To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Army Medical Corps-tn

Brian Spencer McKay

McKay-Brian -Gulf 1991-tn

Born 1971

Royal Army Medical Corps

Photo - Gulf 1991

Brian retired from the RAMC in 2012 after 25.5 years. This page does not tell all of Brian’s story, he deserves a book. This is his story in his own words. Some light moments and some very dark.


Signing Up

I took the oath of allegiance on the 15th August 1988, and received 28.52 pay for signing up, but it wasn't that simple. Two months earlier I went to our local recruiting office at Kitchener House, which is in Stafford in the west midlands, where I used to parade with an Army Cadet, Corpse of Drums.  I was a trumpeter and flutist, that's the military Bb Fife type. which I had been involved with since I was 13.  Anyway two moths later I failed the selection, they said I was too young and to try again next year.

My brother Douglas was home on leave at the time, he was Special OPs with the Artillery 16  Op Battery stationed in Dortmund, West Germany as it was at the time. He took me to the Artillery recruiting office up at Crew, looking for a back door, and told them what had happened, “don't worry” they said “by the time Stafford sends in all the paperwork of your recruitment we will have you in”.

I went back the following week on my own, their OC had just changed, and wasn't aware of our arrangement.  He said that it would make more sense to carry on with my recruitment at Stafford than Crew as it was a bit of a trek away. I was obviously visibly concerned and this chap knew that,  he questioned my apprehension so I told him everything, he laughed and called others in and told them the story.  They said go now, and go straight to the recruiting office in Stafford, so I left not knowing what kind of a reception I was going to receive at Stafford, one of the longest journeys I have ever done actually.

 I arrived at Kitchener House at about 3pm and they were all waiting for me.  Very stern faced, I was now petrified, and they knew this. One of the Sergeants winked at me so I new I was going to be OK.  Their OC called me back into the office.

His exact words were, “I suppose your going to Uttoxeter next are you”.

Being very ballsy I said “I already have”  which I hadn't.

He smiled and said “I suppose we better get you in before you cause us any more trouble”

Two months later I was called in and given my marching orders. 5th October was my first day at Keogh Barracks that's at Michett, Aldershot where I started my basic training.



Two weeks into basic training I broke two bones in my foot, a nasty break. They were going to send me home I asked to stay there which they agreed.

I went through Basic three times in the end as I wasn't fit enough to pass off until the third time. I passed of in January 1989.

I was training as a medic at that time, one of the instructors came in and said:-

“Any one got a brother in Northern Ireland with the Artillery”

I stood up and said “Yes Sergeant”

“Not any more” he replied.

Complete silence in the class room.

He said “Neh, only joking can you give him a call please”. “He just wanted to let me know he was all right”.

It was my brother Douglas who was in Northern Ireland at the time. It was a terrible tour he lost some mates.

Douglas himself was blown up by one of the largest car bombs ever created, it took out the whole street they were patrolling and his patrol all sustained injuries.

Mckay-Brian - dougy-tn

My brother, Douglas McKay took part in the funeral procession at Diana’s funeral in London.

McKay-Brian - Garry-tn

My other brother Gary McKay met the Queen in London, he had left the Guards in 1985.

Both Douglas and Gary completed many tours of  Northern Ireland, they had both been blown up at different points.


Formally Signed Up

On the 11th March 1989 I was 18, and I was called into my troop commanders office and asked as now 18 years old, I had to formally sign up. So I took the 22 year option which gave me an extra 22 pence a day, which I later found out was the equivalent of three bottles of Becks from the NAAFI bar in Germany.




At the end of March I was in Germany at the Fourth Armed Field Ambulance, part of Eleven Armoured Brigade.

mcKay-Brian - Exercise Minden North 1990 Crash Out of Barracks of to fight the peski rushons

We were in Minden, life was very good, a normal weekend would start with battle PT on a Friday morning, then we would go straight into the Bar at 12 for ‘Hails’ and ‘Fair Wells’, that's for guys arriving and leaving, speeches presentations and loads of beer.


