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The Sandbag Times Issue No: 51

The Veterans Magazine

PEOPLE ARE OUR PASSION

PEOPLE ARE OUR PASSION WHAT’S YOURS? Tell us #HCRlaw Our defence, security and the forces team has been selected for their skills and passion in providing legal advice to the sector – we also draw on the expertise of consultants who have many years of involvement with the military and related industries. Richard Morgan, Partner, Head of Defence Security and the Forces Talk to us: 01432 349670 | Visit us online: www.hcrlaw.com Join the discussion: @HCRlaw Harrison Clark Rickerbys inc Gordon Lutton is a trading name of Harrison Clark Rickerbys Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the SRA URBAN PRINTS Proud Sponsors of The Sandbag Times The SBT would like to welcome Urban Prints, Worcester as an official sponsor for our magazine. Urban Prints Unit 7 The Gallery, The Shambles, Worcester WR1 2RA GET HELP NOW: NHS England S/West 0300 365 0300 | 14 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

SBT Book Review By Andrew Hope-Hall Fighting For The French Foreign Legion (Memoirs of a Scottish Legionnaire) Author: Alex Lochrie Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (www.penand-sword.co.uk) RRP: £12.99 (Paperback) ISBN 178337615-5 Not enough books in this genre in my view. Growing up as a dyslexic (in a world that had yet to discover dyslexia) according to even his parents Alex Lochrie would never succeed at anything he did. Discovering a talent for drawing and art he had a varied life including time spent as a sketch artist for the Police, then at the impossible age of 38 he joined the French Foreign Legion. The legion, naturally, made some adjustments as to his age and he was accepted. It was a refreshing story, given the recent sway towards the use of expletives every five words by certain writers of their military memoires, as if this shows the world how tough they are. I find a real toughness in people who can and are able to restrain putting this sort of thing into print. So apart from the odd one or two re-arranged words Alex gives a stirring tail of his life in the Legion where he not only flowered but flourished. He visited many parts of the world during his time in the REP (Parachute battalion in the Legion) and served in many conflicts and wars. His reaction as a man of more mature years was interesting to see. Such was his selflessness and love of the Legion that towards the end of his time there he said “I felt that as I was approaching fifty, it was getting harder to keep up with the standard of fitness expected within the REP. Although I was still very fit I did not want to keep going to the point where I could not keep up with the eighteen years olds”. Those two sentences, really show the measure of the man. One other thing that was brought out was the loyalty not just by the men to the Legion but by the Legion to its men of all ranks and of the retired. Alex considers this as one reason why PTSDS is not such a big problem within the ranks of the Legion, both serving and retired. It is like one big family. He gave some examples of this great concern and is something that I think is peculiarly lacking in British regiments when one reads the memoirs of even the most recent conflicts. Where essentially once you are out – that’s it. BOOK REVIEW Coming Down in the Drink The Survival of Bomber “Goldfish’ John Brennan DFC Autobiography written by Sean Feast Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk) RRP: £19.99 (hardback) ISBN 1473891531 John Brennan led a very tough life growing up in the Republic of Ireland. Before moving to London and working as a chef. With the invasion of Poland he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. It was to be some weeks before he could go into flight training. Selected as radio operator and bombardier he completed both types of training in a time when new equipment was coming off the development lines at an enormous rate. Eventually, a Flight Sergeant, he was posted to North Africa and joined the Goldfish club (for anyone coming down at sea). In 1943 he was back flying missions from the UK in Halifax bombers. The one thing that struck me so starkly in this account was the amount of crew who were killed in flying accidents or faulty aircraft. The numbers, if the truth be told would come close to the number actually killed in action. More credit to the chaps who kept flying these aircraft mission after mission. John Brennan was promoted to officer rank in 1943 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1945. A really fascinating read of life in the bomber command during the Second World War. GET HELP NOW: Tommy Atins 01905 813936 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 15 |

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