Repatriation and Understanding

I’ve not really posted much for a while because just so much other stuff that has been taking up my time. But in order not to lose sight or what I’m about, I’ve decided to carry on blogging for a while and travel more.

As part of this, today we made a trip to another Repatriation of a soldier coming home after paying the greatest price for not only our own nation, but for others too. It’s always a long journey for our lost heroes and heroines, but it’s just so important to pay them some semblance of respect for their work, dedication and sacrifice.

Some die in the most appalling ways, in combat, in support, in accidents, through their bodies simply failing. Yet all have willinglyRoyal_Engineers_badge travelled to the war zones, and all of them know the immense sacrifice may come sadly knocking at their door.

Today, by way of a change we decided to take Charlie Wright’s son James with us. James has now started the application, interview and test process for joining the British Army and more over the Royal Engineers.

In a fitting way, the young soldier being repatriated was Royal Engineer, 23-year-old Sapper Adam Moralee who died recently in Afghanistan.

Brize memorial bellI didn’t tell James initially where we were going because people can react very differently. Ironically when we did tell him he was very eager to get there and pay his respects.

So we cut through the Cotswold towns, stopping in Burford to grab lunch before arriving at RAF Brize Norton.
As the Police out riders came through, the Memorial Bell started tolling as the Funeral Director with top hat and cane walked the hearse to the memorial garden where flags were lowered in salute and family and friends Repat top hat guyplaced flowers on top of it.
Some clapped, most stared forward or lowered their heads, before the cortège finally moved off.

We already know that Sapper Adam Moralee’s ride will be stopped a few more times before his journey’s end today, but such is the feeling of many to need to come and say thank you as he passes by on his way home.Repat Family

Personally, I think this stuff is important. Others may not think so.
As a civilian I can disagree with a war, a political point of view – but I will back a soldier ordered to the field of conflict any day, irrespective of what the politics are. After all, it’s the soldier, male or female who has to commit the “oh so filthy” act of warfare where the stakes are for real – not the politician…

James now has had an experience too few have had. He thanked us for taking him, and frankly what he does from today forward – he does so with his eyes wide open.

James Repat1

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A true Regimental Salute to His Royal Highness Prince Harry, Capt Wales

Yup, like I stated previously – the Army does NOT think the same way as civvies – they like, live and love a more raucous life style…

It’s just the way things are… and how they roll

Picture : The New Daily Patriot

There are still real Rockers ;-)

So, after a Ted Nugent concert in Maine the band’s drummer was arrested for what can only be described as latent “Rock Hotel room Syndrome”, something that hasn’t seen the light of day for quite some time – without much in the way of flare anyway. In time honoured tradition, the Rocker must be:

Smashed out of his mind – check

Something must be stolen – check

Major disruption caused – and check…

Yep, Drummer Mick Brown, staggered from the show, stole a golf cart and headed out of the security area. Observed to be driving erratically, security strolled after him and arrested him for DUI…

So my observation…. Is this is really what Rock-n-Roll has come to?!

taken by TWBritAnother rocker was the Washington Monument which suffered at the hands of a real mover and shaker last year when it became the recipient of a 5.5 earthquake. It was a genuine shaker for those inside it at the time… As large scale monolithic needles go, they’ll have fun with the thread on this sucker as it’s going to cost over $30 million to repair and won’t be open until 2014 – which is a quite some time after the end of the world apparently – blame Cern ;-)

Other information of note is that recently – Britain is wet…. no real news there.

There was a streaker at the Olympic Torch relay

And finally: the British Army is losing more personnel… Yup, a few years ago they amalgamated all of the regiments into over sized new regiments and simply numbered them as battalions to the new regiment. In the case of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, The Green Howards and the Prince of Wales own Regiment of Yorkshire, they were bundled together into a thing called The Yorkshire Regiment. Now, because they didn’t make a “Yorkshire Division” it was fairly obvious there was going to be more foul play to hand. So after all the regiments lose their own identities being squashed into greater entities (thus destroying the regimental system at its grass root level), it was no surprise that even with the order not to lose any “Cap Badges” (not that they have to anymore). 4 battalions out of the new regiments are to be disbanded… Which in real terms means 4 original regiments

This will bring the total of British Army down to strength of 82,000… And that my friends is totally unacceptable.  As such the UK’s voice in the world has now become one of “put up or shut up” because along with a strong voice in the world – you must have a military big enough and capable of taking on all comers – and we no longer have that. And the last thing? You can’t rebuild regiments from scratch, these now move into history and to be forgotten as too the system that made the British Army so formidable to a man. But until we suffer a defeat the like of which we haven’t seen for nearly a hundred years, nothing will be done about it. So hey, if an enemy attacks in strength – the people at the front end dying will know there is no one behind them to back them up.

Bloody Skirt Wearer

In the cold, cold January of 1978 I went to stay a place for a couple of years with no effective heating of any kind..
The first two people I met there I ended up sharing a room with and are now scattered across the Pacific Rim.
One of those people went on to be a soldier… he joined a historical and long established regiment in the British Army.
I knew he would join it, it’s a family thing for him. As such and losing contact from 1980 I followed the whereabouts of the regiment for many years. Germany, Berlin infact.. where he became the unfortunate soldier guarding the gate of Spandau Prison on the 17th August 1987, the day the prisons only occupant, Hitlers right hand man Rudolf Hess died – and within minutes having to face down the Russian Army Taskforce with nothing more than his smile and his rifle. He went on to giving away Hong Kong, numerous tours of Northern Ireland and then on to Iraq and the taking of Basra.
In this time I too a had been a soldier (twice) but in no way did it compare to 24 years of loyal service.