The chefs used get quite agitated as no one would turn up for lunch, So they would drag it over to the bar for us. The bar was next to the cook house. Some time before tea we would  fall out of the bar, go back to the accommodation, shower change, go grab dinner and go to the bar just outside the camp gates called the Shack, and It was a shack.  We would stay their until the NAAFI bar reopened at 7pm., Back to the bar we would go, it was 30 phenigs for a bottle of Becks, stay there until close at 11.30, then back to the shack till about 1 or 2 in the morning, then go down town find a club until about 4, then find a coffee shop for the rest of the morning, back to camp, sleep till Saturday lunch time, then NAAFI bar, Shack, Bar, Shack, town, coffee shop, camp, crawl back into camp for about 7am on Monday morning, into uniform, breakfast then RSMs parade at 8am.

We were all skint by the end of the second week of the month.  So how did we get extra cash, or beer coupons we called it. One month I went to the paymaster to ask for an advance of pay which they could do at the strike of a pen, he got really snotty and shouted, “Another one! cant you get any money from home or something” -  so I said "Barnardo's don't really lend money".

“Hmm, Hmm , OK don't worry, every things OK we can sort you something out”, a huge change in attitude and one to sympathy, I didn't mind because I wanted to go out that weekend with the boys.  I had no respect for money back then. We were clothed, fed and had a roof over our heads so money was just that. Beer coupons.

4th Armoured Div. Transport regiment used to be located just down the road, they would some times come down to the shack looking for aggro, which they would find in abundance. Christina was the land lady of the Shack she would always keep the bear and snaps coming. But when ever the Div. boys turned up there was always a scrap. She used to throw canisters of CS gass onto the floor to break it up.

At one time the Royal Military Police turned up and let their dog loose on us. One of my mates was John Chaplow a driver in the Royal Corpse of Transport as it was called back then. I’ll never forget it. The dog went for him so he launched at it dragged it to the ground and bit its ear, took quite a chunk out of it actually. He got two months in Colchester for that. I was his escort through the trial, which was held at 11 armed Brigade's HQ and Court Martial Centre, located with us at Minded at Kingsley Barracks. The Royal Military Police were also located with us, so we were never really able to run to far away , besides they knew us all and we knew them so no point in running.

RSM's Parade was always interesting, I'm sure he loved his boys. He always looked out for us. Christ he could shout and scream, but that was about it.  It was always best that if you knew you were in the sh! up to your knees, it would go straight up to the office after RSM parade and tell him all about it, before he got it from anyone else.


Keenwind Red

Prepare for Active Edge

The unit was on a three month war cycle should the Russians ever advance we would be called out to our local crash out area. For us it was Minden North to set up a dressing station to provide medical services for the local battalions who were responsible for protecting the Minden Pass, the only break through the mountains for miles. The Minden ridge last part of the Herzs mountains and River Waser.  

The crash out consisted of the guard running round all the accommodation shouting “Keenwind Red, prepare for active edge”.

We would immediately get up get into uniform grab our GO bags, which is basically all our equipment, straight down to the armoury, then up to the section load up all the vehicles and go out, it generally lead up to a large exercise. They were a real pain in the Arse I can tell you. We always new when was going down as around 2100 hrs the lights in the HQ would be on and all the officers would be in.

For those of us that knew, it was a race to the guard room to sign out for the evening then get the hell out of dodge. We would get back at about 12, 1 or even 2 in the morning, sober-ish, by then all the dicking around had been completed and the vehicles loaded. One particular winter one guy hid in the local bank. Then there were no cash machines on outside walls, but there was a separate room that you used your bank card to get into out of hours to use that cash  machine only. Always warm and dry. 

There was three significant crash out during my time. The first was at 1500 hrs on a Saturday. We were all on parade and told that one of the local battalions had lost a tank, it was the Argyle & Sutherland Highlander's, so we had to go searching for it.

We all agreed that we would notice if a tank came into barracks. It turns out this tank was now on its way to the UK., the driver flipped his lid and decided to go AWOL, with a tank, he didn't get to far as he couldn't fuel it and the Germans guessed that something wasn't quite right when a loan tank was hoofing it down the autobahn.

