By Wendella Davidson
ALTHOUGH being the only child for his parents, Lieutenant-Colonel Hartley Liverpool (Ret’d) of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) bettered that and fathered 10 children, one of whom is deceased.
He is presently grandfather to 27 and great grandfather to 15 children.
But Colonel Liverpool, who was born on January 1, 1936 at the Public Hospital, Georgetown, is also a father figure to several non-biological children, many of whom were young men and women who were under his charge while being enlisted in either the GDF or the now disbanded Guyana National Service (GNS).
Several of those individuals, now grown adults leading lives of their own with their own families, have described him to the Pepperpot Magazine as a role model because of his caring, fatherly and approachable disposition.
Col. Liverpool, who unfortunately suffers from a complete loss of sight, in an exclusive online interview from his Brooklyn, New York home, said while he is the only child for his parents, he inherited five other siblings, two sisters and three brothers, by way of his father. He recalled that he grew up at Lot 57 Robb Street, Lacytown. His mother died in August 2016 at the golden age of 101 years-old, while his father passed away in 1991.
According to Colonel Liverpool, his military career began in 1955 as a private in the British Guiana Volunteer Force (BGVF), training at weekends and being paid one shilling. Three years later he landed a job at the Chronicle newspapers, working as a manager in the engraving department until 1965 when he was transitioned into the GDF as a corporal.
Colonel Liverpool on account of his soldierly abilities served as Platoon, Company, Battalion, Base and Garrison Commanders and at his retirement, held the position of Lt. Colonel. He is also the first and only soldier of the GDF to be awarded a Medal of Valour.
Despite Col Liverpool’s loss of sight, he was known to be an exemplary soldier and is still revered by those of his peers and even ranks below him. He is usually a prominent figure at all of the army’s significant functions, be it in Guyana or the United States, where he is domiciled.
Colonel Liverpool, who is classified as one of the army’s most decorated officers/soldiers, retired from the army after 25 years of active service.
Along with an eidetic or photographic memory for which he was gifted, he was awarded the Military Service Medal (MSM) for Valour for his heroic actions on the early morning of Tuesday, August 19, 1969, in the New River Triangle during “Operation Climax” launched by the GDF against a Surinamese occupation.
It was Colonel Liverpool’s feat of firing a machine gun while seated in the nose of a flying aircraft that was credited for the successful ousting of the Surinamese soldiers.
Resulting from him being visually impaired, he used exemplary memory while he sought the aid of Megan Campbell, a former GNS pioneer and staffer who also views him as a mentor, to co-author the 23-chapter publication that captures many details leading up to the formation and early times of the GDF, as well as his own experiences while he served.
It is Colonel Liverpool’s hope that such a very informative memoire will serve as a motivation for young soldiers.