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What Happened To:
Dave Wakelam
I was a naughty boy at Grammar School, but thoroughly enjoyed the CCF, so when the Careers Officer came to visit the school, I said I would like to join the Army. When she asked me what I was good at, I said "Languages" and so I found myself joining the Intelligence Corps. After a short spell as a milkman, waiting for a recruit intake, I was off to Tonfanau to join 1 Platoon, R Company in January 1963, the coldest winter since 1947.
I had a largely undistinguished time at Tonfanau, but won the English prize one term, gained my Duke of Edinburgh's Silver award and my regimental colours for cycling. I graduated as a private in April 1964 and went off to the Intelligence Centre, Maresfield with Alan Jacobs, Baz Ward and Paddy Payne. On completion of Corps training I was posted to Seremban, Malaya with Alan Jacobs (again), and worked in the Criminal Records Office and the Ops Room, HQ Malaya Area, where I was the Int Cell. I was then posted to 2 Int Company in Borneo, with Alan Jacobs (yet again) where I was in the Director of Borneo Operations Ops Room working for General Lea, with the then Colonel Farrar-Hockley. I was moved to HQ 2 Int Company to be Chief Clerk. Don't laugh! I was the Radar O'Reilly of the Int Corps, and loved every minute. After Borneo, I was posted to Counter Intelligence Platoon (Singapore) with Alan Jacobs (who else) and two clasps on my GSM, where I was on the detachment with security responsibility for HQ FARELF. Whilst in the Far East I met loads of ex- AAJLR boys in 16 and 22 Lt AD Regt RA, 45 Regt RA, 29 and 95 Cdo Lt Regt RA, RMP, R Sigs, 4 RTR and RCT. It was here I had a bad soccer injury and spent my 21st birthday in plaster, followed by three months light duties.
After a total of two and a half years in the Far East, I was posted to 1 Intelligence Company in Ashford, Kent, not with Alan Jacobs, who was posted to Depot as an instructor. Where was the Depot? Ashford, Kent of course! I went to NAAFI break one day after six months in Ashford, when on my return I was told I was on my way to Bahrein for a year. Bahrein was described as the a***hole of the world as far as postings go, and I have no reason to dispute that, but I did have a good job. (Alan Jacobs and I part company!)
My year finished, and I was posted to Rheindahlen, where having failed, only just, to drink myself into an early grave, I decided to have six months off in civvy street, before re-enlisting. In that six months I met the first Mrs Wakelam, who rapidly fell prenant and informed me that re-enlistment was not an option. Having suffered green withdrawal symptoms for quite a while, I went and enlisted in C Squadron the Queen's Own Yeomanry, and having reached the giddy heights of Sergeant, I transferred into the Intelligence Corps TA, where I met up again with Dave Macknney from D Company, AAJLR. I eventually ended up as OC 29 (V) MI Company, when my CO at the time told me I was too old (54) for the TA, so I decided to quit my civvy job and went to HQ Land Command on FTRS for two and a half years. Whilst there, I was headhunted by G2 at HQ UKSC(G) for the job I presently hold, which is as SO3 G2/G3/G7, a Retired Officer post, at HQ Gutersloh Garrison in Germany. Even here I have met ex-Tonfanau chaps as the HCSO at Herford is Lt Col (Retd) Johnny Walker R Sigs, who joined on the same day as me, and Ron Appleby, who is with Customs and Immigration here in Gutersloh.
I am still in regular contact with ex-AAJLR Int Corps guys, Acker Dee, Alan Jacobs, Dave Mackney, Steve Whitney, Fred Philpott and ex-PTI Mick Roberts through the Singapore Dawnwatchers, and we'll probably be meeting up again for a few jars at the next reunion in 2008 in Cologne.
Like so may other ex-AAJLR boys, whilst I think that it was without doubt the toughest period of my life, it left an indelible mark on me, and I have no doubt that it did me a lot of good. (I wouldn't do it again though!)

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