Two soldiers who first served together nearly 70 years ago have met up, thanks to staff at Royal Star & Garter.
Paul Gray and Les Wilson were both in The Queen’s Regiment and met 66 years ago, in 1957. Even though they stayed in contact after leaving the Armed Forces, their reunion on May 17 at Royal Star & Garter in High Wycombe was the first time the friends had met in 10 years.
Paul lives at the charity’s Surbiton Home, while Les is a resident in the High Wycombe Home.
Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, and also has a third Home in Solihull.
Both men enjoyed long and distinguished careers in the Army. Les, 93, served from 1947 to 1983. Paul, 86, joined in 1954 and served for 30 years.
They were together in the Queen’s Regiment from 1957 to 1968. During this time, they served in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Germany and Aden.
Paul moved into the Surbiton Home in 2022, one year after Les became a resident at High Wycombe.
The old buddies enjoyed lunch together, reminisced about their Army days and caught up on old times.
The pair had kept in touch after leaving the Army through their Regimental Association, but this meeting was their first in 10 years.
Paul knew that Les was a fellow Royal Star & Garter resident, and once Wellbeing Coordinators from Surbiton and High Wycombe found out, they worked together on the reunion.
Paul, who is deaf and a lip-reader, rose to the rank of Major. He said:
“I was looking forward to coming here and seeing Les, and it’s been great to meet up after a very long time. I’m looking forward to coming back to see him again.”
Les, who reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, added:
“It was nice to see Paul after all this time. I can’t believe it’s been 66 years since we first met. The Army was a large portion of our lives. It was good to catch up and talk about the old days and the people we knew.”
Both Royal Star & Garter Homes in Surbiton and High Wycombe are welcoming new residents. For more information on this, or to work at the Homes, go to www.starandgarter.org/surbiton or www.starandgater.org/hw