This is the hardest of my “fantasy” biographies to write as I have never been in the military.
My dad was in the army though. He served in a field ambulance brigade and seems to have spent most of his time in service performing practical jokes, such as dropping flour bombs from spotter aircraft and putting up tents in ways that defied the laws of physics.
My time in Hungary led me into regular contact with the army, whenever I travelled across borders. There is nothing quite like a passport check on a lonely passenger train stopped at the border between two East European countries around the time of the Serbia-Croatia war in the early 1990s.
Furthermore, I worked closely with a comrade at Magyar Radio (Hungarian Radio) who was a rabid socialist and regaled me with many stories of the Red Army during his visits to Moscow at the height of the Cold War. The picture here is of me in an authentic Red Army hat, ready for a Russian theme party where I met my wife. Don’t ever let them tell you that girl pulling power of uniforms is a myth!!
Finally, I must tip my hat to Billy Bragg and his song “When the war is over” in which he hauntingly gives great insight into the human layer of war. I must say that after having children, I can never watch anyone get killed in movies or tv shows without being acutely aware that 18 or 26 or 40 or 50 years worth of parenting, struggle, education, nurturing and experience was just extinguished in a flash. I now see what the experts have been telling us all along – our mass saturation in violence on television and in film and computer games leads to desensitising. Such a pity.
I have found one other Steve Davis with army service – you can read him here, just in case I get confused with him.
If you are a fellow “Steve Davis” working in this field somewhere else in the world, leave a comment and link.