Probus given Further Amusing Glimpses of Army Life
This was the title of the talk given to the Probus Club of Basingstoke by retired Major General Peter Chambers and his wife Valerie. They had previously given a talk to this club for retired business and professional men in October 2012 which was so well received that they were invited to be the last speakers in the current season. This couple rose to the occasion with great aplomb with stories about their experiences as Peter advanced up the ranks to become Deputy Chief of Staff UK Land Forces while Valerie had to cope with the pressures of domestic issues with various postings and housing problems.
Valerie and Peter described various incidents and aspects of life in some of the places they had lived and served. They spoke of amusing and light hearted experiences though occasionally with a serious undertone. They were able to give glimpses of the variety and advantages of service life whilst Peter expressed some concerns about current military capability.
They lived in Germany, on and off, for 12 years during the Cold War. Inevitably therefore, much of their talk was focussed on service life in Germany and in particular on Berlin. They quoted many examples of soldiers’ humour and of the resilience of Army wives, whose husbands spent long periods away from home on operations and training. Valerie described what life was like living in married quarters, a subject she knew something about as they had 26 moves in 33 years service!
They have recently returned from a visit to Moscow. This was essentially an international reunion of officers and civil servants who had attended a year’s course at the London based Royal College of Defence Studies in the 1990s when Peter was the Senior Army Member on the teaching staff. They were in Moscow for the May Day Parade and for the build up to the Victory Day Parade on 9th May and described some aspects of the atmosphere there during this period.