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Gunner's memoirs of The Troubles finally published
12:00pm Thursday 8th August 2013 in News
A GREAT Sankey gunner says he is delighted to finally see his war memoirs published by one of the world’s leading military history publishers.
Granddad Steve Corbett, aged 61, was 19-years-old when he was first posted to Northern Ireland at the height of ‘The Troubles’ in November 1971 and faithfully kept a diary for every day of his service.
His accounts have now been turned into the book ‘Belfast Diaries. A Gunner in Northern Ireland 1971 – 74’ which is thought to be one of the first of its kind.
First-time author Steve, who also completed a second tour of duty at New Lodge before quitting the Army in October 1974, said: “I can’t remember why I decided to keep a diary but for some bizarre reason I did.
“There were 33 servicemen killed by terrorist action in my province in my first four-month tour alone with more than 400 shootings, bombings and riots.
“I locked away my diaries and all the horrors they reminded me of the day I arrived home from Belfast.
“It was only while talking about the death of one particular comrade – Bernie Fearns – to another writer in 2007 that I finally allowed myself to think about the scale of loss and suffering I’d witnessed.
“I’m not ashamed to admit I broke down in tears.
“That was the first time I told my daughter Michelle about my diaries and she encouraged me to write them up as a book.”
It proved to be a therapeutic distraction for Steve, who worked for 24 years as a Process Plant Operator at Joseph Crosfields & Sons, while he battled chronic kidney disease.
Despite his often terrifying experiences in Northern Ireland, Steve says one of the big positives was meeting his wife Pamela.
He added: “I placed an advert in the Manchester Evening News asking for girls to write to the lads while we were in Northern Ireland and that’s how I met my wife.
“I had some extremely narrow escapes but if I hadn’t gone to Northern Ireland, I wouldn’t have met Pam and have my daughters and grandchildren.”
The couple have now been married for 39 years and have two children and two grandchildren who are all looking forward to the official launch of Steve’s book, which will see his former comrades gather at Agave Rumbar on Sankey Street this evening, Thursday.
The book, priced £17, is available on Amazon and in Waterstones in the Golden Square.
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