Lieutenant General Sir Martin Garrod

Jan Leeming

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Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 2nd May 2009

Lieutenant General Sir Martin Garrod - Thanksgiving Service

Martin and Jill Garrod have been friends for almost the whole time I've lived down here in East Kent.  It was a privilege to know them and on my return to the UK I was met with the sad news that Martin died on 17th April.

Martin was one of a dying breed, a man of intellect, great charm and kindness and most of all great integrity.  St. Mary's Church, Walmer was packed for the Thanksgiving Service and the music was provided by retired members of the Marine Band.  Many of you may remember that in September 1989 the IRA planted a bomb at the Marine School of Music in Deal - eleven Marines were killed and many injured.  Martin went on Television and condemned the outrage in straightforward language.  He didn't mince his words.   (Maybe that is why there was a police presence at the Church on Thursday)  If you go to his Obit in the Telegraph (which you can google) you will read all about this quiet but remarkable man.  It is a potted biography well worth reading - they don't make them like Martin any more.  He reminds me of Lord Carrington - who I had the honour to meet in my capacity as a Patron of Fight for Sight. Lord Carrington was one of the old school who basically 'fell on his sword' and resigned during the Falklands War.  At the time he was Foreign Secretary and took full responsibility for the complacency and failures in the Foreign Office which had failed to foresee the trouble brewing.  Can you see any of the Politicians doing that today?  

But back to Martin Garrod.  I feel honoured to have known him and his family - his lovely wife Jill who must have been one of the best Regimental wives you could hope to meet (she took me under her wing, rather like a broody hen, when times were bad for me)  and their delightful daughters Katie and Fenella.  As a family they represented all that was of the best in England - they are a dying breed.

God Bless you Martin and may those kindly and twinkling blue eyes continue to smile down on us.  You've left a very large hole in our lives.


Look at the sort of Politicians we have today - so many of them are named and shamed in the press but they cling on to power and stay in position - no wonder so few of us have any respect for them any more.  I grew up in an era and a country where we were taught to RESPECT our parents, teachers,  our elders, the law, and our Government.  For my money these days many politicians have few scruples and not an iota of Common Sense between them.  In the old days, many people went into politics out of a sense of 'Duty' and many had already been successful in other careers  - today just being a politician seems to be a career in itself and a cushy number if you can get it - a very good salary and an incredibly good Gold Plated Pension.  

I'd better get down off my Hobby Horse - there is so much I'd like to say but we are powerless to change things.  We have immigrants who want to murder us, others who come here as economic migrants  and live off our generous Welfare system without paying us the courtesy of learning our language or even trying to integrate into our society.  They come here for a future and a freedom which would be denied us if we were to visit their countries.  And many of our old people - who worked and paid taxes all their lives - are discriminated against or made to fill in such complicated and extensive forms, they miss out on the benefits to which they are truly entitled by virtue of their working lives. I  only wish we had someone strong enough to stand up and say what the Australian Prime Minister said to would-be immigrants - which was basically that English was the accepted language, that Australia was a Christian Country and those who didn't want to abide by the basic tenets of Australian Society were at liberty to LEAVE.

It's too late now - the fabric of our Nation has changed beyond all recognition - we have no true sense of Nationhood anymore.  The country in which I grew up and of which I was so proud is no longer a country I recognise.  I sometimes wonder if the last 12 years of Labour rule have been an attempt, by subterfuge,  to turn England into a Socialist State.  They've certainly got enough followers on 'The Welfare'   And why have we got two Scots - one as PM and the other as Chancellor when the Scots have their own Parliament in which we English have no say. I don't think we should have any Scots at all in an English Parliament.   Thank Goodness we'll have a Tory Government after the next election but what an awful MESS they will inherit.  They will take years to sort it and then history will repeat itself and they'll be voted out of power.  Look what happened under the last long running Labour Government and what a terrible state this country was in - impotent and bankrupt and largely  because of Union Power  - Margaret Thatcher put us on the road to recovery and we entered the years of plenty only for her own party to stab her in the back and for the voting public to change their allegiance.  Labour inherited a country with a healthy Bank Balance and they spent, spent and spent some more. Who de-regulated the banks - who helped destroy the private Pension system - a Scot?    They are doing now what James ! failed to do - and they are doing it by stealth. I do hope History judges Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as harshly as they deserve.  Hopefully the Tories will get us back on track again but I wouldn't like to have to undertake their mammoth task.  I pray that it is 'do-able' because if it isn't we will be a Third World Country in the not too distant future.


I'll try and be more upbeat when next I write.  Take care of yourselves and remember it's not the days of your life you should count, but the Life in your Days.  Bye for now,  Jan

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