Left Right Left will be launching as a military memories section inside Pathfinder International from next month onwards.

Each issue will see a theme pertinent to that edition.

For the first supplement, Left Right Left are focussing on “my first day in the forces” and asking for veterans to submit their stories, even if they are only a sentence or two.

To get you in the mood, Pathfinder International Editor, Mal Robinson, recalls his first day in the RAF in February 2003…

It must have been one of the most uncomfortable journeys I have ever taken.

An early morning train ride from Newcastle to London King’s Cross with what seemed like four suitcases and bags in tow, me resplendent in a suit, unable to eat for nerves.

On arrival in London, I opted for a taxi ride from King’s Cross to Marylebone to catch the connection to Wendover station, the nearest to the recruit training camp of RAF Halton, Aylesbury. No way was I lugging this baggage on the tube in rush hour!

Once on the train to Buckinghamshire, you could guess who else was taking the same life changing trip as me. It wasn’t hard to spot; they were all mirror images of me, fidgeting in suits, struggling with cases, chewing on nails, looking out of the carriage windows.

Having followed my father around in the services, I was accustomed to a degree in military life. Yet, I had never had the focus on me in military terms.

We exited the train one by one, clambered over the bridge and there waiting for us all was the six foot frame of Corporal Halliwell, stick tucked underneath his arm, number one hat impeccably perched just above his eyes, growl and menace oozing from angle.



“Number 1 flight, proceed to the coach.”

That was it, no turning back now.

Send in your memories of your first day in the forces to[email protected] or write to Left Right Left, Pathfinder International, Gear House, Saltmeadows Road, Gateshead. NE8 3AH.