Major Ken Hames MBE is an adventurer and explorer in every sense. One of the aims with the podcast is to dig out diverse views of the world we live in and on today’s episode Major Hames tells incredible stories of being stuck in mine fields when at war in the Falklands, parachuting into hostile terrains all over the world, guiding people in wheelchairs through the Nicaraguan wilderness for the BBC and of his conservation work in Africa which recently saw him attacked by a rhino in Namibia. With one eye always on the Official Secrets Act there are things that Major Ken can’t tell us, but the stories he can and does divulge are riveting.
On this episode we cover: Ken’s book Fallen Angel, co-written with Keith Turnbull, not swinging through windows with boxes of chocolates, learning some serious skills, M-style gadgets, shooting over the shoulder whist having a cup of coffee, Bear Grylls, going without food, sleep deprivation, torture, Guantanamo, the lonely life of a soldier, jumping out of aeroplanes, parachuting into the sea, going to the arctic, the many things he can’t tell us, the hostile environment of central America, piles of cocaine, getting shot at off the coast of Belize, the fear of bombs in Northern Ireland, his experience in the Falklands, not having the right kit in the cold, getting caught in a mine field, getting shot several times, the harrowing bombing of the Sir Galahad, Simon Weston, losing friends and colleagues in battle, The Ascension Islands, how his mother dealt with him going to war, PTSD and bad dreams, dealing with post-war anxiety, counselling, the camaraderie of army life, his Dad’s experience in WW2, joining the army age 16, his tough childhood on a Derbyshire farm, getting refused entry to Sandhurst, being bullied by the boys from the tough estates, the RAC Independent Parachute Squadron, getting his parachute wings age 17, parachuting onto the top of mountains, into jungle clearings, onto beaches, his parachute not opening, American spy planes in Cyprus, being unable to stand on a plane, taking disabled people across Nicaraguan wilderness for BBC’s Beyond Boundaries, raising the awareness of disability, climbing with blind Frenchmen, looking for Inca cold in the Andes, getting slashed by six foot razor-sharp plants in Llanganates mountains in Ecuador, The Conquistadors, desert landscapes in Africa, conservation work, his love of a desert campfire (albeit with lions hanging around), getting charged by a Rhino in Namibia, his love of architecture, the curiosity of humans to travel, the need to look over the horizon
Climbing the Alps in Lederhosen, hanging around with the Von Trapps, The Dolomites, the attraction of remote places, the exploratory urge of humans, the discovery of the interior of Australia, Into the Wild, Christopher McCandless, the Special Forces currently unseen on our streets, frightening old ladies in lifts in Columbia, being bound by the Official Secrets Act, disliking the TV revelations of Special Forces training, his friendship with Princess Diana, conservation work in Africa, Venice gondoliers, Italy’s unexpected Wilderness, the song that reminds him of his mum