Airborne Engineers Association

Paddy Boyce

 

 

Patrick (Paddy) Boyce by Tony Manley

 

Patrick, known to everyone as Paddy was born in Omagh on 12th December 1947 and sadly passed away in Inverness hospital on 21st November 2010 aged 63 years. He had in the latter years suffered with a series of illness and injuries, but throughout it all maintained his sense of humour with typical Irish wit.

Paddy married Ann in February 1970 and I recall transporting an iced cake and a gathering of 9 Sqn lads to their wedding reception in London. He later repaid my services by running the bar at my own wedding reception. Needless to say, he ensured that only empties were left when he handed back the bar!

When the rest of 9 Sqn headed to the Far East for a 3-month construction exercise in Hong Kong, Paddy, much to his dismay, had been 'volunteered' to go on detachment to provide catering support for a separate Engineer exercise in Ethiopia. To Paddy's dismay he was to find himself as the sole British soldier in the kitchen as the rest of his team were Ethiopian soldiers! His efforts in providing culinary delights during this tour were recognised by the Ethiopian government and he was presented with a gold medallion.

In 1982, Paddy deployed as master chef with 9 Para Sqn for the duration of the Falklands War. Many of those for whom he provided `life saving' all in stews, egg and bacon banjos and his constant readiness to provide a catering service in the most hostile of conditions; speak volumes of their appreciation of him. And as many have often reminded me, Paddy was always cheerful, ready with some Irish wit and above all was there to provide sustenance day and night.

On completion of his 22 years service, 50% of which had been with Airborne Forces, he initially worked in the Off Licence trade, but later went on to run a pub in Woolwich. This proved to be an ideal location as part of the London Marathon course ran right past his front door. With his great friend the late Louis Gallagher they would offer loud vocal support to any member of the Airborne Forces running in the event.

On his 60th birthday party held in his pub, lads came from near and far to join in the celebration. Reg Varley, a former army chef came over from Ireland, Tony Hogan from Liverpool, Dave Davies from Tyneside and dozens more from throughout the UK.

Paddy loved a 'crack, loved life and enjoyed a game of football and was a staunch Manchester United fan. In true 9 Sqn spirit he made things happen for the benefit of the lads.

On retiring from pub life Paddy moved to Scotland to be near his daughter Samantha and his two grandchildren Martin and Matthew. I last spoke to Paddy by phone on 18th November when he was in hospital. He cut short our conversation saying that, "A good looking bird has just arrived to give me my medication". His last words to me were, "To be sure". He later sent me two text message jokes (he always sent two!)

His funeral was held in Inverness on 1st December 2010 during the most atrocious winter weather conditions, which prevented many of his friends from attending. I know in my heart of hearts that the lads were thinking of you Paddy.

GOD BLESS.

 

 

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