An Alton woman has looked back on her life in the military while the country was still recovering from the ravages of the Second World War.
Sally Gordon, 80, is too young to remember the war.
But while Europe commemorates this year’s Victory In Europe (VE) Day – which marks 78 years since the end of the war in Europe, when Germany unconditionally surrendered its armed forces – Sally was reflecting on her time in the Army, serving in The Royal Signals.
Sally, a resident at The Lawn, Friends of the Elderly’s residential care home in Alton, said: “I enlisted as I wanted to join up – it was something I felt I had to do.
“The day I joined, three or four others enlisted with me.
“It was a lot of fun, but you had to know what you were doing – it was serious work.
“I enlisted as I needed freedom and structure. You had options as to which regiment you could join and I chose The Royal Signals.”
The Royal Corps of Signals is one of the combat support arms of the British Army. Signals units are among the first into action, providing the battlefield communications and information systems essential to all operations.
“My training was fun but hard work as well, with lots of marching and physical training.
“We were one big family and were always up to mischief, but we never broke the rules.
“Marching used to be fun and someone would always do something wrong, so we would have to start all over again. We played pranks on each other all the time – but I’m not repeating any to you...”
Sally met her husband Richard during her time in the Army, who also served in The Royal Signals.
“One day when I was with two girlfriends in the billet, a shelter for the troops where we could gather when we were off duty, having a chat, this man walked in,” she said.
“He asked one of my friends if she had any money so he could get a beer.
“She said ‘sorry, no’ – but he kept on and on.
“In the end I gave him money so he would leave.
“He said to me he’d love me forever – and he did, as about three months later we were married.
“I left the military as Richard was posted to Germany and, as his wife, I went with him. We had a lovely life together.
“Being in the military was the best time of my life. It was structured and gave me stability.
“If I hadn’t enlisted, I wouldn’t have met my caring, loving husband. He was a wonderful man who would do anything for anyone – he really was the gentlest man I’ve ever known.
“I would definitely recommend military life to anyone – it’s the best life ever.”
Alina Gutu, the registered manager at The Lawn, said: “Sally is such an interesting lady, full of wonderful stories and tales – she’s a real character.
“Sally is always up for getting involved in the many activities we have going on and has many friends here she’s often reminiscing with. She’s a joy to have here at The Lawn.”