Lt Col Rupert Thornloe memo on lack of helos in Daily Mail

#1
All

I think this has the potential to make a lot of people very angry indeed. The target of our anger needs to be the current incumbent of No10 - he is the man who has systematically starved us of funds for a generation. He is the man who I hold personally responsible for the death of so many of our people. He is Gordon Brown.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...er-shortage-cost-lives--weeks-later-dead.html

Colonel foresaw his own death: His emails to MoD warned helicopter shortage would cost lives... weeks later he was dead
By Tim Shipman, Deputy Political Editor
Last updated at 10:04 PM on 30th October 2009
Comments (0) Add to My Stories Damning memo: Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, the most senior casualty of the Afghan war
The most senior soldier to be killed in Afghanistan foreshadowed his own death in a damning memo about the shortage of helicopters.
Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe told his superiors that British troops would die because they were being forced to make trips by road.
Less than a month later, he was blown up by a roadside bomb.
In his final despatches to commanders in London, classified 'Nato Secret', he had dismissed helicopter operations in Afghanistan as 'not fit for purpose'.
The leaked email, seen by the Daily Mail, dramatically undermines Gordon Brown's claims that helicopter shortages have not caused the deaths of troops fighting the Taliban.

It amounts to a devastating condemnation from beyond the grave of Labour's stewardship of the war in Helmand province.
Colonel Thorneloe, 39, commander of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, died with Trooper Joshua Hammond on July 1 when their convoy set off an improvised explosive device (IED) during a patrol north of the town of Lashkar Gah.

On June 5, he had chillingly predicted the circumstances of his own death in his weekly report to the Ministry of Defence.

Headed 'Battle Group Weekly Update', it reads: 'I have tried to avoid griping about helicopters - we all know we don't have enough.

'We cannot not move people, so this month we have conducted a great deal of administrative movement by road. This increases the IED threat and our exposure to it.'

Colonel Thorneloe goes on to spell out in graphic terms how he had 'virtually no' helicopters of the type which would allow him to move troops by air rather than road. He added: 'The current level of SH (support helicopter) support is therefore unsustainable.'
Victim of a Taliban booby-trap bomb: Thorneloe with children Hannah and Sophie
In a damning assessment of Nato operations, he concluded by saying that the system used to manage helicopter movements in Afghanistan 'is very clearly not fit for purpose'.

He also observed that helicopter operations in Iraq 'were managed in a more flexible, efficient manner'.

Sally Thorneloe at her husband's funeral service
The Mail is not printing the precise details of his complaints since their publication might endanger the lives of troops still serving on the front line. But they paint a devastating portrait of an Army starved of resources.
Another leaked report by a senior officer in Afghanistan, written on July 10, proves that the problems still persisted.
It reads: 'Aviation has been erratic throughout this week. This has forced us to conduct more road moves than I would like. I understand the strains in the fly programme but any improvement would greatly assist.'
The officer added that he had received just half the helicopters he had requested for operations that week. And he also complained about the 'attrition of Vikings' - armoured vehicles overused because of the helicopter shortage.
Yet just two weeks later, on July 22 the Prime Minister insisted that soldiers had not died because of MoD penny pinching.
He told Parliament: 'In the operations we are having at the moment it is completely wrong to say that the loss of lives has been caused by the absence of helicopters.'
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Put to shame by a dead hero: Why we've got it so wrong about the Taliban

The memos were leaked by a disgusted MoD official to Tory MP Adam Holloway, a former Grenadier Guards officer who regularly visits Afghanistan.
In an email, the official referred to the second memo, telling the MP: 'As you can see, situation: no change, despite Rupert Thorneloe's death. Still no aviation, still unnecessary administrative road moves which are killing people.

'Still claims by the Government that the military have got enough helicopters and all the tools they need. Lies.'

Mr Holloway told the Mail: 'What a heart-wrenching irony it is that Colonel Thorneloe wrote those words. It must have been terrible for him as the commander of 800 men to know that their lives were being put in danger because the Government, in whose name he had taken them to war, would not spend the money to make it safer for them to move across country.'
He added that defence chiefs 'should be ashamed - hopefully now they will at last do the right thing and get our troops off the roads and into the air where they are safer.'
Mr Holloway has written a devastating critique of the handling of the war in a pamphlet shortly to be published by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank.
It reveals that despite clear evidence that a shortage of helicopters is killing British troops, defence chiefs are still refusing offers to supply more.
Lt-Col Thorneloe said British troops would die
Only last month the Ministry of Defence turned down another offer of helicopters which could double Afghanistan flying hours for British troops fighting the Taliban. The Mail has independently confirmed that former RAF pilots offered to supply 25 helicopters within three months to back up the Chinook fleet which is stretched to breaking point.
The deal would have cost the MoD just £7million a month - a relative drop in the ocean - but the offer was rejected because the RAF did not want to share a role with private contractors.
Colonel Thorneloe and his widow Sally had two daughters, Hannah, four, and two-year-old Sophie. At his funeral the mourners included the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, who knew him well.
In a statement yesterday, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said: 'My thoughts remain with the family and friends of Lt-Col Rupert Thorneloe, who was a courageous soldier and a fine man. Our brave forces deserve the very best equipment and we remain determined to provide it.
'We know the value of helicopters on operations, and that commanders could do more with more. That is why we have increased the numbers and types, improved engines and almost doubled flying hours. To counter the roadside bomb threat we have also been improving unmanned air surveillance.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...st-lives--weeks-later-dead.html#ixzz0VSbCvhRn
 
