Peter Birchall
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Peter Birchall - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1950

I was born in 1934 in Liverpool, educated at Quarry Bank, later this became famous as where the Beatles started life as the Quarry Men.

I attended an Army Cadet course at Eskdale in 1950 or 51, a short time before I joined the regular Army. I had a slight problem on the course, I fell off a boulder and broke my ankle, so I was then unable to complete the grading, but before my return home with a plaster on my leg to the knee I had an enjoyable couple of days canoeing on the lake in front of the house. I was a Warrant Officer in the Cadets so I suppose no one felt inclined to argue health and safety issues with me!

What did I go on to do? - Through my Dad I had a connection to the Army and my sole interest was to become a regular soldier. Due to 4 years plus in the Cadets I was a better trained solider than those who trained me when I joined up!

I joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1951, attended the Army School of Ammunition, passed out as a class 2 Ammunition Examiner and was posted on active service to Singapore and Malaysia. Within 6 months I was a Class 1 Tradesman with the rank of Sergeant. My Outward Bound ankle did give me a problem when wearing boots, when tied up I had to insert a folded up piece of newspaper behind my ankle bone, this kept the pressure off the bit that got broken!

After leaving the Army in 1957 I became an accountant and also had a number of other businesses - a sub post office, a cinema, a wholesale and retail booksellers, a manufacturing venture in ladies underwear (!) and a farm...!

I ceased to be an accountant and also started an electronics company involved with free space optical data transmission equipment using infra red lasers. It quickly became a world leader with this technology and won several awards. I am also heavily involved in my community and in the last 40 years have served on the Chamber of Trade, the Windermere and Bowness Civic Society and the Cumbria Tourist Board to name but a few.

I don't know exactly what influence the Outward Bound had on me (apart from my ankle!) but I think along with the Army, my genes, large family and living in Liverpool during the War and Blitz made my life what it has been.

(Peter Birchall kindly sent us his story and we have posted extracts from his letter with his permission)