Friday, 4 November 2011
60 SECOND INTERVIEW: John Hunt
AS Remembrance Day approaches, we speak to John Hunt, fondly known locally as “Army John”, from Lyme Regis, who served 24 years under several cap badges and travelled the world during his Army career. Originally from the Isle of Wight, John first visited Lyme Regis after reading about the town in a novel in 1988. He now lives here permanently and is a member of several local organisations, including the Royal British Legion Lyme Regis Branch, for which he will take over the role of treasurer later this year.
WHEN did you join the Army?
I first joined the Army in 1984 when I left school, aged 18. I have given 24 years coloured service, as I left before briefly, and have served in several different regiments, including the Royal Chrous Signals, the Devon and Dorset Regiment which then became The Rifles.
WHY did you decide to join?
I wanted to do something exciting with my life. I wanted to leave home, see the world and do something challenging.
WHERE were you based?
I travelled all over the world. Some of the places I was based were Hong Kong, Germany, Northern Ireland, Belize and Iraq.
WHERE was the best place you visited during your Army career?
Hong Kong was my favourite place. I was young and it was a great lifestyle with lots of different people.
WHY did you move to Lyme Regis?
I read about it in a novel, but not 'The French Lieutenant’s Woman'! I hadn’t heard of that. Geoffrey Household wrote 'Rogue Male' and it in the hero goes to Lyme Regis. The author described it so nicely so I came here in 1988. I came for one night really and have stayed here since!
WHAT do you like about living in the town?
Its insularity. Everyone knows everybody else and no one can have a secret here. If you have a problem you can share it, and people usually do. The small things which are irrelevant elsewhere are important to everyone here, and they probably should be. I don’t mind people talking or gossiping about me. It’s better to be talked about than forgotten.
WHAT would you change if you could?
Nothing really. Maybe the attitudes of some people. For example, I think the Three Cups Hotel has stayed closed for over 20 years because of the attitudes of some people who don’t want it to be anything else, and certainly not because of Palmers.
WHY did you join the Royal British Legion?
The army gave me a great life. I’ve seen a lot of my mates injured or killed and I respect the old who responded to the call of duty and sacrificed themselves in hideous wars. They did this on our behalf and I think I should be doing something on their behalf. As old soldiers fade away, so their needs become more important, and the need for the Legion to keep going and funds to be raised never slackens.
WHAT are your other personal interests?
I’m groundsman at Uplyme and Lyme Regis Cricket Club, a member of St Michael’s Parish Church choir and of Lyme Regis Operatic Society. I also enjoy walking, watching football and going to the pub!
WHERE is your ideal holiday destination?
My ideal holiday destination would be a cruise down the South Atlantic to visit all our remaining tiny possessions there.
WHAT would you do if you won the Lottery?
I suppose we could finish paying for the new church organ and repair the clock tower. But I have to point out that I haven’t, so please donate generously!