Love in the Army
This story is copyrighted to myself, its writer, and cannot be copied in any way shape or form without my express written permission. This story is fiction and any resemblance to persons or events are purely coincidental. If you are underage or don’t like stories of a homosexual nature, please leave now. Otherwise, please enjoy the story.
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Thanks to Jim for his hard work editing this story for me.
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Tom, Jon, and Greg arrived at the Bonners home in Aberdeen. Greg got out of the car and ran inside. Tom and Jon walked in behind him. Alice spotted Tom walk in as she hugged her son in her arms.
Alice said, “thanks for coming Tom”
Tom said, “I am so sorry, Alice. Tim was such as great guy. I am going to miss him.”
“Yeah, he was such a fun loving person,” Alice said.
Alice smiled as she saw that Jon was now hugging Greg and said, “that is so sweet.”
“Yeah, they love each other so much,” Tom said.
“Yeah, they do. I can see that,” Alice said.
A little later
Tom was sat in the lounge at the Bonners house and said, “Alice, I am going to phone Alex and let him know what has happened.”
“Ok, Tom,” Alice said.
Alex was in his office at Cheedam when the phone rang. Tony, his assistant, had just left for the day. Alex answered the phone, “good evening, Family support unit.”
“Hi, Alex,” Tom said.
“Hi, Tom. I tried to ring you earlier. Todd said you were off barracks,” Alex replied.
“Yeah, I am actually up in Aberdeen. mate, got some sad news for you,” Tom said.
“Oh? What’s happened?” Alex said.
“Tim Bonner was killed in a crash this morning, mate.” said Tom.
“Oh no. That is sad news. Please pass my condolences to Alice and Greg for me,” Alex said.
“Yeah, I will do mate,” Tom said.
“Thanks for letting me know, Tom,” Alex said.
“No problem, mate,” Tom said.
Alex left his office feeling sad. He went over to 4th company commanders’ office.
Major Brenton was sat in his office and saw Lieutenant Colonel Mills come in.
“Evening Sir,” Andrew said.
“Hi, Andrew. I need to speak to you, mate,” Alex said.
“What’s happening?” Andrew said.
“Just had Colonel Rees on the phone. Former 4th company Sergeant Tim Bonner has died in a lorry crash this morning,” Alex said.
“Oh bloody hell, Tim was such a nice man, full of fun,” Andrew said.
“Well, I think the lads will like to know,” Alex said.
“Yeah, I will get Simon to get them into the parade room now,” Andrew said.
Ten minutes later
The men of 4th company were all assembled in the parade room and Simon shouted attention, as Lieutenant Colonel Mills and Major Brenton walked in.
“At ease,” Major Brenton shouted.
“Right guys, Lieutenant Colonel Mills has some news he needs to share with you guys,” Major Brenton said.
Alex took a deep breath and said, “this news I have to share is sad news, particularly for long standing members of this unit. I have been informed by Colonel Tom Rees that this morning, on the M6 motorway, former unit Sergeant Tim Bonner was fatally injured in a road accident.”
Some of the long standing members of the unit were shell shocked and Simon was in tears.
Simon stood in front of the men and said, “guys, I had the pleasure of working alongside Tim for a good few years. I had the difficult task of replacing him as the unit sergeant. Tim was a huge support to me and I still kept in touch with him regularly. He was a fun loving man, and I know he loved his family to no end, so guys let’s remember Tim for that cheeky sergeant we all loved.”
“Thank you, Simon. As you can imagine, this news has hit his family really hard,” Alex said.
Andrew also said, “guys, I also the had pleasure, like Simon, of working under Tim Bonner. Just like Simon, I found him a great support. I remember when I had a problem and was in serious trouble, I had the support of Tim all the way through. Without his support, I don’t think I would have got through that time. After that problem was sorted, it was Tim who pushed me to move up the ranks. And just like Simon, I was soon passing out as a sergeant and then came my move to a different unit. But even then, he often phoned me to see how I was doing. When he left the Army, I was surprised. But after speaking to him, I realised he had made the decision for his family and I supported him. I feel numb tonight, and I can imagine everyone who has had the pleasure of working with Tim, over the years, will feel the same.”
“Unit dismissed,” Andrew shouted.
Alex walked out and went home feeling lost.