The second significant crash out was in response to some IRA bombings in Germany. We were all on parade and told that we had to secure the camp with netting over the fence and three layer of barbed  wire. It took two straight days and nights to erect this around the perimeter of the camp. The weather was foul and a thunder storm on the second day. The fence were I was working got struck by lightening and I was thrown about 15 feet away. I was very lucky I didn’t get burnt so I was stood down for a few hours to recover.

The final crash out was for the Gulf war. We were called in on a Saturday afternoon, grabbed all our kit, put on busses then sent to Bergen Hohne. That was the location of 1 Armoured Field Ambulance. We stayed there in the Attacks of the barracks until we were deployed.  We managed to get a rugby team together to go and play a game in Berlin with the field hospital that was located there. The boys went out that night. Berlin erupted with Germany's reunification, and the Berlin wall came down, chunk by chunk, most of which ended up on the busses and came back to Minden with us. My mate Vini had a chunk that was so big it took two of them to carry it.

The following weekend we were sent back to Minden to box all our possessions up just in case we didn't return from the Gulf.  When we arrived in Minded the Sergeant Major cam on the bus and said any one planning on going down town tonight and causing trouble with the locals, “Just remember there is another sixteen and a half million of them now”.


Gulf War

1990/08/02 - 1991/02/28

Gulf 1 & 2

I was in a section of ten blokes, Xray Section, we were an ambulance exchange post. Basically we would take casualties from armoured ambulances and place them onto soft skin ambulances and send them on to the dressing station. We were also helicopter deployable and had two land rovers and two trailers.

When we left from Hanover Airport, it was so strange as we were fully armed, wearing all our kit, carrying ammunition and smoke grenades, we just casually walked through the whole airport, through all the metal detectors, alarms going off left right and centre and we were just waved through it was so surreal. We were on a C130 Hercules Just the ten of us, with all our vehicles and equipment. It was a great journey we had loads of space. The whole aircraft was just for us. We stopped in in Cypress for to refuel the aircraft. Two hours we stayed there before continuing with our journey to Al Jebile.  We landed in the early hours on the 5th October 1990. I stepped of the aircraft and was smashed in the face with the heat and humidity, I never experienced anything like it before, within seconds the sweat just pored of me it was like that for the next few weeks.

We set up a medical post at the Port of Al Jebile for all the troop movements that were coming in, it was pretty standard stuff. I remember some soldiers arriving at Al Jebile had been given what we were to call  "brown letters", a result from ‘Options For Change’, basically telling some guys they were going to be let go by the forces, made redundant.

We had some casualties whilst we were there but nothing really significant.  We had no protection equipment like flack jackets or desert boots, and only had one set of desert combats. The rest of our clothing was for temperate conditions such as the climate we would get in the deep winter of West Germany, so that was really useful.  We were fed by the Americans "Meals Ready To Eat" MRE or Meals Refused by Ethiopians as we like to call them.

We were eventually deployed out to the deep desert, which was much better. No longer suffered with the coastal humidity.  We still had no desert kit and very little ammunition. Your medics, why do you need loads of ammunition!! we were told. We only had 20 rounds each, that's 5 more than the lads had in Singapore in 1942.  But Actually we didn't need any more.

Moving around the desert in vehicles was a task, drive five minutes and spend thirty minutes digging the vehicle out of the sand, made worse by dragging trailers around. We got rid of the trailers in the end and attached all our kit to the roofs of the land rovers. We looked like a bunch of early American settlers. Pans hanging of the side of the trucks for example..  

