What did Escape to the Chateau’s Dick Strawbridge do in the Army?

Angel and Dick Strawbridge realise the chateau is wonky

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Dick Strawbridge is the beloved TV presenter with a storied past. After serving in the Army for over 20 years, Strawbridge has kept most of those years to himself since first appearing in Scrapheap Challenge back in 1999. Today, the star is best known for Escape to the Chateau on Channel 4, but fans are still curious about his Army days.

What did Dick Strawbridge do in the Army?

While most fans will know Dick Strawbridge for presenting Escape to the Chateau, the star spent most of the early years of his career away from television screens. 

Strawbridge joined the Army as soon as he was able, keen to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-grandfather.

He first made his television debut in 1999 on Scrapheap Challenge, back when he was still a Colonel in the Army.

He was a Lieutenant Colonel by the time he left the Army in November 2001, deciding to focus on his television career.

He was part of the Royal Corps of Signals, a division of the Army that was one of the last to leave military warzones.

Strawbridge was even presented with an MBE for Distinguished Service in 1993, though the star has never revealed why he earned it.

In fact, he even refused to explain the award to the Queen when she was bestowing it upon him.

Recalling the event, Strawbridge explained: “The Queen said, ‘Ah, Major Strawbridge, what did you do in Northern Ireland?’

“And I said, ‘I can’t actually say, Ma’am.’ One of her aides whispered in her ear, and her eyes lit up.

“She instantly knew who I’d been working with and what I’d been doing.”

Retiring from the Army at the age of 40, Strawbridge still regards himself as a Ulsterman, despite leaving Northern Ireland many years ago.

He now calls Northern France his home, as he and his wife, Angel Adoree, have been renovating a manor house in Escape to the Chateau.

The move from the military to television may seem like a major leap for some, but the star did explain why he decided to make the transition.

“I was on my way to becoming a general,” Strawbridge explained, “and knew I wouldn’t be getting my boots dirty anymore – I didn’t join the Army to do a desk job.”

First appearing as a guest in Scrapheap Challenge, Strawbridge stood out among the crowd, earning him a permanent position as a presenter on the show.

Since then, Strawbridge has continued to get his hands dirty and put in the work in the various shows he has appeared in over the past 20 years.

Escape to the Chateau continues to be a massive success for the presenter, with the show enjoying seven seasons so far.

Now Strawbridge’s French family home is open to the public, with the chateau being a holiday destination for many.

It has proven to be a popular location, with bookings open for 2022 now.

Fans can spend the night at the home, or even help the Strawbridges out in maintaining the vast estate.

Escape to the Chateau seasons 1-7 are available to watch on All4.

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