Ben knew he had to phone Daffyd and Brad.
Ben tapped in their number, and Darren answered the phone, “good Evening, BD’s bar and grill."
“Hi Darren, can I speak to Daffyd, mate? its Ben Andrews Rees,” Ben said.
“Yeah sure, mate,” Darren said.
Darren walked into the kitchen of the restaurant and said, “Daffyd, Ben on the phone mate."
“Ok thanks,” Daffyd said.
“Hey mate, is every ok?” Daffyd said.
“Not really mate, got some sad news for you. Tim Bonner has died, mate” Ben replied.
“Oh fucking hell,” Daffyd said sitting down. He felt tears going down his face.
“How? when?” Daffyd asked.
Brad saw Daffyd looking upset and walked in and said, “what’s happened?”
“Tim was killed in a lorry crash on the M6 this morning. Tom is up there with Alice,” Ben said.
“Oh god, poor Alice. I can only imagine what state she is in,” Daffyd said.
“Yeah, Tom said she is putting on a great show for Greg,” Ben said.
Brad was looking and said, “will you tell me what’s happened?”
Daffyd said, “sorry babes, its Tim Bonner. He has been killed.”
Brad said, “oh god, no.”
Ben said, “I let you guys get on. I had to tell you as I knew how well you two got on, Daffyd.”
“Yeah, the best sergeant I ever had the pleasure of working with,” Daffyd said.
Brad smiled and said, “yeah, me too.”
“Thanks for letting us know, mate” Daffyd said.
“No problem, I will let you know when the funeral is, mate” Ben said.
“Yes, please do so. We can come home,” Daffyd said.
“Ok Mate,” Ben said.
Daffyd put the phone down and broke down. Brad pulled his partner into a hug and said, “I feel like I have lost a member of my family.”
“Yeah, he was such a fun loving guy," Daffyd said.
Ben felt lonely in the house without anyone there. He took hold of his keys and headed out f the door and into his car. Ben drove off and headed up to his parents house. Sarah and Joe were sat watching Coronation Street, on the TV. When they saw Ben’s car pull up, Sarah noticed that, unusually, Ben had no one else with him.
Ben opened the door and Sarah said, “hi Son, no Tom tonight?”
“No mum, he is up in Aberdeen with Greg and Jon. You remember Tim, Greg’s dad, don’t you?” Ben said.
“Yes, we met him at your and at Rhys’s wedding, why?” Sarah asked.
“Well, he died this morning in a crash on the M6,” Ben said.
“Oh no, that is sad,” Sarah said.
“Yeah, he was my unit sergeant, when I was injured out in Afghanistan. He is a long standing friend of Tom and me,” Ben said.
“So, how come you haven’t gone up to Aberdeen with Tom?” Joe said.
“I am too busy in work. I can’t get the time off,” Ben said.
“Oh ok,” Sarah said.
Ben sat with his parents for a while, when the local TV news came on.
5 people killed and 7 injured in motorway pile up, came the headline.
Ben watched the report, as they showed the terrible carnage on the motorway. He then spotted Tim’s lorry and said, “shit that is the crash.”
Joe said, “what, son?”
“This is the crash that Tim died in. That blue lorry was his,” Ben said.
“Are you sure son?” Joe said.
“Yeah Dad, that’s the firm he worked for and it was on the M6 he died,” Ben said.
Joe turned the news program off and said, “that motorway has always been a death trap.”
“Yeah, it has over the years,” Ben said.
The next day
Ben picked up a local newspaper, on his way home to Coninton. He read the headlines, put it in the back of the car and headed home.
Ben was near home when his phone rang. Ben ignored the phone, as he had left his hands free kit at home.
Ben spotted a lay-by coming up, so he pulled over, switched off his engine, and picked up his phone to see “Alex” on it.
Ben rung Alex and said, “hi mate, you just ring me?”
“Yeah, I called at your house, but you weren’t there,” Alex said.
“No, I spent last night at my parents,” Ben said.
“The reason i called was, that Tom has left a file i need in his home office,” Alex said.
“i am about 5-10 minutes away,” Ben said.
“Ok Ben, i will wait for you then,” Alex said.
“Ok Alex,” Ben said.
Ben rejoined the road and headed home. He arrived at his house and saw Alex waiting for him.
