Aliwell Barracks was my first posting with the regiment back in 1972, other former JL mates went straight to Hong Kong or Singapore, lucky beggars. Still others went straight to NI, not so lucky I guess. I realise that the old barracks has long since been replaced with a less characterful complex. Nevertheless, the thought of revisiting is very enticing and stirs up many a happy memory.
Geoff Ellison and I chipped in and bought our first car from big Dave Whip there, it was a monster machine, 2,5 liter, 6m long and pink and white. I can't remember the make or model but one could spot it a mile away. It was appropriately named 'The Pink Panther'. After carrying us around Tidworth for a couple of weeks Geoff drove up to Warrington in it, but returned alone; the engine had blown up on the long journey home. Later it was rumoured that Dave had put sawdust into the engine oil to stop the big ends knocking too loudly before he sold it to us. Lesson learned
One night whilst I was on guard the Orderly Sgt., Joe Diver ordered me to guard the entrance to the POL, I was to blow my whistle should anybody try to pass me, including the Orderly Officer. Odd I thought. Joe was gone for ages so I went down to see if he was ok, that's when I caught him filling up his car with petrol ... and a few Jerry Cans for the return journey back to barracks. I last saw Joe just before he died. He had an 'Irish Pub' in Falkensee and pulled me a Guinness making a fancy shamrock in the froth with the last few drops.
Big Denis Jones leading us sprogs in battles against the crazy jocks who used to attack our barracks like hoards of Picts and Kelts had Hadrian's Wall, so many years earlier. Chalky White fell victim to their barbarism.
John Cleverly took us on a radio exercise to Petersfield where we were to become the first troops on the mainland to be attacked by IRA sympathisers. Luckily nobody was injured, for some lads had to make a quick exit from a blazing penthouse attached to the back of a Saracen.
Unfortunately I shan't be able to attend but I shall be there with you in spirit, as shall all who had the dubious pleasure of serving in Aliwell Barracks, have a great time in Tidworth !