Alan 'Lefty' Wright - A truly colourful character

Alan 'Lefty' Wright - a truly colourful character

Alan 'Lefty' Wright - State unknown!


I first came across Lefty I suppose in the early 1980s in Paderborn when he was posted to 1 Troop in A Squadron. Rumours of his notoriously bad temper preceded him and for that Andy Fisher and Bob Jacobs must shoulder the blame. As for myself I was bloody glad that I was in 2 Troop!!!!

The first time he spoke to me was as I was administering First Aid to 'Spotty' Woodward's nose which was a strange shape and had blood pouring from it. He was muttering about STATE RED or something to which I though he was referring to his bloody nose and therefore decided that he was clearly in shock. Lefty came out of the troop cage rapidly and seemed to trip over Spotty, well it really looked like a well aimed kick to the bollocks, but I was told by Lefty that it was an attempted trip by Spotty so I kind of played safe and thought "Yes...fair point!". Spotty was given 5 extras for his troubles and told to report to the SSM...once the flow of blood was stemmed!

Lefty rapidly gained a reputation within A Squadron for not taking fools gladly and rather like a Chameleon seemed to change colour when his mood shifted from good to bad to very very bad and slowly back to bad again, normally after exercising his Troop Sergeant's right in those days of hitting somebody very hard! The unfortunate victim was normally Spotty. A point to note, it was rare for him to achieve what became known as STATE GREEN twice in the same day!



STATE GREEN - He was generally OK and things were running smoothly. He was of course able to turn at any stage to another state and as this was the lowest state attainable things could only generally get worse! At this state it was normally OK for Spotty to approach Lefty with any queries or requests, although he was wise to always ensure he had identified an escape route should a normally passive state suddenly change. STATE GREEN was normally observed during the early morning before he had:

a. Spoken to anybody, (less Mary his delightful wife of course who was able to keep him calm).

b. Visited the QM Tech Stores.

c. Completed First Parade.

d. Thought about his Brother in Law,(whom he seemed to dislike ...a lot!).

e. Been reminded that Nottingham Forest were total crap.

f. Been told that he really needed to practice Squadron Radio Checks in order to get the TUUAM switch settings correct ( must have been totally insane!!)

g. Spotted Spotty.


STATE ORANGE - He was mildly annoyed and it was best to try and humour him in the hope that he would quickly return to STATE GREEN. It was normal for him not to stay at STATE ORANGE for very long as he was in general, on his way up the states rather quickly. STATE ORANGE was the warning order for Spotty Woodward to make himself scarce, which took him a while to learn and a few bloody noses as well. The remainder of the troop noting that Spotty had disappeared would quickly make themselves look busy on the tank park, normally using the old favourite job when important people visited of cleaning the 120mm gun! 1 Troops guns were always the cleanest in the Squadron of course.


STATE RED - A rather dangerous state for all around. STATE RED was achieved quickly often without warning. Lefty was to put it mildly F*****g annoyed!! It was of course, best to avoid any eye contact and to stay out of arms length. This was a common State after he had been to the QM (Tech) Stores. It seems that when told that a certain Troop Sgt in C Sqn with family connections had taken spares that were really for 1 Troop were guaranteed to make things very uncomfortable for the Troop. Spotty Woodward generally recognised this State and jailed himself for his own protection, the remainder of the troop would get the staves out and start to clean the already clean gun!

STATE RED IN THE TURRET - This was a State that was normally only seen either on exercise or on the ranges. As it's name suggests STATE RED IN THE TURRET was a State that was brought on by something either wrong happening on his tank or troop which could include human error or mechanical error when out of camp. External influences could also contribute to this State such as a radio order or instruction that he disagreed with. It was best to avoid being on the tank with him in this State and very sadly Spotty often was with nowhere to hide. The face of the Tank Laser Sight and Spotty's equally bobbly face came into regular contact during STATE RED IN THE TURRET!


STATE PURPLE IN THE TURRET - This can only be described as absolute rage and was a mood reserved for out of camp activity. It was thought that tiredness also contributed to this state. It was a natural progression from STATE RED IN THE TURRET. STATE PURPLE IN THE TURRET was often seen when 1 Troop were deployed as the lead troop in an Advance to Contact situation when SIMFICS was fitted. If Lefty's tank was engaged and 'destroyed' his flashing light would start to flash and his smoke pot would go off. The troop would all immediately jockey, find fire positions...reporting "CONTACT TANK.....WAIT OUT" as they did so. There would be frantic scanning to their front, serious questions asked of the Recce's Troops inability to find the enemy which of course would start to annoy Lefty. The Squadron Leader would be formulating a quick set of orders to deal with the situation only to be eventually rescinded after no enemy position could be positively found. Lefty would be told to reset his SIMFICS and to continue the advance. Unknown to all, (less the crew of 22 Andy Fisher and Me!!!) who had disconnected their Flash Bang Simulator and fired at Lefty's tank caused the potential 'Contact' situation. As Lefty removed his headsets and climbed out of his hatch onto the turret to reset the SIMFICS smoke pot, the Gunner on 22 under orders from the Commander fired at Lefty's tank again causing Lefty to be enveloped in an orange smoke screen. This would immediately result in Lefty rising to STATE PURPLE IN THE TURRET very quickly, although technically he was outside! Spotty Woodward would be very very worried at this stage and rightly so, because even though this was nothing to do with him he was sure to bear the brunt of Lefty's rather dangerous state. Lefty would get the flashing light reset and a new smoke pot placed in its holder and continue the advance........only for it to be repeated again................This resulted in Lefty remaining at STATE PURPLE IN THE TURRET for long periods of time which was passed over the Squadron radio net, rather bravely by Steve Cousins when Lefty had removed his headsets announcing, "CHARLIE CHARLIE ONE.....THIS IS ONE ONE SUNRAY MINOR ..SITREP....LEFTY IS STATE PURPLE IN THE TURRET!!!!


  1. Whilst this was very funny at the time, both myself and Andy Fisher would like to own up to the fact that we caused you so much grief. It was totally irresponsible and childish behaviour on our part. To the rest of 1 Troop we offer apologies for making your life hell!!!

  2. The above may imply that Lefty was a very angry person who should have attended some form of anger management therapy. For this I apologise, and sincerely hope that it is taken in the manner that it was intended for humour only. I would like to also add that there were no facilities for Anger Management therapy in Paderborn!!!

  3. If Spotty Woodward reads any of this:

    • None of it is true!

    • It cannot be used in a court of law.

    • I cannot be called as a witness.