Dai will be walking stage ten with Brian Elliot, Swill Hinder and Ernie Whitehurst, here he recollects his time in the Welsh Guards and tells us why the Walk is important to him: "Although my time in the Welsh Guards was short and fairly sweet, (nine years), I can only ever remember the good times and the camaraderie. I joined in Sept 1975 and after six very testing months passed out a Welsh Guardsman."
"After a quick stint in Caterham I was posted to Berlin to protect the West, guarding Rudolph Hess in Spandau and single handedly keeping five million Russian troops at bay!!
Promoted to LCpl then back to Cardiff for cushy four year stint on liaison/recruiting team. Promoted to LSgt settling into almost civilian life when the great man (Major Glyn White) took me to one side and told me to get back as we were going for the Rugby Army Cup - the year was 1981 - he also mentioned 10 weeks in Kenya with a bit of rugby thrown in.
I thought about it for two seconds then spent weeks trying to find my kit. As the history books will show the squad of 1981-1982 led by another great man,Captain Jan Koops, swept the board clean of every major trophy. The season climaxed with the winning of the Army Cup played in Germany in early 1982. A great day for the Battalion and our numerous supporters who had travelled 30 hours to be with us, so then it was party time ... what could spoil that moment.
A couple of weeks later we were sailing for the Falklands on the QE2 as part of 5 Brigade. At South Georgia we transferred to the Canberra which took us to San Carlos, onto beach head to dig in. My campaign finished on the RFA Sir Galahad on that fateful day when we saw the real face of war. After safely returning to my family I left the army a year later to pursue a career outside of the military.
So 30 years later, in that time I have worked in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and New York. Enjoying life and establishing various businesses. Back to Wales in 1992 to settle and see more of my two sons. In Cardiff I met my wife Alison and in 1995 my daughter Lucy was born. A couple of years later I once again got a call from Major Glyn White, “Dai where have you been? We have an Army Cup winner’s rugby reunion will you come?"
That was me well and truly back into my Welsh Guards family, so many reunions later, and helping out with numerous fund raising events I took a well-deserved holiday and settled onto my sun lounger just behind a low wall (so that the Japanese whaling fleet can’t haul me out to sea). Reading a book titled “the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. On finishing I rang two people, Captain Jan Koops and the legend that is Swill Hinder, "Boys let's walk around the Welsh Coast on the new path as our pilgrimage to remember the boys (I did not know it was 870 miles)."
Both said, “Yes, fantastic idea.” Six months later I am now attempting to explain why and what it means to me. Simple it means everything to me; first, you never forget the ones you left behind. They did not get the chance to live their lives, to see their families grow up, to look forward to grandchildren, to enjoy a beer with their mates at a reunion. Second, for those who brought their war home with them we must help them more now and in the future
The organisation has been mammoth and at times daunting, and then every now and then I get a call, an e-mail, or letter from a parent that lost a son. One of our military family and they simply say, “Thank you, for giving my son a special day on your walk, it means everything to me." That is why I am proud to do it.
So to my actual leg, from Burry Port to Porthcawl walking with my mates Brian Elliot, Swill Hinder and Ernie Whitehurst, what a crew - just like the old days. I cannot wait !!!!!!!"