UK MoD Press Release, 14 August 2019: Op BANNER lasted almost 38 years between 14 August 1969 and 31 July 2007 – more than 300,000 members of the UK Armed Forces were deployed in this time. Some 1,441 serving personnel died on deployment or in related paramilitary acts.
Focused around the Armed Forces Memorial, which individually commemorates those who fell, today’s event featured a service led by television presenter Alastair Stewart, a fly-past of a C-130 plane and Puma helicopter, The Band of the Royal Logistics Corps and tri-service personnel providing logistical support.
"When you are faced with a dilemma of epic proportions in your life, you only have two choices. You either act on it or you do nothing. Before you decide to act on it, consider the consequences. If you decide to do nothing, then shut up complaining and get on with the rest of your life".
Rex my father said that to me ~ Vincent Hancock
Rare photo of me at the Army Apprentice College aged 16 years old.
Following World War 1 there was an acute shortage of skilled tradesmen in the country, and this allied with the increasing mechanisation of the Army, resulted in the Army Council’s decision to train the Army’s own tradesmen rather than wait for the return to a normal peace-time situation.
A Central School for training 1000 apprentices was to be set up with eleven trades being taught. In the event, only four trades were initially offered – blacksmiths, fitters, carpenters and electricians. The entrants were to have a reasonably high standard of education on joining so that technical training could be the main concentration. The boys were to be at least 15 years of age, undergo 3 years of training, followed by 8 years with the colours and 4 years reserve service. The staff was to be a mixture of civilian and military instructors.
The Central Training School for boys was set up on September 25th 1923. It was originally based at Aldershot but moved to Beachley on 28th February 1924, and renamed itself Boy’s Technical School. The school went through several name changes; 1929 name changed to Army Technical School (Boys); 1st February 1947 name changed to Army Apprentices College The military college closed in June 1994.
Cherita Zaman Dahulu ~ A tale of old times
I was born and grew up as a child during the waning days of British colonial rule in South East Asia on the tiny British colony of Singapore. Educated by French Canadian missionaries in all boys catholic schools, I grew up with the romance of Empire. I re-located back to the United Kingdom as a teenager in the late winter of 1972 at the age of sixteen. I then enlisted with the British Army joining the Corp of Royal Engineers as a boy soldier at a prestigious military academy in Gloucestershire close to the border with South Wales. When I completed my military apprenticeship at the army college, I served in Southern Europe, Northern Ireland and Belize (formerly British Honduras) in Central America. My background and skillset remains in engineering, Information Technology and Further Education lecturer but my passion has always been to write.
About 5 years ago, I decided to have a clear out if my attic. To my surprise, I found a old black box containing five journals that my late father had written which I had put away shortly after his death and forgotten about. This had been up there for at least thirty years. I brought the journals to my study room and started reading them. These journals spoke of daring, risk, high adventure and even rescue missions I was unaware of. If you have already read my book, welcome to my world. I have been asked by avid readers of my Dragonfly true life genres if there will be a book two or possibly a book three of my Dragonfly books based on my late father’s journals. I would love to continue writing more on the subject if there is still a demand for memories of former British colonialism Far East adventures during the ebbing days of the British Empire. I would like to thank all my readers and friends for their support and interest in my work. I hope you enjoy this submission, “Legends of the Dragonfly “as much as I have writing it. It has been an emotional rollercoaster remembering it all again.
Will there be a third Dragonfly book, let's wait and see.