The air invasion soon started - I remember early evening looking up watching all the B52 flying over head on there way to bomb Iraq. Twenty-four hours before the final push we were so close to the boarder the horizon was lit up with the glow of burning towns. We sat in the tent together playing cards and could feel the distant booms of exploding ordinance and every now and again dust would fall from the tent poles above us and settle on our card table. We used HPP tilly lamps back then and they would flicker in time with the shelling

We moved that night ready for the final push and set up at an ambulance exchange location. About four o’clock  in the morning to awoke to two batteries of MLRS, Multiple Launch Rocket System. Each one of those vehicles could flatten a 1 km square area, they provided us with a grid removal service. The problem was they were doing shoot and scoot. So they would turn up at a location fire there missiles and run before they can be found or receive enemy fire. So it was a panic to get out of there.  I will never forget the night sky being lit up by all these rockets being launched it was incredible. There must have been about 80 or 90 missiles launched, and the sound of it will never be forgotten. We still had very little desert kit, some of us by now procured our own desert boots.

About 26th February we made our run through the Breach into Iraq and travelled for three days and nights straight, no stopping, no food, only for fuel, everything was on the go, it was just push, push, push. We drove through many  cleared mine fields. Some POWs tried to surrender but nothing could stop the momentum. We just went through them, a few bottles of water and a box of food, pointed to where they should go. We did pick up some PoWs when things slowed down a bit.

The following day 27th, at about 1230 hrs I remember it being like dusk. We drove through the following day, and all through the night waiting for morning to break and it never actually did, we couldn't understand why, it was so dark it turns out it was because of all the pollution from the burning oil fields.

McKay-Brian - and Iraq POWs 1991- tn

I’m particularly proud of the Iraq PoWs from the gulf war.  I was just 20 then, note the we kid at my side. Half starved like the rest of them, they were clothed in rags so we clothed them. They were so scared you would not believe.

Their camp was deep in the desert, and Sadam had mined them in so there was no escape for these poor guys. They couldn't come forward to surrender and they couldn't retreat either. We had to go and get them.  but just before that photo was taken we were moving in a convoy. A standing order was if we had to stop anywhere for a lengthy period of time we had to dig shell scrapes which is like a shallow trench in case of air or missile attacks.  We gave the prisoners shovels and asked them to dig theirs to. They became incredibly agitated indeed. we asked them what was wrong and they honestly thought  we were going to kill them all. I'm sure you can imagine the scene.  We fed them very well, and tried to communicate with them,  managed to get some laughs, then the tension broke and all was well.  I Think the icebreaker was the fact that one of the PoWs was a medic like me that I bonded with and we both started to treat the others that were either sick or injured. He had full access to my medical kit which was noticed by his comrades and I think that did the trick, that's what I like to believe any way.

On the cease fire in 1991 we found a few Guns (AK47s) ammunition and a box of L2 grenades and a can of primers.

McKay-Brian - Day of Cease Fire 1991, Playing with a captured RPG

Bearing in mind the tense cease fire , Dave and I drove miles out into the desert, away from every one. or so we thought, to have a little fun with our booty.

Dave, being an ex para thought it would be a good idea to show me how to do bunker busting. So we were throwing all these grenades around at this bombed out bunker complex we found, firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition into the desert thinking we were Rambo,  Next thing we new a US Humvee appeared on the sand dune above us. He wasn’t too impressed with us which I guessed at the choice of language he used. Anyhow we started to drive away, and just the other side of the sand dune, where the Humvee came from, was probably half the US army parked up, and now stood too, artillery guns and tanks now exposed ready for a scrap, US marines running around getting kitted up and re armed, and there's  Dave and I in our little land rover with huge red crosses painted on the side thinking to our selves Oops - how the hell are we going to explain this one.

They were waiting for us when we got back to our location.  Well the Commanding Officer came over and laid into us big time. Yes it was an international incident but it was so severe what we had just done it just had to be covered up and because of the implications of it we had no choice but to get away with it. We were just a couple of naughty school boys having fun in the deep desert. Seven months later I was promoted to Lance Corporal by the same Commanding Officer.

I managed to get out exploring again with some infantry guys that herd about our bunker busting, they wanted me to take them to this bunker complex we found. So we eventually found our way back there and we explored the bunker complex and found an enemy armoury packed with almost every foreign weapon and ammunition you could think of. I got I nice AK47 bayonet which I kept and still have it today. Finding an armoury like that was like a dream come true and it was all ours until normality set in that is and we calmed down a little.

