In Inspiring Buckinghamshire

The Heart of Bucks ‘Inspiring Buckinghamshire’ series gives local people from a range of sectors a chance to share their knowledge and insights to help inspire others.

Here we are speaking with Colonel (Honorary) Lyndon Robinson ACF RIFLES, Chair of  Buckinghamshire Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.

Tell us about yourself and your connection to Buckinghamshire.

I retired from the Army in 2020 as a lieutenant colonel commanding Bicester Garrison and continue to live in Buckinghamshire where I was born in 1961. My current roles are pro bono and include being the Honorary Colonel of the Buckinghamshire Army Cadet Force and Chair of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association in Buckinghamshire. I also represent the Mursley Deanery on the Oxford Synod and serve on the Parochial Church Council at my local church. I retain my connections with the veteran community through being a trustee of the Buckinghamshire Army Reserve and Cadet fund as well as participating in a number of veterans’ events. I was educated at the John Colet County Secondary Modern School where I was a deputy head boy. I have a degree in Fishery Science. My interests include bell ringing, poetry and amateur dramatics. I am the author of the book “Letters to a Village” about my experiences in the Afghan war and the support given to me by a Bucks’ village.

What personal achievements are you most proud of?

To be appointed the Honorary Colonel of the Buckinghamshire Army Cadet Force is something I was most proud of as was being asked to represent the South East Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association as its chair in Buckinghamshire. These organisations are hugely focused on delivering and enabling youth development to the extent that their contribution to societal cohesion, diversity, inclusivity and the reaching of a child’s potential is demonstrable and effective. The recent initiative to grow a Bugle Platoon and train youngsters in music is but one outcome to celebrate. It has also created within me a realisation that in having grown up as a foster child I can see that for children who share my background joining the cadets would give them a range of opportunities and emotional fulfilment perhaps denied by their circumstances. Military cadets and indeed all uniformed youth organisations and clubs for children are a huge force for good in our County and the Country at large.

What are some of the challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them?

Three challenges jump out at me from this question. The first was to avoid the risks and vulnerabilities associated with growing up as a foster child. Good role models including my teachers and Scout leaders and, most importantly, the unfailing love of my foster mother from my fifth birthday is how those challenges were overcome. Passing out from Sandhurst was the second toughest challenge. Socially it was not a comfortable institution for me and the physical demands of officer training made my time on Brixham trawlers look positively tame. Optimism, self belief, grit and a sense of humour coupled with the support of others got me through. Finally commanding a 1600 tonne landing craft and its crew of 36 in the unforgiving seas of north west Europe was the greatest professional challenge of my life. More so than the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Croatia, Kuwait and Afghanistan. My realising that the Captain commands, but the crew delivers, led to our success in all that we undertook.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

That’s a hard question as the context for advice varies. In preparing for exams it was to read through your answers and allow enough time for each question. On operations it was to expect to be engaged and prepare accordingly. In humour it was to get into the mind of your commander; there is normally plenty of room. At sea it was that only by the grace of God are the diligent not drowned; the foolish have no chance. At Sandhurst it was to sleep at every opportunity; all else could be multitasked. Sometimes advice would contradict itself. Never give up or never reinforce failure. Then there was the stream of advice that you had growing up. Sticks and stones, be kind, do unto others, family is everything, you can’t buy happiness. Perhaps though the best advice is the most timely advice and so I’m reminded of a conversation with an old Scouse seaman when I questioned my value in the world. He told me that I was a man in my own right and from doing right would come my value in the world.

What is your greatest hope for the future for Buckinghamshire?

That the land remains rural in nature and that our farmers are supported to increase food production as part of a national effort at self sufficiency so we don’t compete with poor countries to buy food abroad.

That the people respect one another in all things and where help is needed it is given.

That those in authority are able to govern with wisdom, integrity and moral courage.

That our youth organisations are given far greater resources and that there is a much greater awareness of their benefits to the individual child and the Nation at large.

Read more of our Inspiring Buckinghamshire interviews here.