Diane Allen joined the Army when she was a teenager and was one of the first women to attend Sandhurst in the 1980s. She served in the regulars, in Northern Ireland and Germany, before a switch to the reserves, finally leaving in January 2020. She now lives in Gloucestershire, with her partner, when they are not away adventuring or converting their rural barn.
My book, ForeWarned, was written from early 2017 to 2020. Deeply frustrated with the unwillingness of the military to face up to the need for change, I sat down to write. From its previous and enviable world-leading position as one of the best armed forces in the world, I have chronicled, from first hand experience, the decline of the British Armed Forces - how 'government efficiencies' and self-serving senior military leadership have contributed to a dangerous decline in quality and values. Good people within defence are unable to stand up individually to the toxic pockets of inappropriate behaviours, caused by a defensive, blundering and bureaucratic system and patchy support from senior leaders if they do stand up for military values. In too many areas of defence, minorities (women, reserves, recruits, the injured, BAME personnel)...are expected to fend for themselves - and all are ostracised if they speak up.
There are many good people still serving, but many of the best have now walked away.
From the time when women joined up into a separate branch of service, to the more recent announcement that all roles in the military were now open to women, I am sharing what that journey has looked like - from the inside.
Serving in the military is not all bad - my own experiences covered the good, the bad and the ugly - but also, the plain laugh out loud funny.