There are a lot of people with undiscovered pasts. We heard from Councillor Keith Allcock who served in the Army Reserves and Sea Cadets for many years before becoming a councillor in Sandwell!
Keith served with the Royal Engineers (V) from 1987 to 1993. He was initially with 143 Plant Squadron RE(V) and then moved to 411 Independent Plant Troop RE(V). Both were based out of Gordon House in Walsall.
To start with, Keith served as a private soldier (Sapper) before being selected for Officer training. He served in Germany during BOAR exercises during the Cold War period and worked on military construction projects throughout the UK.
Keith said, “I was promoted by my civilian employer into a Senior Production Management role, which meant I had difficulty in meeting the training demands and reluctantly had to resign from the Army prior to attending Sandhurst Military Academy.”
After getting married in 1993 and starting a family in the late 90s, Keith joined the Sea Cadets in 2004 as Royal Marine Cadet Force instructor, reaching the rank of Sergeant and specialising as a Small Arms Instructor. He was eventually appointed Assistant Southwest Area Staff Officer Target Shooting.
Keith was a team Coach for the Sea Cadet National Shooting team and has coached teams to success at shooting competitions held at NRA Bisley. He finally left the cadets in 2015 just before becoming a councillor in Sandwell.
Keith says he made lifelong friends in the army – his Staff Sergeant was best man at his wedding! He said, “I am a member of the Royal Engineers Association and I periodically meet up with my old comrades at reunions and dinners at the Victory Services Club in London, the most lively being the annual Army vs Navy Rugby game at Twickenham, which was sadly cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
There is a long history of serving in the armed forces in the Allcock family as Keith’s grandfather fought with the Army in World War One, mostly in the middle east, and his father became a boy soldier at 15 years old fighting in Burma against the Japanese. Keith’s wife’s family served in the Royal Navy except his wife who was also in the Army reserves. His youngest daughter was also a Sea Cadet.