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#RealPeople #RealLives – John

Retirement Living - interesting resident story - John the Marine

John was born in Nottingham in 1948 and is the eldest of four brothers and two sisters. He left school in 1963, after doing a few different casual jobs, and decided he wanted to see the world. So, in 1966, just ten days before his 18th birthday, John joined the Navy and became a Marine Commando.

The basic training in Deal, Kent, took a gruelling nine months to complete but he was soon given an assignment and sent off as part of the 42 Commando Unit to Singapore.

He then went onto Malaysia, spending time on exercise in the jungle where John recalls that they “often got soaked with warm rain, but it would disappear as quickly as it had arrived”. However, John says that the main problem in the jungle were the leaches. The Marines were issued with high legged lace up boots, which were designed to go over the long uniform trousers to stop leaches from going underneath and onto your legs. Then, at night time when the Marines stopped to make camp, they would strip off and check each other’s bodies for leaches before preparing for bed.

As they weren’t able to carry drinking water, the only way to purify water from the nearby streams and rivers was to add two types of purifying tablets - one white and one blue. The water would then pass through a canvas bag and would take around three hours to just get around one pint of water.

After a few month spent supporting evacuation of troops out of Aden, in the Yemen (due to an uprising in the area in 1968), John was sent to Norway. As you can imagine the change in climate was a sharp contrast to his experiences in the jungle and he spent nine cold months on exercise there. His toes became ravaged with frostbite, but luckily he managed to get treatment just in time to stop the frostbite from having a lasting effect.

Later, in 1969, John left the Royal Marines and became a builder. He got married and had two beautiful children.

Since leaving the Marines John has always been an active member of the local ex-services club. Last year he wore his uniform during the lead up to Armistice Day, selling poppies at his local Sainsbury’s supermarket, where he managed to raise a whopping £8,135.17. - What an amazing achievement and what an overall amazing guy!