My daughter was clearing the loft recently and found a couple of old photo albums. One was full of random snaps from a stint in Crossmaglen, Northern Ireland back in the mid 1980’s.
I was 19 and three years into an army career at this point and as much as that particular location would send chills down most peoples spine, it was the reason we joined. The place wasn’t one which was easy and postings there were short at 4 months. You couldn’t be there any longer, both physically and mentally. Tension towards the army was high and your day was split simply between patrols, rest and repeat, day in, day out.
It’s too long ago to remember the circumstances of this particular photo, but it was certainly just after a patrol, as my face is covered in camouflage cream and I am holding a piece of electronic equipment worn like a rucksack on my back when outside camp.
Fair to say I can’t go into great detail, but I grew up very quickly that year and despite its dark undertones, the experience is one I will always cherish.
Nowadays, I spend quite a bit of time in NI on my bike (the motorised variety) and the coast has some amazing roads and scenery. The people are warm and welcoming and they still serve Harp lager!