The day SDWS went mainstream!

Nik Collett

There was a general invitation to the Dawn Watchers to attend the 2014 Intelligence Corps Day celebrations at Chicksands. This invitation was clearly as a result of the increased awareness in Tony Byrne's "Parcels Appeal" and the genuine feeling that some sort of recognition might be in order for the long-term effort that went into the campaign, and the extremely positive effect it had on the morale of Int Corps soldiers on Ops in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tony was specifically invited but, as he had a previous engagement and the obvious other choice, the SDWS Hon Pres, couldn't attend, I found myself as your representative in Chicksands.

Following lunch there began the annual presentation of prizes for a variety of notable deeds, from contributions to the Rose And The Laurel to acts of Operational excellence, with the prizes being presented by the outgoing Col Comdt - General Sir John Houghton GCB, CBE, ADC Gen.  As the final item in this section "Dawn Watchers Parcels" was raised and there followed, as I had anticipated, a quite lengthy and detailed description of monies raised, goodies purchased, parcels sent, the Ladies of Dorchester WI cakes, and a summary of the morale boosting effect that such parcels bring. ..... then followed something which I had not anticipated ……….
"The Distinguished Service Award, awarded to a person, military or civilian, who has given outstanding service to the Intelligence Corps and is deserving of recognition" is awarded to the Singapore Dawn Watchers Society and will be collected by Nik Collett” !

I suspect looking something like a rabbit caught in the headlights I duly collected the prize and certificate and resumed my seat.

Ably supported by other Watchers; Brian Parritt, Colin Parr, Doc Addison and Tom Wall and partners. I found myself being approached from many of the "old and bold" offering both congratulations on the award and posing the question "just who are the Dawn Watchers?" - if we had but £5 for each time I was asked, our funds would pay the bar bill for the 2016 Reunion! I also found myself being approached by many of the younger serving members of the Corps who had either received parcels or had, at least, shared one - all expressed their gratitude and indeed occasional surprise that such an enterprise stemmed from a previous (previous, previous!) generation!