We heard about the Blue on Blue attack where the US A10s hit two of our warriors and killed the occupants. Some US came into our location shortly after for a visit as they were near by. We all ran out waving white T shirts and bandages shouting we surrender, we surrender, others joined us holding up their hands, we thought it was quite funny actually, they got really offended and left. 

We eventually made are way out of the desert by Chinook and back to some sort of normality. We de kited in a local camp near Al Jibile, handed in our ammunition, weapons, and an amnesty to hand in things that we had picked up like enemy weapons, ammunition or parts there of, which we honoured of course, and we were finally given our desert boots. We were flying back to Germany the following day so I threw mine in the bin, along with every one else. There were boots every where, enemy weapons, ammunition, rockets. There was just piles of stuff every where.



1991 - 1992

Life in Germany soon returned to the normal, I was soon promoted to L/CPl, and sent off to Canada, Medicine Hat for a month with the Royal Artillery. They were the last ever unit to fire the Abbot Artillery guns, before the 109s came into service.  It was a very successful artillery firing camp. The last exercise out there was a battery firing  mission. The battery would split into two, five miles apart and fire at each other location with high explosives. I mean these guys were good.  They were dropping shells 200 meters in front of each others location. Everything was going well until they changed to smoke filled ammunition. I was in a 432 Armoured Ambulance at the time and my vehicle was hit by one of these shells, right on the corner of the roof and walls of the vehicle which was its strongest point. I never heard a noise like it, I was deafened for weeks after that. I could fit the whole of my fore arm in the dent it made. We were very lucky. It could have killed us.


Bosnian War

1992/04/06 - 1995/12/04

Bosnia x 3

In 1992 we hit Bosnia in the Forma Republic of Yugoslavia. There was no mandate back then, just observe and self defence. Under no circumstances were we to engage in fighting unless we alone were in danger.

I have seen the very best and very worst of humanity, I witnessed the atrocities in the former republic of Yugoslavia and the excavation of mass graves.

This was at a time of ethnic cleansing, mass graves, mutilations, and torture.

Not a time to look back on. I later burnt all my film negatives of that period.

I returned to Bosnia in 1996 and 2002 under better circumstances. In the first return we helped to rebuild an orphanage in Split.


Married to Julie


McKay-Brian - Wedding 1986 1-tn

Julie Suzane Craig Rings Brian Spencer McKay

We were married in 1996 at the garrison Church in Woolwich, London where I was serving at the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital.  A fabulous day, we went for a full military wedding we had piper, two cavalry fanfare trumpeters, a horse and carriage from Kings troop. We had three pages who were in uniform.

McKay-Brian - Wedding 3-tn

McKay-Brian - Wedding 1996 2-tn




In October 1999 I was Posted to Padabourne in Germany as a sergeant.

Our daughter Elizabeth was borne at St Vincent Krankenhouse in Paderborne.  I told her once that as she was born in Germany she was part German and would have to go back there when she is 18 to complete the German national service. That really didn't go down very well.




In 2002 I deployed to Bosinia for the second time, this time we helped rebuild a school in Sipovo.

Whist we were there our parent unit 3 Armoured Filed Ambulance amalgamated into 1 Close Support Medical Regiment and posted onto Munster.




So when we returned from ops we went straight to Munster, our families moved when we returned.

It was at Munster I got very pally with the Royal Dragoon Guards. I was in fact their medial sergeant. So when they went out on ops or exercise my section was there supporting medical facility.

McKay-Brian - BAOR Munster 2006

I ended up joining their pipes and drums which was how I got in to playing the bagpipes. Photo BAOR Munster.

Mckay-Brian - 2002

McKay-Brian - 2003-tn



When I  left Munster to go out to Oman with the Royal Dragoon Guards, I had to hand my band uniform back in. So I had my own made. The kilt and plaid is the Mckay Dress tartan. which I wore from about 2002 onwards and I wore that to honour the family name.

