Twas a magical Thursday evening on the 7th of December when the...Learn more
7 November 2023
Mike and I share a journey that has been intertwined with the rich tapestry of service, sacrifice, and love. We both found our calling in the army, Mike in the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and I was part of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.
My military journey began in 1965, after completing basic training in Aldershot. I was soon posted to Catterick in Yorkshire, then to Cyprus, before finding myself back in Tidworth near Salisbury. During this time, I worked tirelessly and earned the title of a state enrolled nurse. My skills were put to good use at Ashfield Kent and Canterbury hospitals for two years. In 1970, I made a decision that would shape the rest of my life. I re-enlisted, signing on for another four years, and my journey continued.
I was dispatched to Woolwich, Kent, for a year, and then to Iserlohn in West Germany for 18 months. My final posting took me to Münster for the last 18 months of my service. It was during this time, amid the backdrop of our shared dedication to the armed forces, that I crossed paths with Mike.
Mike’s journey was one of youthful enthusiasm, for he had joined the army just over a year before our meeting. His journey began with basic training in Arborfield, and he was subsequently posted to Detmold, West Germany, not far from the fabled town of Hamelin, renowned for the tale of the Pied Piper.
Our paths serendipitously converged during an SASRA Whitsun weekend, a Christian retreat for serving military personnel. It was there, under the vast canopy of a shared passion for music, that we found each other. In a moment of pure harmony, we were told, somewhat humorously, that where voices blend, lives do as well. Our shared journey had begun.
A year after our melodious meeting, we decided to embark on a new chapter together and exchanged vows. We were blessed with an army Quarter House in Tidworth, and life took us to various locations over the next five years, including Borden and Werl in Northern Germany.
Throughout this period, Mike served, including six months of trade training in Borden and I two six-month tours in Northern Ireland. Our love story continued to flourish, and in 1977, we welcomed our first child, Phillip.
In 1980, Mike completed his nine years of dedicated service, while I had proudly served for seven and a half years. We settled in Nottingham, with Mike becoming a driving instructor and me welcoming our daughter, Sarah, into the world.
Despite the love that had always been between us, life’s trials led to a separation. We lived apart for 18 years, underwent divorce, and Mike even remarried. But deep within us, there was a promise of restoration, a promise that love could overcome the odds. And eventually, after 18 long years, we found our way back to each other and chose to remarry. That was 21 years ago, a testament to love’s enduring power.
As we reflect on our journey, marked by Remembrance Day, we remember the sacrifices and hardships of military life. And today, as Mike resides in Sandpiper Care Home, we continue to believe in the impossible, holding onto hope for his full recovery.
In the face of adversity, we remain resolute, knowing that our journey is a testament to love’s endurance and that the future holds the promise of renewed joy. Our upcoming 50th anniversary next year is a testament to the power of love, resilience, and the enduring spirit of hope.