My name is Mike Williams and I now live in Warminster, Wiltshire in the UK. I work for an American Defence Company on Salisbury Plain and at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Canada where the British Army conducts formation training in preparation for operations.
Although born in Devon, I was brought up in Cornwall and due to lack of work I decided to join the British Army. I completed my training and joined the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment in 1979. My first posting was to the Demonstration Squadron at Warminster. Initially I was a Main Battle Tank (MBT) gunner, and remained so for about 2 years.
During this period the Regiment re-located to Paderborn in Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). During this stage of my career I also attended and successfully passed a Gunnery Instructors course at the RAC Gunnery School at Lulworth in Dorset. I also completed my Tank Commander’s course at the RAC Centre in Bovington, Dorset.
Unfortunately, the next 2 years were spent at the RAC Centre as a Troop Corporal, not tank commanding, but looking after a large fleet of CVRT vehicles in support of the RAC Centre courses, whilst the Regiment was the RAC Centre Regiment. At the end of the 2 years I attended the RAC Gunnery School Cadre and completed this successfully after which I became a Schools Gunnery Instructor at the Gunnery School for 2 years. On completion of my tour at Lulworth I returned to the Regiment which had relocated back to Dielinghofen in Germany during this period.
At Dielinghofen it was announced that as part of the planned reduction in size of the British Army the Regiment were to be amalgamated with 2RTR in Fallingbostel near Hannover. I moved to Fallingbostel and was part of the newly formed 2RTR.
After 18 months in 2RTR I was posted back to the Gunnery School at Lulworth to work on Challenger 2 and remained doing this for 3 years after which I was posted to the Middle East to work with His Majesty the Sultan of Oman’s Army who are equipped with Challenger 2, M60 A3 MBT and Scorpion light tanks.
I spent very nearly 24 years in the British Army and travelled extensively during my service. I was rather embarrassingly awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Years Honours List 2000.