Thursday, 30 June 2011
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
One chopper that we almost all came in contact with was the sole surviving chinook "Bravo November".
I remember one particular incident which involved Ian Amos our Company Sergeant Major. We had just recently placed a tent over the latrines that had been freshly dug some distance from where we were staying at Ajax Bay in what had been the "Red and Green life machine". Ian had commissioned one of our REME armourers to make some "thunder boxes" so that instead of squatting over an open trench to do "our business" we would have the luxury of being able to sit down. Now Ian was a man of habit in that each morning he would go to the latrine tent with a copy of The Sun with strict instructions that nobody was to disturb him.
Problem is nobody had thought to tell the RAF that we had changed the location of the spot where the replem chopper was supposed to land. So you can imagine what happened when "Bravo November" turned up for her normal replem only to find a bloody big tent in the way. Of course not knowing what to do and at this point not able to see the frantically waving guardsman telling him not to hover over the tent she kept station for good minute or so.
Have you seen what the downdraft of a fully laden Chinook does to to tent?
All I can say is that poor old Ian was letf clutching an inch of The Sun each hand while everything else was ripped away. There he was fully exposed to the world with his trousers around his ankles yelling blue murder up at the pilots.
We all thought it was hilarious but Ian certainly had a sense of humour loss that morning and we all kept a healthy distance away from him :)
Anyway, 30 years later good old "Bravo November" is still at it flying missions in Afganistan
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Yesterday was the 29th anniversary of the liberation of the Falklands.
It's the one day of the year no matter how busy I am I take a little time to reflect on my life and look back.
Last night I was doing my Buddhist prayers and was reflecting that this time 29 years ago the fighting was over and the Argentines had surrendered.
I was up on Tumbledown still without a sleeping bag wedged into a crack between some rocks trying to sleep and stay warm. All around me was the evidence of battle; scattered shell cases, discarded helmets, rifles, bits of clothing, webbing, letters from loved ones and of course dozens of dead from both sides lying where they had fallen.
Rest in peace guys, both British and Argentine, and if any of the bullets I help feed into our GPMG killed you, know that I am truly sorry for I didn't hate you.
There is a wonderful poem by Kudyard Kipling called Tommy that captures the essence of what it is to be a soldier. Lets not forget our current batch of serving men and women. I have included an up to date version of this poem that shows little has changed in the 120 years since the Kipling first wrote the original
O then we're just like 'eroes from the army's glorious past.
Yes, it's "God go with you, Tommy," when the trip might be your last.
They pays us skivvy wages, never mind we're sitting ducks,
When clerks what's pushing pens at 'ome don't know their flippin' luck.
"Ah, yes" sez they "but think of all the travel to be 'ad."
Pull the other one. Does Cooks do 'olidays in Baghdad?
It's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, know your place,"
But it's "Tommy, take the front seat," when there's terrorists to chase
An' the town is full of maniacs who'd like you dead toot sweet.
Yes, it's "Thank you, Mr Atkins," when they find you in the street.
There's s'pposed to be a covenant to treat us fair an' square
But I 'ad to buy me army boots, an' me combats is threadbare.
An' 'alf the bloody 'elicopters can't get in the air,
An' me pistol jammed when snipers fired. That's why I'm laid up 'ere.
Yes, it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, "We 'ave to watch the pence";
Bold as brass the P.M. sez, "We spare them no expense.
But I'll tell you when they do us proud an' pull out all the stops,
It's when Tommy lands at Lyneham in a bloomin' wooden box!.