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From young offender to R.S.M.

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From Young Offender to R.S.M The sound of the triumphant St. George Band bellows through the corridor. The source is the office at the end. As I walk up to the door and just about to knock, "Come in H," speaks a warm friendly and familiar voice. Its not the kind of voice you'd expect coming from the Regimental Sergeant Major. This was different I suppose. This time I was a civilian, not a soldier, and plus I was an old friend. I went into his office and took a seat. The walls were covered in regimental paintings and photographs. A cabinet on the back wall was full of awards and trophies. This could be described as a typical R.S.M office but this was different. This was his, with his Newcastle United tablecloth, and his personal name plaque, bronze with white gold lettering W.O.1 .M. Lawson. We sat and talked about the past, on his and our past experiences together. Mark was born to a single mother in the West End of Newcastle Upon Tyne; in the year England won the World Cup1966. He would say that is the reason he's so mad on football and has so much English pride. Others say that's just an excuse for his loutish behaviour every Saturday afternoon. ...read more.


You know the way, like when you put your head down and look at your feet on Remembrance Sunday. Well I tried to stay strong but I just broke down in tears, I couldn't stop. I cried all the way to my new home for a year. When I got there it was awful the huge walls, gates, guards and dogs. I felt as though they'd dropped me off at colditz." He went on to describe his loneliness of not just the first night but also nearly half his time there. In a place where trust didn't exist and friends just wanted something for themselves. He was 7 month into his time there when he got the news that George had died of a heart attack. It shook his world; he felt that, the stupid fight had not only cost him his freedom but also lost him his Gramps. "It was at his funeral. I decided to make him proud of me, even though he wasn't around physically to see me he still would." In 1982 he left the institution an open-minded young 16 year old. He'd studied when he was in there but did not gain any academic qualifications. So with out a job now back with Betty it was then he decided to join the Army. ...read more.


When I asked what he did for a living, I work for the Government he said. I new he was a squaddie, I just thought he was cute. The wedding was like a dream. He held nothing back. The guard of honour and the brass band. I felt like a princess, he's like that on occasions he pulls out all the stops, if you know what I mean. He like's to go the full nine yard's for people he care's for." After serving in Bosnia and Northern Ireland, Mark became a father to a young boy Mark George. "I named him after me and Gramps I think he would've liked that. Being a father is mad everything changes. You're views, your attitudes, and your whole life. I wouldn't change it for nothing." He went on to serve in the second Gulf campaign. After his return he was given his new position, Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st Btn 1 R.R.F. Where he sits now a proud but very warm kind of person with a job to do and only his way to do it. "Aye from young offender to R.S.M., who'd of thought of that? Well he might not be here but I bet Gramps really is proud of me know." So I leave Catterick after a very good day of reminiscing, and leave the barracks and the R.S.M. to his duties and his men. Barry Hollinshead, H.E.F.C. English Language. Word count 1,378. ...read more.

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