No matter where in the world former Sergeant Major Ian Galloway was based, he only ever called one place home
Proud former Green Howard Sergeant Major Ian Galloway has exported the culture of his beloved Middlesbrough all across the world.
Serving on tours of Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Afghanistan and others and working alongside the armed forces of other nations he has never been shy of promoting the wonders of Middlesbrough Football Club or the Parmo wherever he goes.
He recounts one story from his time serving at the Mazar-e Sharif base in Afghanistan.
“We had a new chef who had been with the SAS and I said if you’re that good then impress me and make a parmo and he didn’t know what it was so I explained – after a few goes he came up with the goods,” recalls Ian.
“On Friday we used to have a regular meeting which eventually turned into parmo night – the Americans used to come to that and in the beginning there was two of them reluctantly, we ended up with 14 because of the parmo!”
The 57-year-old grew up on an army base in Dortmund, Germany as the son of a Green Howard himself and so didn’t spend too much time on Teesside.
He said: “It meant everything coming back to Middlesbrough because you are away from home and all the kids are from different places.
“We would come home and go straight to Ayresome Park – that was our treat.”
Ian talks about the affinity between Middlesbrough and the Green Howards, the town always thought to be a great recruiting ground for the regiment which is now incorporated into the Yorkshire regiment.
He tells of his pride at being part of a tradition and following in the footsteps of VC winning heroes such as Stan Hollis and Tom Dresser – who both have statues in the town – but also another local man with a statue in the town, former Boro legend Wilf Mannion.
Ian also tells the story of the time in 1989 when Boro manager Bruce Rioch took his team, including the likes of Bernie Slaven, Colin Cooper and Steve Pears, to Catterick to train with the Green Howards and then take on the regiment’s team in a football match – captured on a Look North news report anchored by Mike Neville which can be viewed on YouTube.
On another occasion a fellow serviceman in the regiment – which Ian says was always made up of 75% Teessiders – changed the football team’s traditional green and white strip to a Boro one with a Green Howards emblem sewn over the badge.
Now out of the army and on “civvy street”, Ian, who is married to Janet and together have a son Ryan, 27, was only going to settle in one place and it turned it would be in one of the homes in Ormesby he would walk past as a child and think “that’s where the posh people live”.
“100 years ago there was nothing here and you’ve now got a really good mix of people. It’s the people I love, the humour is fantastic. There are some funny, funny people about and a big thing I like is that we can laugh at ourselves,” he said.
“I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I have moved around a lot but it was never in doubt where we would finish up.”