With a foreword by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe 11 of Denmark ( The Colonel in Chief)
- Michael Scott
Introduction - A Regiment at War
This chapter gives the long and Illustrious history of the Regiment and how it has evolved over many years, having a link back to the Buffs in 1572, to its formation in 1992 from the amalgamation of the Queens and Royal Hampshires.
Prologue - Extreme Valour
This Chapter, as is proper, is dedicated to Private Johnson Gideon Beharry V.C., and the reason for his Award, written without exaggeration or glamour, it gives the honest facts behind his being awarded the V.C. and his bravery and judgement stand out all the more for the simple facts, (unlike American articles that tend to gush).
Chapter 1 - The Troubles.
This comprehensive and illuminating chapter covers the Regiment's time in Ireland, the Regiments first fatality, and the death of Major John Barr in one of those accidents that occur in the midst of a busy schedule of operations.
The history of soldiering in the Province is comprehensively covered, along with the reasons for the Regiment being there. The aims and targets that they set out to achieve are well presented, including the honesty of some of the Senior Officers when meeting their troops for the first time, often under arduous conditions; the little vignettes of life under duress such as the day that Ozzie Osbourn took command from the R.W.F , and then managed to press the magic button and impale the Covert Military van more than once! then his subsequent efforts at hiding himself from a very pissed off Colour Sergeant - along with the barracking he duly received from every other base in the province
Some of the Features on missions are frankly and honestly described, including one sniper who upon climbing into the Helicopter suffered an embarrassing incident and stunk every body else out for the duration of the return trip !.
Also mention is made of an event where the Regiment attempts to stop a march, and Gerry Adams speaks to some one in high authority in politics, hands the phone over to a Senior Officer, causing them to grudgingly step back and allow the march to continue? For many of you, some of the other actions and events involving the Players will come as no surprise!
A frank, honest and informative chapter about the failures but importantly the many successes that outweigh them during the regiments time in Ireland, and the training in the run up to each posting.
Chapter 2 - The Balkans
Now even though I listened to the radio at this time and read the paper, I had not realised exactly how much was going on , the articles we read were either biased or the journalists did not always see the action on the ground so closely
This Chapter puts all that right, it gives a clear and concise history of the complicated politics and ethnic and tribal differences, and the many many differing groups, some of whom change sides and allegiance more than once. In fact I had not realised just how complex the Military operation was, and how many times it had to change its mantra and tasks.
Starting off with UNPROFOR and then adapting and coping with the changes in structure and management of the U.N. and other military forces involved.
The famous Bank Hold-up is covered in detail, and includes a lovely reproduction of the hold-up.
Also many of the tense and often arduous negotiations are described and how difficult it was to stay piggy in the middle, and yet to take all the blame.
Some humour is interjected when mention is made of the military Police being kidnapped at gunpoint by a drunken local who collided with their vehicle, he then proceeded to empty his pistol into the MP`s transport, before back up could arrive and calm him down.
Chapter 3 - Iraq
America's invasion and the reasons behind it are clearly covered here , and as many of you reading this will have experienced the actual event, I will not try to reflect on it too much, but from the point of view of a civilian the author is very clear about our reasons for being there, the many confusing aspects of the campaign and the difficulties experienced. All of the events and actions that the regiment encountered are detailed here with great honesty, and you can tell how proud the author is of the men who served under him and how much they give when the pressure mounts up.
Again humour amidst the Chaos is included, especially when the locals attempt to steal a job lot of porta loos that were full up !
Chapter 4 - Afghanistan
This chapter is illuminating for the fact that it also covers the previous Afghanistan conflicts, those of the first Afghan War 1892-42.
The Second Afghan war 1878-81
The Third Afghan War of 1919 albeit for one month and then the build up of British Troops under Op Enduring Freedom, then the Regiment's gradual expansion to Afghanistan under Operation Herrick.
The Operation and its objectives are clearly laid out along with the various Teams involved and the areas covered. Many of the Soldiers involved provide a full and accurate report of their actions, along with the overall strategy of each action. It is a full and illuminating chapter and misses nothing out, nor does it shy away from the horrors of that conflict
Chapter 5 - Small Wars and Brush fires
The Chapter covers the Regiment's actions in so many other areas of the world, where they had to step in and perform often thankless tasks to separate sworn enemies and rival factions; Cambodia, Rwanda, Georgia, The Congo, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Cyprus, The Horn of Africa and Iraq again.
The words Small Wars and Brushfires are typical British understatement. The difficulties involved in staying impartial when faced with aggression from both sides and brutality dished out to civilians caught up in the middle are made clear, and all the more respect is given for the Regiment's handling of these actions.
The Book also includes at the front, Maps covering the various Actions while in the centre 34 high quality pictures, along with 3 full page reproductions of the paintings of Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry V.C., by Nick Lord, The Defence of CIMIC House, painted by David Rowlands and the Bank Job also painted by David Rowlands.
A very readable, well written and concise book and one which gives great praise to the Soldiers involved, lists in detail their actions and their fine judgement when faced with such awful circumstances.
As a Civilian please excuse me if I have made any mistakes in terminology used, some of which I am not familiar with, this book however easily reaches across to those of a non military background, and really highlights the great work carried out for little reward.
A well laid out and very readable book Hardback and running to 291 pages. Written by Mike Scott a Colonel in the Regiment, it covers 25 years of their History.