The family hails from Halkirk and were decimated during the great highland clearances, spread to the four winds, which  means I can only trace my Mckay ancestors back to 1744.

The terrors of the great highland clearances are another grewsome story. Queen Victoria's Piper was a Mckay a distant relation  not exactly direct ancestor but close enough for my liking he was a brother of my 3rd great grandfather I think. There has always been a Mackay close to the monarch, well kind of, until recent years that is.

My fathers side of the family are all Scots with a rich and vibrant history of which gets very muddy for events preceding the Boar wars.  There was enough Mckays back then to warrant their own phone book if you know what I mean.  Family groups lived quite close together in those days so its relatively easy to pick up names from villages and tie them down to drawing the king's shilling. But that's another journey I will undertake this year.




McKay-Brian - Summer ball at Bergan HohneI was stationed at Bergen-Hohne for a while attached to the 3rd Royal Horse Artillery a cavalry regiment that had the 109 artillery guns, I was with them for about a year I was well established as a Sergeant by now and had my own boys and girls to look after.


We were again deployed back out to the gulf again an unremarkable tour really. I was to be posted again with promotion to SSGt to Bordon in Hampshire where I served as a corporal before. I was now the practice manager of a GP medical surgery.

 By 2009 I was posted to central London working for the MOD at white hall. My practice was now at St Thomas's hospital. I had a whole floor of one of their out building dedicated to the ministry of magic, I mean MOD main, no I was right the first time. I was still a practice manager / chief arse wipe to the gentry was my real title.

While in London, I stood in reception when a junior officer from the Royal Navy started to tear a strip off me because one of the doctors was late for his appointment. I tried to explain that some times doctors do run over for complicated cases, well he continued to be very unpleasant. What he didn't notice was that behind him stood the chap that was holding up the doctor. This officer was really being nasty and mean, so this chap stepped forward and said in a very calm quite voice “Please don't shout at the staff sergeant like that, I was the reason why the doctor is late for your appointment and Im sorry. Why don't you come and speak to me about it when you have finished here. Do you know where my office is, if you don't I suggest you find out!!” It was only the First Sea Lord, and cousin to the queen. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that conversation.

I was given the opportunity to serve in Afghanistan, I deployed as an emergency which was a huge bonus because I didn't have to go through all the pre-deployment training packages, that normally happens.

I was given all my new desert kit and managed to get it home and sort through it all with a little help from LIzzy.

McKay-brian - getting ready for Afghanistan summer 2009-tn


 Afghanistan 2009

Afghanistan x 2

 So a month later I was on my way to camp Bastion where I stayed for four months. It was an interesting tour because the Danish field hospital had control over the hospital and I was working with them. They were truly amazing. The summer of 2009 was the worst year of all. There were severe casualties most days, the day I arrived there were six killed in action, you may recall the six returning to the UK on the news reels.

My roll at the hospital was a data manager, I was able analyse the casualty reports and suggest the likely hood of injuries that would be sustained depending on the type of vehicles being used. During emergencies I was drafted in to be a Trauma Nurse Co-ordinator. This was basically a scribe that would record events of treatment as they arrive in A&E, and get a complete record of events. Casualties were categorised as LT, RT, and Hold.

LT stood for left turn - the Morgue.

RT stood for right turn - into theatre.

Hold - was  waiting for theatre.

One of the surgeons at the time had been there four months and she reported to have completed 430 amputations in her time. Some double, some triple, most single, and one quad, and that was for all nations and civilians. I would usually jump in where ever I was needed. That could have been triage at reception with getting the casualties of the ambulance to running a treatment bay in A&E.  

McKay-Brian - Afghanistan 2009-tn

Serving with the Danish Field Hospital at the hospital in Camp Bastion, we unloading a poor little girl that had to amputate her leg as it was too badly injured.

A week later she was found by a patrol dumped in the desert.

What could the family do with a daughter that was disabled, no money for after care,  how would they marry her off, how would she work?

They didn't even leave here where she could be easily found. Life can be cheap in third world countries.

