The old adage of “look after your kit and your kit will look after you” rings very true.
Here is my original beret, belt and fighting knife issued to me back in the mid 1970s. A little rough around the edges, a little threadbare, heavy but acceptable patina…much like myself today. However, still in OK working order given the years gone by, the miles traveled, and the campaigns fought.
It seems like only yesterday that I was issued the kit, and the basics of kit at that, yet to every new Trooper, the rarest and most important items of our military careers.
It was a great chapter in my life, starting at the age of 17 with 3 years in the RAF Regiment’s Para Squadron, 2 (Field) Squadron.
Off onto 22 SAS Regiment’s Selection course with one excellent officer passing, and five other ranks…myself being the only Tom.
The day that we few were taken into a room, given a brief talking to, and then thrown the SAS beret was the greatest military moment of my life…it’s as clear today as it was back then.
The beginning of an almost 20 year terrific adventure with 22 SAS Regiment.
Given the old adage mentioned, those items still look after me today. Having left the gates of Stirling Lines over 25 years ago now, they simply give me the ability to think back, and reminisce. By looking, touching, smelling and hearing them…yes hearing… because they talk to me.
Of course I would never have thought about today way back then…but I’m really glad that I looked after my kit now.
Bob Shepherd’s beret, regimental stable belt and fighting knife, laid on a para smock alongside an escape map of a Middle Eastern country.