80s BAOR LI Documentary

Discussion in 'Films, Music and All Things Artsy' started by Charlie_Cong, Mar 4, 2006.

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  1. Just been watching the P Coy film linked in the Infantry forum. It reminded me of an 80s documentary about a Light Infantry Bn based in BAOR - we were shown a couple of clips of it at Sandhurst. The Comms Studies guy commented that it was a good programme but the Bn lost its name as a result.

    I'd be really interested to see the whole film - having heard so much about life in BFG it'd be good to see what "The Good Old Days" were like...

    Anyone seen it? Is it uploaded onto a similar webhost to the P Coy film? Had a dig around on Google with no result.

  2. The title of the documentarywas 'Inside Out' - one of a series where the subjects had editorial control over the content I believe. There were two parts - one mainly focussed on the Anti-Tank platoon of 1 LI and the other on the Officers of the battalion. They were based in Berlin - not a particularly good posting at the best of times. Among the warts and all were the fact that they were overstretched for the many duties, many of the Bn's 432's were non-runners (demonstrated during a call out at 04.00), some good blokes were jacking rather then re-engage, there had also been a couple of suicides but most importantly the way that the death of 8 colleagues in Ballygawley NI in August 1988 had not been handled that well by the battalion. All of this whilst they rehearsed for a Royal Review of the Berlin Garrison. The picture painted by the OR's was not a pretty one and while the senior Officers tried to gloss over the issues the platoon commanders were obviously aware things were not as they should be. A cracking good documentary.
  3. Thanks Diehard.

    Sounds like a good antidote to nostalgia for BAOR - Its easy to forget that the past wasn't so rosy first time round. I re-read Anthony Beevor's "Inside The British Army" (1990) recently and was interested to read many comments which haven't dated at all... particularly about being misunderstood by policians, new Officers seen as careerist and soldiers in training being percieved as physically weak, rights-obsessed and lacking backbone. All the comments were echoed by Officers interviewed by Jeremy Paxman in his chapter on the Army in "Who runs this place?" written in at about the same time (1989). His was extremely scathing about them in the book, yet Anthony Sampson's last "Anatomy of Britain" (2003 and in my opinion directly comparable to Paxman's book) was glowing.

    I'd think it's fair to say that, in hindsight, BAOR was in a state of definate malaise in the late 80s. Still, I can think of around 100,000 people who'd look forward to being in a similar situation.

    You might be interested, by the way, in a book called "Soldier, Soldier" (not related to the TV series of the same time) in which a strong pacifist described his interviews with soldiers and officers of the Royal Anglians. He visited all three Bns - One was in the UK, one in NI and I think another in Germany. Excellent reportage - he omits his questions and presents the interviews as monologues. Unnerving - more fly on the wall than any TV documentary. Because he doesn't interrogate, only act as a prompt, the interviewees (all the way from the Mess LCpl and a soldier's wife to the RSM and CO) expound on their ideas about life in the army. The effect really is like travelling back in time and sitting quietly in a corner while these guys talk on. Also interesting to read about NI in the "bad old days" long before young pups like myself got the GSM for very very little. You can dig it out for a couple of quid on abebooks...

    ... which is more than you can "Inside Out"! Have you got an excellent memory or a VHS tucked away?

    In fact I've just looked up "Soldier Soldier" on abebooks at it was written in 1985 by Tony Parker. Currently £2.99 - can't reccomend it enough!

    Anyway cheers for the info on the documentary... always wanted to know what the scandal was about.
  4. If this is the impression books on the subject of BAOR late 80's have left on you then I feel the true facts have not been captured. I spent the late 80's as a new RAOC Pte then L/Cpl stuck in a forward ammunition storage site on a hill. Everyone worked hard but were also allowed to play hard and rewarded. Those were days when exercises were exercises and had to be long and frequent as there were very few deployments. Outloading and inloading thousands of tonnes of ammo was well practised and I think the RLC would struggle should they be crashed out on Ex Packsaddle or Triple Offer today. All exercises ended up with people signing off but I think most handled it better than todays RLC soldier would. Malaise, I don't think so.
  5. Was discussing this with the wife, and wondered whether there are any copies of this documentary, made while we were at Brooke/Wavell late eighties. The Inside Out documentary followed our move from Op Banner to Berlin and I remember the programme crew on camp. The Queen Mum visited us the same year I think, and it was Fergie who attended the Berlin Parade, in which the battalion shined despite the crap we'd taken.
    Yes, interesting revelations came out during the programme, but these were tough times for the battalion.

    If anyone has a copy of this documentary, or knows where to get hold of one, we'd appreciate a PM or a pointer.

    Many thanks and regards

  6. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    I have got Soldier Soldier at home somewhere, and agree with C_C. Its a really good read.
  7. Just noticed that BBC iPlayer has the whole doc ( not just the perspective from the blokes ) under the title "Ticking With The Crow / The Officers Mess"

    BBC iPlayer - Inside Out: Ticking With the Crow/The Officers' Mess

    Not possible to download it, which is a shame especially as there a few other good docs have recently been added to the "British Army" section.