Army veteran chronicles years serving country

Philip 'Ena' Elwell with his book
Philip 'Ena' Elwell with his book
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Atten-shun! A retired Sergeant Major nicknamed after old Coronation Street favourite Ena Sharples wants you to read his story.

Philip ‘Ena’ Elwell, who has spent 31 years in the Army with the former Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and is nowadays caretaker at Endcliffe Hall Territorial Army barracks, has penned the story of his years in service.

The 58-year-old decided to chronicle his experiences after being laid up for more than 20 weeks due to a knee replacement operation.

The operation resulted from years of carrying heavy rucksacks and playing rugby for the Army having taken their toll.

‘A Dukes Tale’ takes readers through from when he joined up aged 15-and-a-half to his exploits in the world’s troublespots.

Philip, originally from Thurnscoe, but who now lives at Endcliffe in Sheffield, and is a member of Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir, still prefers to be known by his nickname despite no longer being in the forces.

He said: “I served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Germany and Gibraltar, plus exercises in Norway. I also trained forces in Namibia and Latvia, and helped train British officers.”

Philip’s deployments in Northern Ireland came at the height of the Troubles – and he has some hairy stories.

He had a commendation for his actions in 1974, when he was a Private.

He said: “The book covers the jobs I was doing, how I got promotions, births, deaths and marriages. There are also all the friendships and funny stories that go with a life in uniform.”

Philip, who was a full-time soldier for 24 years, rising to the rank of Warrant Office II – or Sergeant Major – was also a TA Sergeant Major for the Dukes at Endcliffe Hall for seven years.

He has been caretaker at the base for the last 14 years.

And the nickname?

“When I was a junior, a Sergeant Major said to me, ‘You’re just like Ena Sharples, always talking’ – and the name stuck’,” Philip revealed.

■ Copies of A Dukes Tale, priced £10 each, are available from Philip by calling 07787 703070, or emailing him at philipelwell@yahoo.co.uk