In the autumn of 1978, my time had come to leave the army. I had served my entire 22 years in the same regiment and been given the opportunity to take up a commission in another regiment, but I turned it down. I’d had enough of wearing a uniform and I could see that an officer’s life was not for me. I had a fantastic send-off and “The Crossbelts” magazine of 1979 showed that my regiment had valued my contribution by printing this about me:
“Mr Joseph joined the 4th Hussars in 1958 having spent two years as a junior in the Boys Squadron RAC. A natural athlete it was not long before his prowess on the sportsfields of Hohne became apparent. This combined with his aptitude for music and rhythm it is hardly surprising that before too long he elected to forsake the tank park to join that elite company of gladiators, the Regimental Band.
During the Regiment’s tour in Malaysia Mr Joseph’s reputation for his athletic achievements spread nationwide and his military and musical attributes earned him promotion to Lcpl. As a musician he made his mark as a base drummer and in his spare time continued to build his reputation as percussionist with the regimental dance band in all its different guises from The Chit Chats, The Lionel Bryant Sextet, to The Shades of Green and latterly the T.J. Duo.
He was promoted to Cpl in Wolfenbuettel, to Sgt in Paderborn in 1973 and two years later to WO2 on his appointment as Band Sergeant Major, which appointment he still holds.
Both a record maker and breaker it is hard to do justice in so few lines to the great contribution that Mr Joseph has made to the Regiment during his service. One record however, cannot go without a mention, that of his service itself. By the time he leaves the Army in the autumn, Mr Joseph will have completed 22 years of unbroken service all of which will have been at the Regimental duty, an unusual and distinguished achievement. His limitless energy, infectious enthusiasm and everlasting sense of humour will create a vacuum in the regiment when he leaves; and so we wish him, his wife Karin and his equally talented family, every good fortune in the future.”
It’s always good to know what your bosses and colleagues think about you and to leave a workplace feeling a sense of achievement that you can take on to new pastures. I have never made it a secret since leaving the regiment that I owe everything to the army for helping me to achieve what I have in my life. I learned so much from the time I joined Boys Squadron RAC, and throughout my man’s service in the 4th Hussars on the tank park and in the Regimental Band. The Regiment had been amalgamated with others many times and was by the time of my leaving, the Queens Royal Irish Hussars. What I learned from the army I could never have learned in a school or in a civilian workplace. They enabled me to build a fulfilling and challenging career in sports and recreation management in the 1980s and to carry out a pledge I had made before I was ten years old to my mentor Parson Munroe back in British Guiana. That pledge was that if ever I left my country to get a higher education like he had done in his youth, I would return one day to help develop it and make it an even better place.
A soldier’s life is not an easy one and the excitement of adventure combined with physical activity appeals to the young and single. When it is combined with the wisdom and guidance of older people who never ask you to do what they have not already done them-selves, it inspires and commands respect for their authority. Young people will always respect such good role models and the army I was part of had more than its fair share of these. I have to thank them for their patience and skill in helping to shape my development.
I have little respect for those in civilian society who rely on their status or position for the authority to dish out orders. It makes me angry when ever people in civilian workplaces have said to me, “You’re not in the army now, you know.” These people have no idea what it’s like to be in the army and seem to think it’s an endless round of mindless drills with people screaming orders at them or full of people who like wars and killing people. No soldier likes wars nor enjoys having to take the lives of others sometimes in conflicts. They are skilled and competent people who have been highly trained to deal with the worst situations anyone could ever have to deal with and they are strong and brave enough to do what most of us are too weak or scared to do, which is to protect us from bullies and maniacs on the international scene. It is soldiers (and all other military forces) who KEEP the PEACE that we all want to enjoy. Unfortunately politicians are the ones who make wars with other countries or take the decisions to enter them. The soldiers are the ones whose job is to carry out the decisions made by the politicians. In democratic countries like ours, we all play a part in influencing the decisions politicians make.
If you want to read the full story of “An Unlikely Hussar”, most of it can be found on this website but will be available in the New Year in Kindle Format with more photos than those on this website. If you want a hard copy of the book it will also be available to pre-order by Easter if I get enough pre-orders to cover costs.
If you want to find out what happened in my later life when I returned to help develop my birth country Guyana in South America, then order “The ElDorado Affair” by Jane Joseph ISBN 978-0-9932409-0-4 published by Sapodilla Press available in paperback or Kindle format from Amazon.co.uk, order it through Waterstones or your local book store via Nielsens teledata or read it in Kindle format ISBN 978-0-9932409-1-1 available worldwide on Amazon.com