The first time I really realised my life was different to my peers was when I went to boarding school. Before that it had never crossed my mind. I never questioned all the moving - it was just what we did with Dad’s job. We never knew the title ‘service children’.
When I look back, post boarding school days, my memories are of amazing places to live. As we were living in married quarters, we were able to spend all day out playing. It was a safe carefree time. When I was eight in 1958 my Dad was posted to Cyprus. It was a magical place - we lived through curfews, barbed wire fences along the beaches, glorious weather, barbecues, sunshine and lots of happiness swimming in glorious unpolluted seas. I went to school in RAF Akrotiri. It was a modern school and I had an inspiring teacher. I loved growing up there. It truly changed my perspective on life.
The only blight on this experience was my older brothers went to boarding school before we returned to the UK, so I really missed the family all being together.
When we came back to the UK it was so lovely to see my Grandparents again. When I went to boarding school, they became a vital part of my family especially when Dad was posted to Germany. Boarding school put you in the frame of mind where you missed being home and when you were home you dreaded going back! That was the hardest part - eight years away from home. I never got used to it, but I am very grateful to all the friends I met along the way.
Service life taught me to be resilient and optimistic. I made friends with my peers at school and also with friends at the RAF stations wherever Dad was based, during the school holidays.
We had a great time. We always saw it as an adventure.
My Dad was a keen photographer and it’s still wonderful to look back on our lives as Forces children and remember all the amazing places and wonderful people we met along the way.
He would be very proud to know his photographs here.