Darren Hammond – Senior Technical Autho

I Joined the Guards Depot, Pirbright, in 1984 and finally hung up my boots 24 years later. As a member of the Household Division, I was involved in many Parades, The Queen’s Birthday Parade, the Cenotaph, the State Opening of Parliament and others but luckily I only did this for 18 Months. The remainder of my service was spent in operational units in Germany and the UK. 

I deployed on many Operational Tours, serving alongside some of the most professional units in the world. These tours enabled me to meet people from different socioeconomic and National backgrounds, people who, like me, were in an environment where we had to rely on each other’s skills and experiences in order to survive. Lifelong friendships were formed with people who had my back as I had theirs. There were good times, fun times, hard times and very hard times all of which have shaped me into the person I am today.

Twenty four years of Serving Queen and Country has certainly taken its toll on me but it also weighed heavily on the strongest people I know, My Family. My Wife, Pam, raised our Children while I was away and made home wherever we were stationed. Pam was the constant in mine and our Children’s lives, taxi driver, school tutor, nurse and everything else, She made sure the family remained whole. To be married to a Serviceman or Woman, and being the one left behind, takes a strong willed and resourceful person and Pam, I am Proud to say, is one. My Family were the ones I wanted to make it home to and they were the ones that kept the home fires burning when I was away.

On the 8th of May we celebrate Victory in Europe (VE) day, 75 years after the actual event. On this day we will celebrate the sensation of six years of hostilities in the European theatre and the start of a very long ‘getting back to normal’, the start of rebuilding what had been destroyed. On this day, 75 years ago, people were also planning for the return of the men and women overseas, people who had endured the unimaginable hardships of war. What would they all do when they got home? Would they all go back to the jobs they left to serve?

Leaving the Forces after 24 years I can relate to how my forbears must have felt all those years ago. What will life hold for me now? Will I be able to provide for my Family? Will I be able find work? Will I be able to do it? Will the people I meet have my back? 

The answer is Yes.

I am proud to have served my Country as a member of the Household Division but I am also proud to be working within a new team, the professional and driven people of Allan Webb Ltd. A working environment that enables me to use some of the skills I learnt along the way whilst encouraging me to learn new ones. 

As a Senior Author I am actively involved with the day to day running of contracts, at production level, focusing on customer liaison whilst mentoring and working alongside other members of the publications team. I am also responsible to the department’s management team, ensuring agreed quality, timelines and budgets are met. 

I have been involved in many contracts that range from maintaining or writing publications and training documentation for the MoD, to running a team working on modular training manuals for a world leading steel producer. Each contract, of course, has its own unique challenges such as working off site, time sensitivity or working remotely from the team whilst we socially distance. However, each challenge is met head on by the team, relying on previous experiences or utilising the skills of colleagues within AWL. 

Of course, it helps when the Management team have all experienced or are trying to overcome similar challenges as they can guide and encourage us in our endeavors. Paraphrasing here but ‘work to your strengths and don’t be afraid to ask questions’ is used quite often, and when I think back to my time in the Forces it’s a similar ethos. “Remember your training and experiences but rely on each other to meet your goals”.

There are a number of Veterans from the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air force and Reservists working within Allan Webb Ltd, all of which, I am sure, share my observations that as a team and working alongside our civilian counterparts and colleagues, we can adapt to the many challenges we face in this dynamic industry.