Author
Ken Wharton
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
In the early Twentieth Century there was a war brewing on Britain’s doorstep. Northern Ireland was filled with discrimination and suspicion, a sense of foreboding that would soon erupt into full-blown rioting. As the fiftieth anniversary of the Troubles approaches, Ken Wharton takes a thorough look at the start of the Troubles, the precursors and the explosion of violence in 1969 that would last until the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In all, the Troubles cost 50,000 casualties and nearly 2,000 civilians’ lives across Northern Ireland, the Republic and England. Utterly condemnatory of the paramilitaries, Wharton pulls no punches in his assessment of the situation then and seeks to dismiss apologists today. His sympathy lies first and foremost with those tasked with keeping law and order in the province, but also with the innocent civilians caught up in thirty years of bloodshed.

Torn Apart is an in-depth look at the start of the Troubles, looking at the seminal moments and Northern Ireland today using the powerful testimony of those who were there at the time. A real history, not the made up propaganda, which I must note ALL side performed on us .

Ken Wharton is in the second part of his 60's, a former soldier turned Author and writes from the stand point of the Soldier on the ground. He refuses to allow history to be rewritten and is an acclaimed author of eleven books on the troubles.

Why do/did we becomes Soldiers? Back in 1970 I personally joined because I left home at 16 and by 17 found that I was wandering around aimlessly thinking there must be more to life than working in a butcher's shop in North London. Also I had been in the Army Cadets and thought I might find a home and career in the Royal Engineers. Coming from a Catholic upbringing I was well aware that the Army was in Northern Ireland preventing the Catholics from being murdered by the Prots. I was all for the Catholics as I believed that they were fighting for their civil rights marching and singing the same songs as the civil rights protesters that we had seen on the TV from America. Many others joined simply because there were no other jobs in Thatcher's, Britain; yet others joined after hearing their fathers talk about Op BANNER and decided to do their bit. I have heard that being in Northern Ireland was far more scary to some men who had served recently in Afghanistan, that was the sort of pressure and fear these soldiers were under.

It never occurred to me nor my mates that the Irish were fighting also to break from N.I and the UK or that they wanted to bring the Ireland together once more. Even in training I was more interested in going home and chasing girls than anything that was on the news. I think it wasn't until 1972 that we started to recognise the Troubles and the impact on the British Squady in the riots. Nail bombs and Johnnies filled with phosphorous allied to girls calling out to us from high up windows then dropping sheets of glass on the the troops faces was a big Issue if I remember correctly.

Obviously thing changed as Op BANNER got into its stride. Now, through some peculiarity of fate, through not breaking the rule "don't volunteer", I never went on ops to N.I. I remember though how we were shocked and appalled at the deaths of the poor young Scottish soldiers in cynical murder by girls inviting them to a party; then the odd bloke brought back assorted missiles which had been launched on the British soldiers which were passed around by us admiring them and thinking the rioters would get a 7.62 missile hurled right back if they tried it on with us. Yes we were so Innocent. Then gradually more and more Squadrons were going out and allegedly the C.O. OF 25 Engineer Regt received a "welcome to Belfast" letter from the IRA. How we spent countless hours in the bar debating how the WAR for it was a war to us by then could be won. After leaving the Army together with five million other unemployed men in Britain were were hoping for recall to the Colours to help our lads get the job done .

Ken Wharton's book puts it all in context for the average bloke, the simplicity of his explanations of the escalation of horrible murders, terrible wounding of innocent people with the indiscriminate bombing of the population. He pulls no punches when describing the various species of IRA who in my view took dominion over the public relations war, killing on a sectarian basis when fighting the so called "Enemy " - us, in their so called " long war" which they described as a defence and a Political action aiming for reunification of Ireland despite the fact that a large proportion of the inhabitants didn't want unification.

Every Soldier and Veteran should have a copy of this book and read and re-read it to get the greater picture of why they walked the walk; and now 50 years on, only to be stabbed in the back by our weak politicians, who are too greasy to support and take responsibility for our side of the action, but are willing to try and blame a couple of pensioners for the ills of Operation BANNER. Ken Wharton has done all of us a great service by writing this incredibly informative book chronicling the British campaign with warts and all, non apologetic history naming names making sure that we really understand the full role that Adams and Mcguinness played in half destroying their supposedly beloved Isle. This book woke me up as to the real nature of fighting a war against skilled, well trained, disciplined psychopaths hiding behind the flag of convenience of freedom fighters. Freedom to kill with unwarranted bombs, sadistic maiming in the name of citizen policing and the duplicity of the commanders who won't take responsibility for ordering all this but hiding as politicians trying to find a democratic Marxist version of freedom.

If I had the money I would send a copy to every MP. serving today with a short note that not ALL left wing members were pro. IRA as Ken reminds us of the 50 or so who protested the IRA 's actions after one incident in the 70 shows; even this bunch of dishonoured representatives could benefit form this history. God bless all the men from 1969 up till today who had to walk those streets with their hands tied behind their backs and yet still manage to hold discipline and act in a manner befitting real men and not skulking back-shooting cowards. Five well earned mushroom heads .

Please go and buy this book its one you need to read before you get too old.

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