It was 1978 and my dad’s call rang out after me, “You will be kicked out and home in no time”.

Was I cut out to be a Soldier, a Leader?

Did the words of a man who never showed me love or affection make me more determined to make the grade and prove him wrong?

I would go to the telephone box and dial in the number. A man would answer.

“Hi Dad – I have something to tell you. I have been promoted”.

“Well done, but you don’t have to tell me”.

I found it very strange that my Dad would not acknowledge my achievements.

It was as though I was letting him know that he was wrong for shouting those words as I left the house on my own to make my way to the railway station to join the Army.

Early days after recruit training

I would make four more calls over the next 22 years, every time I got promoted. Making my point that my Dad was wrong. A bit like a movie scene, it plays in my head.

Proud to Stand Alone.

Let’s push forward to 1997 – the year a Single Crown was stitched on to the bottom of my right arm. Warrant Officer Class 2. Title SIR. The Royal Warrant from the Queen.

To the phone box again I would walk, picking up the phone.

“Hi Dad. I would like to invite you down to my first Passing Out Parade. I will be leading 90 Recruits led by the Band of the Grenadier Guards on to the Parade Ground.

I will be at the front of the Parade, and will lead the parade on to the square where the Secretary for Defence and 500 Spectators will be sitting and watching.

I will stand proud and announce the Recruits as they get their Awards presented”.

Other than the Parachute Award Ceremony on the Drop Zone where I was Presented my British Military Parachute Wings, this would be a proud moment that my Dad could be be part of.

“Will you come Dad?”

“No Son. We have just got a Puppy. Sorry”.

Your Loss Father.

Before The Parade 1997

When my time comes, I will look back and say “I Never Let My Children Down”.