Ben got out of his car and said, “Hi Alex, sorry i wasn’t here.”
“No worries Ben,” Alex said.
Ben opened the door and went into the hallway and said, “this is Toms office. Let’s look and see if we can find the file.”
Alex followed Ben into the former dining room, which Tom uses as his home office. Alex spotted the file straight away and said, “this is the file I need, Ben.”
“Ok mate,” Ben said.
Alex said, “you ok Ben? You seem upset?”
“Yeah, Tim’s death has hit me bad, to be honest. I worked alongside him for a few years, and he was a good friend to me, and now he has gone,” Ben said.
“Yeah, Tim was a good guy. I left the barracks last night feeling really lost, particularly after announcing his death to 4th company,” Alex said.
“So when is Tom back?” Alex asked.
“Well, actually he is on his way home as we speak. He has to be back tomorrow, as the barrack commander at Coninton starts his job,” Ben said.
“Oh that’s right. Colonel Leon White, I met him once. He seems a nice guy,” Ben said.
“Yeah, he is. I met him a few times. He doesn’t suffer fools, though. He's just like Tom, so they should get on ok,” Alex said.
“Yeah, Tom is looking forward to working with Leon,” Ben said.
Tom arrived at his house a little while later.
“Hi Babes, I am home,” Tom shouted, as he walked in.
“You silly bugger,” Ben said laughing.
Tom walked over and kissed Ben and said, “it’s good to be home.”
“I take it that Jon stayed then?” Ben said.
“Yeah, he point blank refused to leave Greg,” Tom said.
“I didn’t think he would, to be honest,” Ben said.
“No, I didn’t expect him to either,” Tom said.
“How’s Alice holding up?” Ben said.
“Well, she is trying to be brave for Greg,” Tom said.
“Yeah, I thought that when I spoke to her last night,” Ben said.
“Oh, how did Daffyd and Brad take it?” Tom said.
“To be honest, Daffyd took it quite badly,” Ben said.
“Yeah, they worked with Tim for a long time and they were really close,” Tom said.
“yeah, I am finding it hard to imagine Tim not being around anymore. To be honest, you know we have lost good friends before. But for some reason, this has hit me really bad,” Ben said.
“Yeah, it is so sad. He was so full of life, and I have seen so much crap over the last few years. It is so hard to carry on, to be honest,” Tom said.
A few days later
Alice Bonner had listened to her late husband’s wishes. She organised for his funeral to take place at St Luke’s church, in the small village of Cheedam. The funeral was a full military honours service, at the request of Alice.
The current men of 4th company, including Major Andrew Brenton and Sgt Simon Tyler, carried out the guard of honour for their former colleague.
Bradley Evans and Daffyd Lewis had flown in a few days earlier. Lieutenant Colonel Alex Mills and his wife Lisa and Colonel Jonathan Harris, also attended. Alex was also surprised to see former Colonel Rhydian Thomas had flown home from Canada, where he is now an officer in the mounted police.
Rev. Kenneth Granger held the service.
Colonel Tom Rees and his partner Ben Andrews and their son, Jon Taylor Rees, joined Alice and her son Greg, and Tim’s mum, Ceinwen Bonner.
Rev. Granger stood up and said, “ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered today to say a fond farewell to Sergeant Tim Bonner. Many of the people who are here to pay respects to him, worked with Tim when he was a serving officer in 4th company, based at our local barracks. I now ask Colonel Thomas Rees to say a few words.”
Tom walked up and said, “Tim Bonner was not just a person who I had the pleasure of being second in command to, but over the years he became a close personal friend to my husband and I. Tim was a family man, through and through, and his love for his wife, Alice, and his son, Gregory, never left him. He lived life to the fullest, whether out in Afghanistan or home in Cheedam, everyone knew that if you felt down, a few minutes in Tim’s company and you would be full of the joys of spring again. I will miss him terribly, but I know his legacy at 4th company will be felt for years to come. Sergeant Tim Bonner, rest in peace my friend. He is gone, but never forgotten. Now, ladies and gentlemen, at the request of Tim, i ask you to join us in singing the Welsh National Anthem (click to hear)
Ben was finding it hard to sing, as he couldn’t understand the Welsh words, but was surprised that Tom knew every word, and was singing. Jon and Greg were also singing, and most of the congregation were singing.
