the bench is there. It’s not the usual railway sleeper design. It’s much more elegant and the inscription reads “In memory of Steve Jones, 264 (SAS) Signals Squadron & the crew of ‘Hilton 22’”.

These were our boys, shot down just north of Baghdad three years ago. If I had a son who died a hero in the service of his country, I could think of no more poignant and intense place to remember him amidst the wind, the sea, the sky and the solitude.

Capone and I duly honoured their memory and sat for a cigarette, he accorded the privilege of sitting beside me on the bench for such a special occasion. We remembered them, lachrymose old Welshman that I am.

Thorney turns much warmer and gentler as you move to the east side away from the wind. Nearly seventy years ago, other young heroes took off from here during the Battle of Britain. Now the RAF sailing club provides the local excitement and past Thornham marina and Emsworth harbour back to the mainland.

A pint of beer never tastes better than when you deserve it. So with aching legs and an exhausted dog we made a brief stop at the Bluebell Inn before home for sustenance and sleep.

In the back garden lies a pile of sticks, proudly retrieved, collected and preserved. Out there in the wind and the rain a pile of sticks fashioned into a bench remembers much more than another walk with the dog.

Peter Reynolds 02-04-08

Welcome to my world!

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Peter Reynolds is a writer, communications advisor and proud Welshman. He lives in a small town called Emsworth, between Portsmouth and Chichester on the south coast of England. After “dropping out” from life as a hippy musician, Peter experimented with direct sales and the motor trade before training as a copywriter and eventually making it to the top of his profession as a creative director with Saatchi & Saatchi. Along the way he developed special expertise in technology and healthcare working with clients such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, GSK and the Department of Health. He also worked as a freelance journalist writing for just about every PC magazine then on the market and had a weekly column in The Independent based on the simple idea of riding a bike but ranging across subjects such as politics, sport, technology and the media. Since the 1990s he has worked as a consultant to organisations such as Nokia, the British Army and Pinewood Studios. In 2004 he established Leading Edge Personal Technology as “the magazine for technology enthusiasts”. He continues to write on a wide range of subjects.