A soldier can be measured on many levels, but on paper it is usually the ones who get into trouble whom when the chips are down – they come into their own and excel in their chosen field. Indeed, history has proven this out time and time again… They’re the hardcore, the real soldiers and the lifers.

As years have gone on, the British Army has been bastardised in the name of modernisation in which saw the destruction of Regimental depots and amalgamation of the regiments into faceless titles of a begotten time when their merits stood for something.

Like his grand farther, father, him and now his son’s… the name The Black Watch is continued in the history of family line.

So why write all this?

Because I have nothing to give! But a friendship that has lasted many years… and today it’s that bloody skirt wearers Birthday!

Pte, L/Cpl, Pte, L/Cpl, Pte, L/Cpl, Cpl, L/Cpl, Cpl, Sgt, Cpl, Sgt Hamilton Scott

Happy Birthday!!

The Dukes deploy to Afghanistan – well a few of them do


Over a year later than was first thought and not as battalion deployment, but finally they’re going.
According to the BBC News website a company or less is to deploy in short order. There is speculation that this tenacious  bunch of fighting men don’t actually need to deploy in full to be that effective, but sadly the reality is that the rest of the battalion (for some reason called 3Bn Yorkshire Regiment) is doing some pretty serious work at Warminster in future combat techniques.
After the setting a record of the fastest armoured deployment in history under their belts at the beginning of the Iraq war (4 days from initial notification) I’m sure the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment will rise to any role or situation that arises.

Good luck lads, and bring all your bits back with you.

Dukes combined badge

Virtutis Fortuna Comes

War – it’s like that, it’s the way it is


You know, the recent shouting about the lack of British troops, kit and support makes me (and I’m only guessing here) and just about everyone who has served in the British forces, both laugh and want to scream in anger!!

Look, it’s sad, but when you start fighting – people are gonna die. So far our dead are few, very few. In fact, the numbers are so low, I think they’re almost unheard of. In return, very few returning soldiers have come home without killing several Taliban. For the most part, while the job is hard, the death toll of the enemy is staggering! Reports of weapons getting so hot from firing that they ah64seize are not uncommon at all. But war is expensive, very expensive in every way possible – especially in human term!

When the Brits went into Afghanistan, they replaced 9000 US troops with only 3000 British troops!! We laughed… We could not believe the oversight by our penny pinching leaders and the highly indoctrinated officers who went out there to do a Recce first.

Here is the truth; This war is Winnable! But understand this, it will take everything we have Challenger-2Eand more to do so. We are either ‘In’ or ‘Out’, whatever that decision is, it must made now and must be made clear. I watched a re-run of the BBC’s question time the other day on iPlayer – and was disgusted!! People so ready to westland-eh-101-merlingive up on the first sign that we losing troops in larger numbers – it was sickening. You see I’m British, giving up is not in our doctrine. This is the stuff a soldier lives for and if they need a hand out there, give me a weapon!

I disagreed whole heartedly with the Iraq war, it was and will prove to be the most ill thought out waste of life and money, with zero benefits for those involved and history will prove this the case. Afghanistan is a different beast and needs treating as such.

The UK armed forces are in a terrible state, the numbers are dwindling and when a situation arises where by the MoD employs more civil servants that it has soldiers in the army – there is something very seriously wrong!!dwr cap badge1

Un-amalgamate the regiments, reinstall regimental training depots and lets get back to how an armed force should look like. Stop p**sing about with NATO, it does not work!
Lets get the rest of the thousands tanks and armour we need, the rest of the helicopters, plus the other aircraft  and Warrior3equipment – and make sure we never give rise to the question that we do, or do not have enough kit!!  Even slightest hint of such a question is living proof of every type of known failure in leadership, planning and budgeting.
The ony things any military needs is an abundance of equipment, stores and manpower and we have none – that’s the way it is, get over it, take on board, do something about it and move on.

If you need it in simpler terms, can this country protect itself form and invading army? That is the basis of which our military strenglth should be.

Operation Telic is over



6 Years and it’s over and done with for the Brits. As 5 Rifles and 20 Armoured lower there Colours, Itankfire don’t think anyone wil09l be sad to leave.

It’s been a long road for everyone involved, a deadly one at that – it’s been terrifying, nail biting, exhilarating and sad. For most, this has been just something they watched on TV news, for others, it has been family, extreme loss and agony for those permanently injured. Indeed, some soldiers leuktroops_iraqaving the forces this year will not have had any career that wasn’t in a full blown war. iraqchildren

The right and wrongs of this conflict will be argued for many years, but will ultimately come down to historians to clarify the ‘yays and nays’ of it.  But there have been many enduring images that’ll take a long time to fade.

Some records were set, many lives lost, and to the remaining US forces and Iraqi civilians – soldiermore may still be lost. Yet somehow, in the middle of it all the British Army completely reorganized itself and renamed most of it’s regiments – weird huh?KUWAIT BRITAIN MILITARY IRAQ

But for us, it’s over.




Published in: on 30 April, 2009 at 12:26  Comments (1)  
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N.Ireland : Time to Tool-up Again!!


massereeneThis news no doubt will be traveling fast.  Only a few weeks ago EOD or ‘bomb disposal’ to you and me, had to defuse a 500lb car bomb in Northern Ireland.

A few hours ago an Army base in Massereene, County Antrim, came under automatic weapon fire killing two soldiers, injuring two soldiers and two civilians.  As I write this, the story is changing with talks of either a pizza delivery van was used to get to main gate – or was used as cover by a following vehicle.

The Soldiers in Northern Ireland were non operational, they are simply based there, as they would be in any other part of the UK.  As such security was low.

At this time, no one is claiming responsibility.

All this means is this  ‘Business as Usual’  will ensue.


So, is it time to get tooled up again? Sadly I think it just might be.



Published in: on 8 March, 2009 at 02:47  Comments (5)  
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