After the song, Ben looked at Tom and said, “wow, I didn’t know you spoke Welsh.”
Tom laughed and said, “believe me, you cannot be brought up in Wales, and not learn the National Anthem. It is drummed into you from a young age, and actually I can speak Welsh. I went to a Welsh school.”
Ben laughed and said, “I have no idea of the words to the English Anthem. I know it's God Save the Queen, but that’s about it,” Ben said.
“Different cultures, babes,” Tom said.
“Yes, I guess,” Ben said.
Reverend Granger said, “now, I ask one of Tim’s former commanding officers, retired Colonel Bradley Evans, to say a few words.”
Brad walked up and said, “I had the pleasure of working alongside Tim while I was commanding officer at 4th company. I got to know Tim well, over the years, and he was a person you could go to if you needed cheering up, like Tom said earlier. He also was a person you could talk to, if you had a problem, and sometimes he came up with a good idea. I remember when Corporal Lewis Hobbs quit, and we needed to replace him fast. I had two people, who were, at the time, Lance Corporals, and who were equally qualified to take the promotion. I went to Tim and asked who he thought I should choose. He went through all the pros and cons of both candidates, and after three hours, said, "I have no idea."So he put both names into his hat and picked out Tom Rees. Now, ladies and gentlemen, lets listen to a song that Tim loved, “Let It Be,” by the Beatles.” (click to hear)
Tom smiled and whispered, “I never knew that.”
Ben laughed and said, “I did. I remember Tim told me once.”
The men of 4th company carried the coffin out of the church and the family and friends followed behind, as they walked up the hill to the graveside. Major Brenton called the men to arms and a three gun salute fired. The coffin, draped in the Welsh flag, was lowered in grave as the bugle played blasted out the last post.
Alice and Greg both dropped earth into the grave, and Tim’s mum, Ceinwen, walked up and said, “goodbye son.”
Tom was in tears as he walked up and dropped some earth in, and said, “goodbye, old friend.”
A few weeks later
Things were starting to get back to normal after Tim’s death.
Tom was in his office at the new Non operational unit headquarters barracks, at Weston Hill. Tom’s unit was moved here, as they needed the space at Coninton for 4 new units, who were moving there from Weston Hill, a non operational unit base. Weston Hill is 4 miles away from Coninton, so the traveling wasn’t that bad. Also based here, is the royal military police, so Tom sees his former nemesis, Colonel Darren Thompson from time to time. The base is smaller than Coninton, and Tom feels it is more like Cheedam, with a more community feel.
Tom was going through paperwork, that his two Lieutenant Colonels had sent him. Tom was feeling more and more isolated from the frontline of the Family Support Unit. He felt that maybe the time has come for him to leave the Family Support Unit.
Tom left the barracks later that day, and was reading the local newspaper. Tom turned the page to the situations vacant page, and spotted a job with The Royal British Legion. They were looking for a support officer to head up a team of volunteer supporters, for military families. Tom’s unit works alongside the legion and he knew they were a fantastic organisation to work with.
Ben arrived later and saw Tom looking at the paper
“Hi baby,” Ben said.
“Hey sexy,” Tom said smiling.
“What’s that you are reading?” Ben said.
“Well you know, I told you last week i have had a enough feeling bored stiff with all the paperwork and wanted to go back on the frontline so to speak?”
“Yeah, why?” Ben said.
“Well, look at this and tell me honestly what you think,” Tom said.
Ben read the advert and said, “wow, a job made in heaven for you.”
“Do you think i should apply for it then?” Tom asked.
“Yes, I do,” Ben said.
Tom wrote out his CV, and gave Bradley's address in Spain, for a reference. He also put Alex’s name down for a second one. Tom posted the application the next morning, and headed off to the barracks. He phoned General Harris.
“Good morning, Tom,” General Harris said.
“Good morning, sir. I need to speak to you about something. I thought I had better let you know, i have applied for a job with the royal legion, and if i get that job, I will be leaving, not just the unit, but the Army, sir,” Tom said.
“Oh, can i ask you why?” General Harris said.
“To be honest, sir, I have loved my position here at the Family Support Unit, but recently, particularly since we moved here, I have felt isolated from the day to day stuff the unit is involved in and i don’t like that,” Tom said.