I completely finished my tour of Afghanistan after 4.5  months. Got home the following January only to be asked could I possibly go back out again for a few weeks. I agreed and deployed once again on a very short second tour.


Final Years in Service


In 20I0 I was posted from central London and went back to Bordon, now my third and final tour.

I had extended my terms of service so I could go out to Afghanistan, so by now I was getting a little long in the tooth and was ready to go.

By 2011 I new I had made a huge mistake by extending service beyond 22 years and really ready to go.

In October 2012 I jacked up a job with Openreach and asked the Army to let me go 6 months earlier, they refused, so I contacted my desk officer up at Glasgow and it turned out to be my most oldest and closes friend, Des. He had taken a commission a number of years ago and was now a Major and our desk officer. He said not to worry, an hour after I got of the phone my discharge papers were sent to my Regimental Head Quarters, they tried to give me a telling off. I told them to shove it and there was nothing they could do about it, and I'm taking a few weeks as of next week.  These were just corporate idiots in a training establishment used to dealing with recruits that I had no loyalties to.

Looking back to my early Bosnia, and Afghanistan days are a little vague, its just not a journey I'm ready to re live yet. Some things are probably best left where they are, and those idiots that say or your best to talk about things and bring them out, exercise those demons are simply full of sh*t.

I do have two anecdotes about Afghanistan. The First being we had a PIZZA hut outside the NAFFI which is up by the hospital. I remember some guys complaining that they couldn't get the pizza they wanted because the hut had run out of those toppings. They were quite rude in fact. So I chirped up and said don't have a go at these guys, have a go at the driver of the truck that was bringing there replenishments in.

“Where are they then?”  one of them said.

“Well the driver is up in the hospital missing a leg and the passenger is in the morgue” I quickly responded.

My second day at the hospital I found my way down to the NAAFI for a drink, I was sat outside and a bunch of guys just arrived in for RnR from up country. These guys looked like walking scare crows, eyes sunken in with dark rings round them, protruding cheek bones. Then I realised that they weren't the old and bold squaddie, these were just kids, about 18, possibly 19. They just sat there staring into nothing, hardly anyone was speaking, just sat there staring into the distance. It was a moment in time that I will never forget, I desperately wanted to speak with them so I did...…………………………………………………………




McKay-Brian - Openreach

I now work for BT Openreach, and work with many ex servicemen who all speak the same language its like I never left the forces actually.


Family Service History

My Grandfather John Allen Brereton was in the RCOS captured at Java and became a Japanese PoW, died when the Tamahoho Maru was sunk by USS Tang just off Nagasaki.

My uncle George was Argyle & Southern Highlanders, there at Bergen Belsen when they opened the gates, I was stationed there for a while at Bergen Hohne with my little family.

My other uncle was in Greece when the Germans captured it and escaped on a small fishing boat which broke down and had to dismantle some of the boat to make oars to get away, captured and put in a stalag in Italy , until Italy capitulated, walked out through the gates on the following morning and made there way up to Switzerland living of the land for three months until being captured 2 miles from the Swiss border, then ended up in a German stalag, escaped from there, then recaptured.

A great uncle fell at Flanders.

My Grandmother was with the VAD and served at Salonica,  Red Cross V.A.D    

Great uncle during the Boar wars, and again at the Benpantha uprising at the turn of the century.

I mentioned about my great grandfather Mckay serving in Africa. He was in  party of 150 Natal colonials, which included a party of 25 stretcher bearers which were led by the one and  only WO2 Sergeant Major Ghandi.

My Uncle was in black watch, pipes and drums, plaid at the white house, 6 days before Kennedy's assassination.

My eldest brother ended up as WO1 RSM Kings Troop and led Princess Diana's funeral march through London.

My other Brother 1st battalion Grenadier Guards.

My other Grandad served in Royal Navy, had many posting to the royal yacht.

My other Grandad Scots Guards served in both wars actually.

An uncle in the honourable Royal Artillery company.


Information & Photos

Brian McKay


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