Sergeant Alan Caulkett, 1st Battalion, the Queen's Regiment, recalls peacekeeping operations in Derry during 'the Troubles' in Northern Ireland, 1969-1970.
Alan Caulkett
Sergeant Alan Caulkett

Nothing else happened, we stayed out in Northern Ireland for 4 months, we were home by Christmas. Went out in the August/July, yes. Again we had a platoon in a shop by Craigavon Bridge, we had a platoon on the other side, we had a platoon in an old carpet shop, we were spread out all over Londonderry. We did patrols and things like that and it was just to keep the two sides apart. There was one instance where our blokes were on guard at a gate on the old walls. From the Bogside the women used to come with a tray of teas for our men and there was such a who-ha that we were favouring the Catholics, that the women used to go down through another gate with a thermos flask and approach it from the Waterside side. That was OK because it was from the Protestant side. We had a saying there “Be impartial, but if you see a Union Jack – duck!” The Bogside was all sealed off with lorries and baulks of timber but they were quite friendly in those days, it was just civil rights. As I say, we came back by Christmas because it was like before, when we went to Cyprus years ago, we were a standby battalion so we were a fill in. Came back to Hobbs Barracks in Lingfield. It was Christmas. I then decided to leave and I left the battalion in April 1970. Bought myself out, having done 12 years not 22.