243421 Major Mike Alcock RAE, RAAOC ato (AS) JP
532411 Major Mike Alcock RAOC, RLC ato MBE
1973, Portsea, and all connected with that period in my life seems so far away now. Many things have happened and many things have been learned and forgotten. I will concentrate on the happy things with one exception.
After Grad I was posted to 1 FER in Holsworthy as Troop Commander 1 Troop, 1 Squadron, 1 FER, 1 Brigade. The first of the first of the first of the first. After a visit to Darwin 24 hours after Tracey I returned to Holsworthy and was soon posted to 2 Army Recruiting Unit, Castlereigh St Sydney where I flew a desk on the 22nd floor. Around that time I spilt up with my then wife (No1).
I was promoted to Lt for one day then Captain, a rank which I then held for ten years!! This was brought about because I changed Corps to RAAOC in 78 after completing the ATO Course. Well that wasn’t the only reason I guess. As a Captain I served in ARU, 13 Fd Sqn in Perth where I met my second wife Lyn, did the ATO Course then went back to Perth, then on to Brisbane while the Commonwealth Games were on, a spell in Canberra with PISCES, then, despite my mature age and dislike of Infantry I was posted to what turned out to be one of my most enjoyable postings in the Army – 5th/7th Battalion (Mech) The Royal Australian Regiment.
Promotion at last and I was back to Canberra as SATO EOD. From there I was hoping to get a two year exchange with the Brits but as I had 24 years up at that stage DCOS said he would be sending someone who he could get some time out of on his return. So I was asked if I wanted to change uniforms – what and see the rest of the world! Yes please!
So after 24 and a bit years I left Australia in 1989 for the Big, Bad Army of Britain.
The British Army is the same as the Australian Army – just five times bigger in all respects. Their ammunition quantities are 5x, their equipment quantities are 5x, their problems are 5x. It took me about a month before I got board “learning their system” so I was given a job reorganising the biggest ammunition depot in Western Europe. This was a very rewarding task and we achieved wonders – I am told that the Australian way of doing things was one of the reasons it was achieved When Aussies say they want something now they mean Now – not “tomorrow, maybe, if it’s not too much trouble!!”
Well Lyn passed away with cancer on September 11 1991. Ten years to the day before everyone else’s 9/11. My sons David and Christopher were 9 and 6 at the time. They are both now living in London and both involved in the music industry.
I was then posted to the Army School of Ammunition as a Senior Instructor, later to become the Chief Instructor. I left there in 1993.
This was where my life took a significant change. I married wife number three – but that didn’t last long! And I was posted as a Supply Manager of Clothing – who did I kill to deserve that?
To everyone’s surprise I became a bit of an expert on ceremonial clothing so ended up being posted to London. I was involved in a small way in the Logistic Support of the funeral of Princess Diana then I did a two year stint in Germany before returning to London a year before the Funeral of the Queen Mum. Log Spt for that one was a bit bigger and a couple of years later I received an MBE for my efforts. By this time I had married wife No 4 – Elizabeth – with whom I am still enjoying life.
I enjoyed the job of SO2 Ceremonial Requirements at HQ London District, Horse Guards, Whitehall – possibly enjoyed it too much because I got a few Pom backs up. This caused me to look at quality of life over my desire to serve the Army any longer – so after 44 years I told them to stick it.
I now live in a village in Northamptonshire where I am the Senior Vice President, Domestic Affairs with Maple Hollow Estates. It’s a small company, wife and I, and we have a number of properties which I do the maintenance on and Liz administers. Life is great when you work for yourself.
I do a lot of work with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution RNLI and we cruise around the world on big ships.
If you are in the UK – don’t forget to drop in and say hello – beds are always available!