The Territorial Army is an entirely voluntary Military Force and is in the true traditions of Volunteers throughout the annals of history and tradition of the United Kingdom.
It has a considerable strength of men and women and is organised on a nationwide basis into Specialist Units and Independent Units.
Specialist Units are organised from a Central Volunteer Headquarters whilst Independent Units are organized on a local basis.
So what makes a person join such an organisation? The reasons are many and varied. Patriotism; having a sense of adventure; previous military experience; comradeship and financial benefits all have a part to play but I can only talk for myself and I hope you will find my experience enlightening, and if you are at the correct age and live in the United Kingdom, it may encourage YOU to join.
So why did I join? Well it was in the early 1950's at the commencement of my civilian career that I first came in contact with the organisation. Remember, in 1950 the 1939/45 war was still uppermost in most people's minds. The son of my first employer and who worked in the same Office was a former Royal Air Force Squadron Leader with a distinguished war service behind him. Another of my employer's sons had just qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and completed his National Service. On completion of his National Service he had joined the Territorial Army and held the rank of Captain in a local Yeomanry unit. I liked the idea of charging about in Ferret Scout cars at the week end so that, coupled with the pride shown in the local Black Watch units in Fifeshire, and hearing all the many stories told by the Squadron Leader of his wartime exploits, sold me on the idea of Military Service.
But it was not to be until 1958 that I joined the TA. I had completed my education and obtained my professional qualifications and had been exempt from National Service until then. When I went for my medical before being called up to National Service, a severe knee injury sustained whilst playing Rugby was sufficient to have me graded category three and therefore ineligible for recruitment into the Military. At the time I was not sure whether to be happy with the situation or otherwise. On the one hand I was just at the stage in my career when I was going to be able to earn a living salary (which would not have been the case had I carried out my National Service) but on the other hand I was disappointed that my knee injury was worse than I had thought and it was going to deny me one of my ambitions at that stage - to at least gain experience of Military Service. Worse than that was that my Rugby playing days appeared to be over.
However, having had a cartilage removed and having undergone a course of extensive therapy, my knee improved to the stage when I could again play Rugby. By this time National Service was finished and my employer, who had been watching all this carefully, noted that I was back to playing Rugby again and suggested that I might want to think of joining the local TA Unit, the 5 Bn The Kings Own Scottish Borderers (TA) , of which he was Commander. I jumped at the chance and after another searching Medical, was deemed fit to serve.
So commenced my Military career. I was immediately appointed as an "Officer Cadet" and had to do one year in the Ranks before obtaining my Commission which was eventually granted as a Second Lieutenant (on probation). I attended the Mons Officer Cadet School and having duly passed the course, was appointed a Second Lieutenant and posted to the 5 Bn Kings Own Scottish Borderers. I thereafter gained promotion to Lieutenant and then Captain when I became Signals Officer and second in command of HQ Company. At that time the Batallion had a strength of over 1000 men in the area of Dumfries and Galloway in South West Scotland. I stayed with the unit until it was amalgamated with the 4 Bn KOSB(TA) to become 4/5 Bn Kings Own Scottish Borderers (TA). I had the honour to be in command of the Colour Party when the new colours were presented to the new Unit by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester at Galashiels Rugby Ground.
This was probably the proudest moment of my Military career as the new Batallion marched on with the pipes and drums playing the Regimental March "The Blue Bonnets and over the Border". I think that it was in 1966 or 1967 that the TA was re-organized once again. The "Ever Readies" were formed and as a last minute decision by the Wilson Government a Home Defence Force was formed. I stayed on in that for a short spell but transferred over to the Reserve List until 1970 when I rejoined Royal Army Ordnance Corps where I was appointed OC of their Military Training Team and where I remained until my retirement in 1982. The time spent with the RAOC was most fulfilling and I had many postings for annual training to Cyprus, Western Germany, Belgium as well as many postings in the UK including such places as Barrie Budden near Carnoustie,Milton Bridge near Edinburgh, Surrey and Training Camps near York and Liverpool. Over the years I had many happy times, met many people from all walks of life and can thoroughly recommend to any young person who is thinking about a Military Career that they seriously think of joining the Reserve Forces.
I saw those Reserve Forces develop from a large number of enthusiastic amateurs to a much smaller, better trained and elite professional organisation comparable with any professional Army of today.
So any of you young men or women reading this, please do not hesitate to join the Territorial Army. You will enjoy the life and greatly benefit from the experience. Just call in at any Army Recruiting Office in your High Street and they will give you full information about such a career.
The Officer’s Mess, 4/5 KOSB (TA) - June 1958
HQ Co Shooting Team, 4/5 KOSB (TA) 1963
TD Medal Presentation 1974
Meeting the locals Cyprus 1972
Officer’s Mess, Fremington Devon June 1978