Cpls. Derek Wood and David Howes

I am saying what I witnessed at the time.
There were Soldiers who had been issued weapons without a healthy respect for the reasons why.
There were Soldiers who were issued weapons that were so full of themselves that this needed to be broadcasted to everybody by wearing shoulder holsters.
The standard of weapon handling on some of the ranges was atrocious. As was the standard of handling weapons in barracks.
The practice of driving around with weapons "made ready" outside of sop's was appalling.
The lack of intel passed to non sneak need to know units was seriously lacking.
The training programme to Soldiers given the responsibility of driving around a province of extremely observant people was non existent in reality.
I could go on forever with my disdain and contempt of the systems in place by support arms of the day. the reality was that 2 very vulnerable untrained NCOs drove unwittingly into an area (due to failures in the system), got boxed in , one pulled a gun but had no idea how to use it with effect or even mechanically as his magazine fell off.
The outcome was that they were both murdered by evil people hundreds of whom were present at that Funeral. The Priest got his name in the media for gratuiously administering the last rights. The CO of the unit praised his men for "acting with restraint", probably got an OBE.
I can only say what I witnessed at the time.
Hmm.

My bold. I'm sure many people 'drove around' made ready when they shouldn't have unless they were cowboys - tell me how you police that? I know many people who carried weapons in plain clothes when they perhaps shouldn't have though!

But it's too late when you're in a vehicle takeover to wish you had a weapon....or is it? For many it might be better to not carry and therefore not have the option of fighting? Better to look down, avoid eye contact and do as you're told? Who knows.....

I did a two year tour a couple of years prior to this ghastly incident that was technically a 'plain clothes' tour - it involved always operating in civilian clothes but in a semi-overt role, if there is such a thing. I was was very well trained and my view in retrospect is that the 1980s was a period that saw a massive increase in the use of SF, especially in Belfast - I feel that because often when in uniform on other tours we'd be FIREFOX'd off the streets because of an SF op at hugely short notice. If you do that - when you still have a huge amount of admin traffic in NI that involved putting ordinary soldiers with relatively little training in that field into civilian cars on 'admin'- then you create a more dangerous environment - just a bigger hole in the Swiss cheese to align with.....

I think I agree that the 'normal' training hadn't caught up - inexperienced, possibly hyped up soldiers in civilian cars with weapons in a dangerous environment is a bad thing especially when they find themselves in Place B when they should be in Place A - don't underestimate how hard it is to cope quickly with that shock, there is no better example than this. That said, I don't agree that 'blaming' anyone achieves anything.

There's a reason we invest in selecting soldiers that can do this very carefully I think!
 
Hmm.

My bold. I'm sure many people 'drove around' made ready when they shouldn't have unless they were cowboys - tell me how you police that? I know many people who carried weapons in plain clothes when they perhaps shouldn't have though!

But it's too late when you're in a vehicle takeover to wish you had a weapon....or is it? For many it might be better to not carry and therefore not have the option of fighting? Better to look down, avoid eye contact and do as you're told? Who knows.....

I did a two year tour a couple of years prior to this ghastly incident that was technically a 'plain clothes' tour - it involved always operating in civilian clothes but in a semi-overt role, if there is such a thing. I was was very well trained and my view in retrospect is that the 1980s was a period that saw a massive increase in the use of SF, especially in Belfast - I feel that because often when in uniform on other tours we'd be FIREFOX'd off the streets because of an SF op at hugely short notice. If you do that - when you still have a huge amount of admin traffic in NI that involved putting ordinary soldiers with relatively little training in that field into civilian cars on 'admin'- then you create a more dangerous environment - just a bigger hole in the Swiss cheese to align with.....

I think I agree that the 'normal' training hadn't caught up - inexperienced, possibly hyped up soldiers in civilian cars with weapons in a dangerous environment is a bad thing especially when they find themselves in Place B when they should be in Place A - don't underestimate how hard it is to cope quickly with that shock, there is no better example than this. That said, I don't agree that 'blaming' anyone achieves anything.

