Stephen was born and raised near Glasgow in Scotland. From early childhood he enjoyed listening to stories from family & friends who had fought in the battlefields of both the 1st & 2nd World Wars.
In 1982 at just 17 years old he enlisted in the British Army. After completing basic training he was dispatched to West Germany where he served with units of the 4th & 3rd Armoured Divisions of 1 BR Corps in readiness for an anticipated Soviet invasion. During this period, he also completed operational tours in the South Atlantic & Canada.
In 1988 Stephen joined the British contingent of the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force, a Multi National quick reaction brigade comprising 14 NATO states. After qualifying in Arctic Warfare Training he overwintered in Norway every year.
During this time he also participated in other operations / training exercises around the world including the Arabian Gulf in March 1991, as well as visiting with the USMC at camp Lejeune & US Army at Fort Bragg.