Celebrating Armed Forces Day

As we commemorate Armed Forces Day, we recognise the service and dedication of individuals like Anthony and Paul. 

Anthony Vines

Armed Forces Background & Roles

Anthony began his military career in 1989, joining the army as a craftsman. His initial 9 weeks of basic training were a period of intense character building, followed by 12 months of trade school. His first posting took him to Germany in 1990, where he found himself deployed on Operation Granby during the Gulf War. Serving with the armoured engineers, Anthony worked on vehicles and returned to the UK in May 1991. 

Anthony’s career continued with a focus on his trade as a metalsmith with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). His postings included another tour in Germany, a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia that quickly turned into conflict, and various assignments back in the UK. 

What motivated you to join the armed forces?

Reflecting on his decision to join the armed forces, Anthony shared, “There is more to life than just working a 9-5 job. You get the chance to do something different daily, normal work can be repetitive, which is unlike the armed forces.”. 

What skills did you learn in the armed forces that you still use today?

The skills Anthony acquired during his service have been invaluable in his civilian life. “Communication skills, confidence, and a sense of purpose are some of the key takeaways. The armed forces instil values and skills that set you on a path for life”. 

Anthony cherishes the lifelong friendships and experiences gained during his service. “The armed forces is a great life if it’s suited to you. The traveling, the friendships, the experiences – they are lifelong. All in all, it’s a great experience and I would do it all again”.

Paul Hanbury

Armed Forces Background & Roles

Paul’s journey began in 1980 with the Irish Army, where he served for 22 years. Starting as a welder, Paul was soon seconded to the transport unit. His commitment and skill led to his appointment as acting corporal after just 18 months. Paul’s diverse roles included armoured car instructor, small arms instructor, driving instructor, and more. 

Throughout his career, Paul undertook numerous overseas missions. His first trip to Lebanon in 1982 was followed by many more deployments with the UN, along with a mission to Cyprus. Towards the end of his time in the army he was training recruits and spent his last year in Lebanon before leaving the army. 

What motivated you to join the armed forces?

Paul’s motivation to join the army stemmed from a lifelong aspiration. “I always wanted to be a soldier. Growing up in Ireland, I would see the soldiers going past in Land Rovers, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do”. 

What skills did you learn in the armed forces that you still use today?

Paul’s time in the army equipped him with many life skills. “The army gives people pride in themselves, helps them accept responsibility, and builds team working skills. Many aspects of my current work such as courses and training are based around army structures”.

The structured and disciplined environment of the army has shaped Paul’s approach to life and work. “You learn to be diplomatic, not to react impulsively, and it builds character. These are skills for life”.