There's a reason we invest in selecting soldiers that can do this very carefully I think!
The training in the late ‘90s was also absolute dog toffee as the assurance that everyone had enough guns and rounds to last more than 3 seconds. I remember going on an IVCP course run by 15SR and still cringe about it now. 10 rounds once a month on the pistol range did not cut the mustard.
 
The training in the late ‘90s was also absolute dog toffee as the assurance that everyone had enough guns and rounds to last more than 3 seconds. I remember going on an IVCP course run by 15SR and still cringe about it now. 10 rounds once a month on the pistol range did not cut the mustard.
Late 90s?

That could perhaps have been related to the threat compared to previous years? I can see why that would have happened - trying to justify full on 3 car drills with live ammo 6 times a week might have been seen, rightly perhaps, as a bit OTT?

A Regimental 'IVCP Course'? Really? God help us.

See my earlier point about matching training to threat - difficult isn't it?
 
The training in the late ‘90s was also absolute dog toffee as the assurance that everyone had enough guns and rounds to last more than 3 seconds. I remember going on an IVCP course run by 15SR and still cringe about it now. 10 rounds once a month on the pistol range did not cut the mustard.
Perhaps someone among the top brass was told of how the French teach 'instinctive' shooting and how successful that is so passed on to a subordinate that the British should have something similar.

We ended up with indistinctive shooting which at least sounded 'similar' ;)
 
I am saying what I witnessed at the time.
There were Soldiers who had been issued weapons without a healthy respect for the reasons why.
There were Soldiers who were issued weapons that were so full of themselves that this needed to be broadcasted to everybody by wearing shoulder holsters.
The standard of weapon handling on some of the ranges was atrocious. As was the standard of handling weapons in barracks.
The practice of driving around with weapons "made ready" outside of sop's was appalling.
The lack of intel passed to non sneak need to know units was seriously lacking.
The training programme to Soldiers given the responsibility of driving around a province of extremely observant people was non existent in reality.
I could go on forever with my disdain and contempt of the systems in place by support arms of the day. the reality was that 2 very vulnerable untrained NCOs drove unwittingly into an area (due to failures in the system), got boxed in , one pulled a gun but had no idea how to use it with effect or even mechanically as his magazine fell off. The outcome was that they were both murdered by evil people hundreds of whom were present at that Funeral. The Priest got his name in the media for gratuiously administering the last rights. The CO of the unit praised his men for "acting with restraint", probably got an OBE.
I can only say what I witnessed at the time.
For the second time on this thread, check out Father Alec Reid (and his life's work) before writing about him in such a scornful manner. In the famous photo, the man has blood smeared around his mouth, as he tried to render mouth to mouth to a fatally wounded Corporal (ffs)

this HTML class. Value is https://thebrokenelb
 
Late 90s?

That could perhaps have been related to the threat compared to previous years? I can see why that would have happened - trying to justify full on 3 car drills with live ammo 6 times a week might have been seen, rightly perhaps, as a bit OTT?

A Regimental 'IVCP Course'? Really? God help us.

See my earlier point about matching training to threat - difficult isn't it?
10rds a month doesn't match any threat. IMO a safe level of sidearm weapon handling should be at least a full day each month.
 

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
Some may remember a case in Belfast in 1975 when a young soldier was left behind when his mobile patrol departed a 'Nationalist' city street, leaving him behind. He was cornered by some women until the IRA came along and shot him dead, then took his SLR. Apparently he was crying before he was shot? The following day one of our Company Sgt Majors formed his company up and told them " The boy was weak, what the f...k was he doing with an SLR if he was afraid to use it.!" then he called out loudly to his company. "You are never alone with an SLR!" We were in agreement with what he said, but he got a bollocking from the Adjutant for saying it!
 
10rds a month doesn't match any threat. IMO a safe level of sidearm weapon handling should be at least a full day each month.
Errr, my point I think.
 
Errr, my point I think.
But there was a threat. They were still assassinating unarmed Sappers in 2003. That's not the time to say 'Maybe the training isn't up to snuff'. What happened to Proactive training?
 
But there was a threat. They were still assassinating unarmed Sappers in 2003. That's not the time to say 'Maybe the training isn't up to snuff'. What happened to Proactive training?
I never said there wasn't a threat, but perhaps it was a time to say you can't collect pizzas from outside the camp?

