Tales of life as a soldier during the 60s and 70s have been shared in a book by Westgate grandad and district councillor Keith Coleman-Cooke.
Keith, who moved to the isle in 1989 with wife Kathleen and ran Thanet and Whitstable children’s homes until 2005, previously published Memoirs of a London Boy in the 50s and 60s.
He has now turned his hand to a humorous recounting of the next stage in his life after joining the Army with the latest book called Who’s going to wash my underpants!.
The councillor for Birchington North, who served with the Royal Corps of Transport for 10 years, said: “This is a true story of me as a young lad with no qualifications and very little prospects of ever getting a decent job.
“I decided to join the Army, much to the astonishment and amusement of all of my family and friends who thought that I would not get accepted and if I did then I would never pass the basic training as I was rather thin and had been a sickly child.
“The title of the book comes from a question I asked my mother just prior to leaving for Aldershot. I will not bore you with her answer!
“In 1965 most of the young men who joined up were either leaving the care system or trying to not serve down the mines like their fathers and grandfathers, escaping poverty or just a bit thick (like myself) and were looking for a better life and the opportunities to travel.”
The novel takes the reader on a journey from Aldershot to Somerset, Catterick, Cyprus, Germany, Singapore, Kent and back to Germany and Northern Ireland.
It describes five months of hospital stays and how Keith and other patients would climb out of the day room window and go to the local off licence for beer, hiding the empty bottles outside of the window.
Keith, 71, said: “The Army gave me many opportunities that I would never have had in Civvie Street, such as an outward bound course, Free Fall Parachute Course making many friends from all over the world.
“The book will not only appeal to serving or ex-members of the British armed forces but also to service personnel from other countries such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
“It describes the banter, the total lack of any political correctness and the language used by service personnel and will bring back lots of memories, most of which will be pleasant ones but of course there will also be some sad ones.”