THE STORY shared by pub owners the Webb family sounds like something from a movie.
Left shaken by a close encounter with a rocket in Timbuktu, veteran Stuart distanced himself from forces life to pursue a new direction with his wife Anita.
The drone expert had previously served in the 32nd and 47th regiments of the Royal Artillery, with stations at Larkhill, Wiltshire, Basra in Iraq and the former Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
But a change came when the 55-year-old felt he was in the ‘wrong place’ off the back of a combined 30 years in the army and at the UN.
His compromise was matched, as Anita, 44, gave up a career as a taxi driver to return to her roots of pub work.
The pair are now the landlords of the Stags Head pub in Westbourne – having injected £40,000 into the venue for a refurbishment – and say they are content.
And as they celebrate their first year in the role, their decorations marking 100 years since the end of the First World War are turning heads.
‘It’s my own background which has brought this on,' Mr Webb said.
‘We have a big following of soldiers and veterans who come into the pub. I’ve promised to do this since we took over.
‘Remembering the lives of veterans is so vital because we would not be here today were it not for them.’
The camouflage display adorned with poppies and armed forces flags has transformed the front of the 18th century pub.
Mr Webb said: ‘Reaction has been very positive – we’re the centre of the village.
‘We’ve had children coming in with their families asking what it’s all about because they don’t know, which goes to show how important it is we keep this story going.’
With live music from the Damian Lodrick Band, the pub will host remembrance celebrations when it opens from 8.30am until 11pm on Sunday, November 11.
Visitors can enjoy pub food in a mess tin if they wish – perhaps one of its popular roasts – paired with one of a selection of ales, wines, ciders or local gins.
Mrs Webb, who heads up the pub’s front of of house team, said: ‘We are taking the day off on the 11th to go to Westbourne Church, then to the ex-servicemen’s club in Havant. Hopefully they’ll all follow us back to the pub.’
To learn more, visit thestagsheadwestbourne.co.uk.