Three weeks later
The whole of the Family Support Unit were assembled at Coninton barracks as their commanding officer, Colonel Tom Rees, called them to order.
Lieutenant Colonels Alex Mills and Nick Green already knew why Tom had called this parade.
Ben was standing there watching as Tom said, “ladies and gentlemen, I have been proud over the last few years to serve as your commanding officer. I wanted to call you here today to thank each and every one of you for all the hard work you put in day to day. Some of you might already know, but i have an announcement to make. It is with a hard heart and sadness, that I have to tell you. As from 4pm this afternoon, I will stand down as your commanding officer and will. in 2 days. leave the military. I have been very proud to serve my country, and in particular, the Family Support Unit. I have also got another announcement to make, which only myself and General Harris, know at this moment. That is, that the new commanding officer of the Family Support Unit will be, with a promotion to Colonel with immediate effect, is Colonel Alex Mills. I hope you all support Alex the same way you have me over the years. Oh, and by the way guys, I will still be watching you as I will be taking up a job as a support officer to the Royal British legion.
Alex was gobsmacked and Nick smiled and shook his hand and said, “the right man for the job.”
“Thanks Nick,” Alex said.
Alex walked up and said, “ I have had the pleasure of working with Tom since he joined the then Family liaison ops unit. I, for one, will miss him but I know he will be at the end of a phone, should I need him. Now ladies and gentlemen, let's show our apprehension to Colonel Tom Rees with a round of applause.”
Tom was in tears as he waved and as he walked away from the unit, and into Coninton Barracks for his final debrief of Alex and Nick.
“Alex, I wish you all the luck for the future and I hope you enjoy the command of this unit, as I have had for the last few years,” Tom said with tears rolling down his face.
“Tom, I am really going to miss you and I wish you all the best,” Alex said.
Two days later
Tom went to his car and drove out of Weston Hill, as the young private on the gate opened the gate and saluted. Tom saluted him back and drove off as a civilian. Tom drove down the road and pulled up outside Coninton Barracks, for a few minutes, and watched as a unit was getting prepared to ship out to Afghanistan. He remembered how he felt, all those years ago, when he and Matthew headed out for the final time. Tom felt tears forming in his eyes, and started his car up and drove home to a welcoming committee.
Ben had organised a party, and had invited all the usual suspects.
Tom was shocked when he saw Brad and Daffyd sat there.
“What are you guys doing here?” Tom asked.
“Come on, when have you ever known us to miss a party?” Daffyd said laughing.
“Yeah, but coming from Spain, just for a party, is a bit extreme” Tom said.
“Well, actually we have sold the place out there, and we are setting up a restaurant over here,” Brad said.
“Oh, that’s great,” Tom said.
“So, how does it feel to be retired Colonel Tom Rees now then?” Daffyd said.
“Well, it hasn’t sunk in yet, but it will, and I know it is the right decision for me,” Tom said.
“Yeah, I felt that way when I left,” Brad said.
“Yeah, you just know when it’s time to move on, and I think this new job was made for me,” Tom said.
“Yeah, it sounds just up your street,” Daffyd said.
“So, where is your new restaurant?” Tom said.
“Well, we are still looking, but it will be local, as we have moved back into our old house. We rented it, out as you knew,” Daffyd said.
A few days later
Tom had a few days off before starting his new job. With his husband Ben, they were spending some time with Tom’s mum, Lucy, in south Wales. Lucy had sold the former family home, recently. She felt it was too big just for her. Lucy had moved into a two bedroom apartment, which had been built on top of the old coal mine that once dominated the village that Tom had grown up in. Tom and Ben were walking towards the usual pilgrimage to St John’s churchyard. They walked up to Matthews’s grave and placed flowers on it. Tom said, “well Matt, I finally got out, mate”.
Tom and Ben placed flowers of the adjoining grave of Julie. Then they walked over and placed some on Tom’s beloved Dad's grave.
Tom and Ben then walked up to the hill overlooking the village and Tom said, “you know, Ben, I feel like i was meant to read that paper and take this opportunity to get out.”
“Yeah, I think you are right,” Ben said.
Tom took hold of Ben and kissed him as the sun set over the valley.
So now what?
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