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Posted By: John Sandham Reds on the Run - 05/10/21 2:06 PM
I have been harping on to Huw for over 25 years saying I am writing a novel based in Belize during the Cold War era.

Well, I have finally finished it. If you are interested, you can pre order a copy here:
Reds on the Run https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/1839757930/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_NTYR9QPXJF3QFG0PACBC

Posted By: Geoff Hannis Re: Reds on the Run - 05/10/21 4:43 PM
Yes; very interested. Stand-fast Andy McNab!

Am I right in assuming this work is a novel (fiction) rather than a memoir?

I never made it to Belize "back in the day" ... but was considering retiring there a few years ago. But (largely due to what I have read on the internet), I doubt that move will be made now.

But if we're going to start reminiscing about the Cold War ... maybe I had better start jotting down a few notes (whilst I can still remember them) about how I (and, it must be said, a few others) kept the 3rd Shock Army at bay; not to mention creeping about the misty back-streets of (West) Berlin (John le CarrΓ© eat your heart out).

Good luck with the book, John. I shall look out for it.

Meanwhile ... Jolly Green Giant ... or Puma?
Posted By: John Sandham Re: Reds on the Run - 07/10/21 7:19 AM
It is a work of fiction Geoff, and that is a Puma on the front cover (with me sat on the steps) The corrugated tin Nissen hut in the background was where I lived with 17 other guys from the General Engineering Flight. πŸ˜€
Posted By: John Sandham Re: Reds on the Run - 29/11/21 2:07 PM
More about my book here: https://redsontherun.com/
Posted By: Blazingapostle Re: Reds on the Run - 12/01/22 12:09 PM
Never got to Belize John, prob because I was always fixed wing not Rotary when in the RAF. My Best Man Chris Eaton did Belize though.
It'll be an interesting read, good luck with the sales.
Posted By: John Sandham Re: Reds on the Run - 19/01/22 7:05 AM
first month sold over 1000 books. I'm happy with that. πŸ˜€

I had an interesting tour in Belize. The living conditions weren't great. 18 sweaty airmen (not aviators, the new non-sexist word for those enlisted in the RAF) in a tin Nissen hut.

It was an interesting experience being there in the early 80s.
I also did tours in Ascension and Bahrain.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis Re: Reds on the Run - 19/01/22 7:44 PM
You never made it to Brunei then, John ... used to get woken up to a mug of tea in the Mess at Seria ... and Paludrine tablets in a bowl on the table at breakfast (swing that lamp)!

I always preferred to be serving overseas ... as I remember it, soldiering in the UK was second rate in comparison (especially if we include Northern Ireland in that).

I hear that it is even worse now, with so much contracted out to civilian companies.
Posted By: John Sandham Re: Reds on the Run - 19/01/22 9:25 PM
I also found my overseas tours to be the most memorable Geoff, but I never made it to Brunei. Sounds like you had a great time there.
I also had the daily paludrine tablet, usually with breakfast πŸ˜€
Posted By: Geoff Hannis Re: Reds on the Run - 19/01/22 9:55 PM
I was only there for two weeks (per the Hong Kong VC-10 schedule) ... I had been sent to service the Rathbone Ten and the rest of the dental kit ready for the dentist's annual visit (also from HK - Osborn Barracks, for those who may remember it). Once that was done, it was jogging along the perfect beach every morning, waiting for the flight back.

There was an Army Air Corps flight (Scout helicopters) there at the time, and I was lucky enough to go up on a "patrol" one morning (AAC Sgt pilot - a good guy).

But my abiding memory was that I met (and spent a bit of time with) Eddie Lillico (RIP); SAS legend from the "Indonesian Confrontation".

Somehow, my stories about installing dental units, servicing anaesthesia machines, reviving x-ray sets and so forth tend to pale into insignificance when compared to exploits like that.
Posted By: John Sandham Re: Reds on the Run - 20/01/22 8:59 AM
The helicopter patrol must gave been great, but its a shame you couldn't have stayed a bit longer.
My stint in Belize was for 6 months. I had quite a few jaunts out in the Puma's. πŸ˜€
Posted By: Geoff Hannis Re: Reds on the Run - 20/01/22 3:52 PM
Yes; it would have been nice to linger a little longer, but there was no permanent "electro-med" tech post there. There was also my regular (and continuing) work to attend to back at the BMH (King's Park, Kowloon). Not to mention my first child being due to make an appearance in a month or two.

My last ride in an RAF helicopter would have been 47 years ago now. A Wessex out of HMS Tamar at low level across Hong Kong harbour to join an exercise up in the New Territories. I remember that one as a bloke refused to rope down from the hover. He was relatively senior, and I still remember his face - frozen in fear, the poor guy.

I don't remember much about the exercise itself, but (knowing the unit concerned) I imagine it was a bit "tame".
Posted By: John Sandham Re: Reds on the Run - 25/01/22 2:05 PM
Those were the days... :-)
Posted By: Blazingapostle Re: Reds on the Run - 30/01/22 2:35 PM
Those were the days eh? When there was still many destinations for overseas postings and detachments.
Sadly by the time I enlisted in '76 the closures had already started, most of the middle East had gone, Malta closed whilst I was in. Nowadays there's not much left in Germany and just Cyprus, oh and the exotic paradise Aka RAF Stanley!!

Geoff, you are absolutely correct it's a different service these days, you're not even allowed to shout at the little loves anymore!!!
Posted By: Geoff Hannis Re: Reds on the Run - 30/01/22 3:59 PM
It's all been a gradual whittling down since the Defence Review of 1966 (Wilson, Healey) ... "East of Suez", and all that.

Having said that, I'm told that the UK now spends more on Defence than does Russia! I can only assume that - in our case - that includes pensions ... and "cold sore" claims, and so forth.

But at least training in Oman and Kenya (as well as BATUS - Canada) is still on the cards.

About "shouting", "red cards" and all the rest ... soldiers trained under the "new regime" still produced the goods in Afghanistan.
Posted By: John Sandham Re: Reds on the Run - 31/01/22 3:58 PM
Time flies, but some of my fondest memories are from my time in the RAF. I have to say, I never really experienced much 'shouting'. I think the is more of an 'Army' thing wink
Anyone serving, past or present, gets my respect.

When you sign on that dotted line, you don't where, or what you might get involved in!
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