MCVC Stories

Every member of the MCVC has served for the military or is connected to someone who has. These people have lived a life full of stories. Their stories need to be told for all to hear. Over the coming weeks this page will be filled with stories for everyone to read and connect to a greater military community. These stories can be named or remain nameless. If anyone is interested in sharing their story grab me Mark Thickett at the MCVC Drop in or email me at

Gunner …

“I joined back in 74 completing my training early 75. My first posting was with 1RHA (Royal horse artillery) for 3 months working with horse pulled guns. I didn’t like this much, so asked to go back to regiment.

From here I did my first tour of Northern Ireland. I had to sign a volunteer form as I have an Irish heritage. It wasn’t the nicest of places to go at the time. I met a lovely 1 pip wonder (2nd lieutenant) who caught me out drinking with the lads and bust me back to gunner from section commander. This didn’t change anything as I was still working out there as their section commander.

I then went over to Germany for 2 years having a brilliant time. At the time it was 1 Deutsche Mark for a stein and we got 8 marks to the £. You could go out and be drunk on less than £2. It was a brilliant time in Detmold near Paderborn. After here I spent a year in Cyprus on a UN tour before going back to Topcliffe.

My last job was as a gunner/driver working on the Abbot 105 self propelled guns. We also future proofed FH70 at regiment being the first to use them. I left in 80 to start a career as a driver on the lorries. I enjoyed my time in the armed forces.”

Cpl Thickett

“Posted to the Kings Royal Hussars aged 19, is one of my first memories of my army career. I had never been to Tidworth or even heard of it. I had just completed my trade training at Arborfield learning electronics for the Challenger II main battle tank. I worked my way up earning the name “a bit of a know it all”. Fixing tanks left right and centre, impressing as I went on.An opportunity arose to go to Afghan, but some training was needed in Med Hat Canada first. Canada was the hottest place I had ever been the sun never seemed to stop. I was set up as 3rd man on a recovery vehicle whose job was to sit in the back and make brews. The days were long and boring waiting for stuff to break down.

Due on a night shoot, some thermal image equipment appeared broken and I was tasked with a repair through the night. It was 2am and had been one of the hottest days so far. Requested by my Artificer to have it sorted before first light. 4 am, tired and fed up I finally found the problem to realize I didn’t have the correct tools with me. Alas I decided to call it a night knowing it was now a 5-minute job to take the kit off. Set my alarm to be up 10 minutes before everyone, leaving enough time to grab the tools I need. Ending up sleeping straight through my alarm. The boss was not impressed that morning. Having to be awoken by my Tiff probably didn’t help the matter. From this day me and the Tiff didn’t see eye to eye again and not long after getting back to the UK I was posted to Germany, missing the trip to Afghan. Lesson learned never enjoy an extra 5 minutes of snooze time.” 

Weapons engineering mechanic 1st Class …

“I started in the Navy mid 82 completing my training joining HMS Glasgow. A weapons engineer working on the Glasgow then later moving to HMS Nelson. I played a lot of football, I remember once being in goal of a final, we won 4-0, I didn’t do much our team was so good.

My brothers also served in the Navy. I was the youngest of 4. Ending up the more travelled even more than my older brother, he completed his full 22 years. I saw the pyramids in Egypt, travelling the Suez Canal. Where ever we went playing football, travelling to America, Canada and many other places. There was one time we travelled 3 hours inland from Nova scotia, ended up playing some ex-pats. They gave us a thrashing, busting my knee in the match. I was later bandaged up in a random dining room before getting drunk. I have no idea where in Canada we played. Other places I went were Karachi, Persian Gulf, Gibraltar, India and Pakistan. While onshore one night I remember sneaking in to see Cannon and Ball. I say sneak 6 of us ended up on the main stage, jumping down just in time to hide before we got caught. 

Football, getting fit and running cross country wasn’t all I did. I remember a few brilliant nights out. One time we went over to Isle of Wight, ended up drinking all day. We missed the ferry back and needed somewhere to sleep. We came across some beach huts and had the brilliant idea to kick their doors in. We stole some biscuits and got our heads down. We spread across three different huts me and mate in the middle. After a while there was a bang on the hut from two police officers. We were both nicked and taken to the station.  I was still that drunk, they offered me a phone call, ringing home luckily my brother answered and not my dad. The next morning, they released us it was a long walk back to the ferry port.”