Being armed and well trained in weapon handling doesn't help a jot when you go and pick up a pizza at the front gate at the same time time every night?

Different threat = different training......
 
Some may remember a case in Belfast in 1975 when a young soldier was left behind when his mobile patrol departed a 'Nationalist' city street, leaving him behind. He was cornered by some women until the IRA came along and shot him dead, then took his SLR. Apparently he was crying before he was shot? The following day one of our Company Sgt Majors formed his company up and told them " The boy was weak, what the f...k was he doing with an SLR if he was afraid to use it.!" then he called out loudly to his company. "You are never alone with an SLR!" We were in agreement with what he said, but he got a bollocking from the Adjutant for saying it!
Murder of soldier Gary Barlow marooned in Belfast's Divis flats after 1973 raid may be reviewed by police - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Private Gary Barlow - Hansard Online

Poor little bugger, according to Hansard, he was deaf and didn't hear the order to withdraw.
 
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I never said there wasn't a threat, but perhaps it was a time to say you can't collect pizzas from outside the camp?

Being armed and well trained in weapon handling doesn't help a jot when you go and pick up a pizza at the front gate at the same time time every night?

Different threat = different training......
I joined 95 and served to 2004 - the weapons handling prior to deployments was woeful at best. It wouldn't have helped those poor blokes, but there was a threat and the training was inadequate.

Whats worse is they were about to deploy to Iraq and from what I was told - the pre tour training was weak and ammo distribution equally weak. I wont go on with the equipment downfalls in Iraq... sad state of affairs.
 
Late 90s?

That could perhaps have been related to the threat compared to previous years? I can see why that would have happened - trying to justify full on 3 car drills with live ammo 6 times a week might have been seen, rightly perhaps, as a bit OTT?

A Regimental 'IVCP Course'? Really? God help us.

See my earlier point about matching training to threat - difficult isn't it?
I really don’t get your point. The NIRT course was good, could have been better, but that was it. The issue was lack of threat, it was apathy towards it.
 
I went through NIRT in 2002. The killings of W&H was still briefed back then, although they only showed the television news summaries - the NIRT briefers said they used to show the whole helly telly video, but after traumatising one too many young sprogs the news summaries were thought sufficient.

The content was briefed as a warning about the dangers of going OOB. Following that, and a later brief from one of the Felix chaps, who said they'd rather be called out to 1 x FALSE than someone get blown up, I never cut any corners in NI.

My main take away was how on the mainland, everyone thought it was all over and was surprised NI still came with a gong and extra money. Back in the Province, a quick look on UTV news or the Beeb equivalent, saw stuff going bang, kneecappings, and urchins being nailed to fences as a punishment for joy riding, every bloody day.

The but for the the grace of God etc - RIP W&H.
 
My brother in law is a copper over there. He basically said the only change is that we call them criminals not terrorists now. The volume of incidents has not changed since Banner finished, the the nature has a bit.
 

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
But there was a threat. They were still assassinating unarmed Sappers in 2003. That's not the time to say 'Maybe the training isn't up to snuff'. What happened to Proactive training?
In the early days, there were a few occasions when I cocked my weapon vigorously and with a grim look and a loud shout, they soon buggered off! On one occasion in a pub I fixed a bayonet, it had a great effect. It's mostly up to the aggression in the individual or in the unit, but it has paid off for centuries. Regrettably perhaps I still possess it! but now it's just shouting at the telly!
 
I joined 95 and served to 2004 - the weapons handling prior to deployments was woeful at best. It wouldn't have helped those poor blokes, but there was a threat and the training was inadequate.

Whats worse is they were about to deploy to Iraq and from what I was told - the pre tour training was weak and ammo distribution equally weak. I wont go on with the equipment downfalls in Iraq... sad state of affairs.
The problem there was you had two civilians on the gate with Browning 9mm, there would have been two more casualties if they had. There was no way that they were going up against an AK. The whole thing was a very well executed plan B.
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
Hmm.

I feel that because often when in uniform on other tours we'd be FIREFOX'd off the streets because of an SF op at hugely short notice.
Ref my bold - what was FIREFOX? NI was way before my time, so assume it means back to base asap, or dont go to Point A?
 

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