SA brothers enjoy UK army life

2009-07-08 00:00

TWO young Pietermaritzburg men came home to the city recently after being away for years with the British army.

Gregory and Matthew Dove said they are glad to be back together with their loved ones even though their stay in South Africa will be short.

Matthew (24) said: “Being away from my family and friends is the only down side, but despite [this] I still enjoy army life.”

Gregory (26) was the first to join the army in 2005 and Matthew said it was his brother who inspired him to join two years later.

Their mother, Veryll Mackrory, said she was taken by surprise when Gregory first wanted to join the army, but she has grown accustomed to her sons’ way of life.

“I do get a bit sad that they are so far away most of the time, but I am happy for them because they have found something that makes them happy.”

The brothers are part of the Royal Green Jackets regiment and endure gruelling training.

Matthew said he most enjoys the frequent travelling that comes with being in the army.

“We have been to the central U.S., around the UK and Iraq.”

Gregory studied personal training in the army and is a rehabilitation instructor for injured soldiers at the Hedley Court Hospital in Surrey.

Matthew said he wishes to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

They say they enjoy playing rugby with their friends in their free time.

“Greg joined the Royal Green Jackets as an infantry soldier, thrown straight into the deep end. It was a major eye-opener for him and a change from day-to-day life. I joined the same battalion as a Green Jacket and we were lucky to be together.

“Greg took a keen interest in personal training and became a physical training instructor for troops to be deployed to the hot- spots of the world.”

Matthew took his chances as a sniper and after a lengthy, tough course in freezing weather, he was one of the few who made it.

“I was then posted out of my unit as a sniper to the brigade special surveillance company for my seven months in Iraq.

“Iraq was tough and hard, but we had each other there and it made life so much easier.”

Matthew said their battalion did not have a good operational tour as many men did not come home or were badly injured.

“It was an amazing experience being there and if asked if we would go back, we would without a doubt, to fight alongside the friends we had made over the years.

“Army life is tough, don’t be fooled, but there are more pros than cons.

“We have both travelled the world and made brothers, not friends, as well as done things people would only dream of doing,” said Matthew.

He said being from Maritzburg College helped a lot. “We are not shy to let people know where we are from. Bruce Francis, Brett Dixon and Darren Wilson, all College boys, are also doing very well in their respective regiments.”

And now there is a third Dove brother in the process of joining the British army.”

Matthew said they are both willing to advise people who are looking to join the British army. They can be reached at and

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