#2
I know this might be a little out of fashion but the MoD and Service Chiefs share the blame for the lack of helicopters. The defence budget is not insignificant and relative priorities, the effect of the DIS, decisions on major equipments and general DE&S fuckwittery all share the blame for the parlous state of our rotary fleet.

Funding is but one element and the sooner people realise this the better
 
#3
No 10 ain't listening, they are only interested in their own self importance and their own long term interests, there should be no apathy at the next election we all need to make sure they are voted out, it is the only option open to us.
 
#4
This was a very prominent feature on the 10 o'clock news on BBC1 with two photos of Thorneloe and some video footage of him: he was very sympathetically depicted.

No link as yet, but this is obviously an important breaking story and the BEEB rightly judge that the public want answers.
 
#6
I did wonder how long the mail has been sitting on this, waiting to detonate with best effect. The timing is perfect - HC is just done, where the papers have rightly sought to pin the blame on Brown for funding, and in 10 days time, he is going to stand at the Cenotaph, holding a poppy, at the end of a week where he will probably have been subjected to a huge political row about Defence funding. Like I said, the timing is almost too good to be true.

Meridian - good point, much of it is Browns fault, but the MOD isn't perfect either - our Planning Rounds have been a nightmare of late, but I think this is as much due to the sheer lack of funding we've received, as it is to poor planning and reprioritisation of the EP in general.
 
#7
Jim, I am not excusing one eye in any way because the budget is the lowest it has been for ages in relative terms and it is not like we are at war or anything is it !

What a cnut

However, the default seems to be 'it's all Blair/Browns' fault and not only is that lazy, unthinking journalism it is also dead wrong

How much has the MoD spunked up the wall in the last 5 or 6 years, BILLIONS

FRES, nearly half a billion pounds for what exactly
MRA4
Astute
Type 45

Plus lots of smaller projects, a 10 million here, 50 million there, pretty soon you are talking real money.

and the list goes on and on and on

So when the MoD ask for more money one can almost for a millisecond understand the treasury saying, sorry, put your house in order first
 
#8
jim30 said:
I did wonder how long the mail has been sitting on this, waiting to detonate with best effect. The timing is perfect - HC is just done, where the papers have rightly sought to pin the blame on Brown for funding, and in 10 days time, he is going to stand at the Cenotaph, holding a poppy, at the end of a week where he will probably have been subjected to a huge political row about Defence funding. Like I said, the timing is almost too good to be true.

Meridian - good point, much of it is Browns fault, but the MOD isn't perfect either - our Planning Rounds have been a nightmare of late, but I think this is as much due to the sheer lack of funding we've received, as it is to poor planning and reprioritisation of the EP in general.
There is already enough money in the MoD budget to properly support an enduring mission in Afghanistan of 10,000 tps.

The 'fact' that it is failing to do so adequately tells us all in VERY loud terms how far up the priority scale Afghanistan really is to HMG and many of those wearing copious quantities of scrambled eggs in the forces.
 
#9
meridian said:
FRES, nearly half a billion pounds for what exactly
a) Meeting SDR requirements for rapidly deployable intervention "forces for good".
b) Inter-service rivalry deeming it necessary to spend as much as possible before the others get their hands on it.

The VERY same can be said of the 'CVF Project' and Typhoon before that.

meridian said:
Keeping BAe in profit.

meridian said:
Keeping BAe in profit.

meridian said:
Keeping BAe in profit.

meridian said:
Plus lots of smaller projects, a 10 million here, 50 million there, pretty soon you are talking real money.
Keeping the rest of the UK defence industry in profit.

meridian said:
So when the MoD ask for more money one can almost for a millisecond understand the treasury saying, sorry, put your house in order first
The BIG projects only get a superficial rubber stamping from the military. The decisions have already been made for political reasons.
 
#10
How can you trust our government ,When they would rather save money than our soldiers lives.
To be honest how the government can go to rememberance ceromonies and lay poppy wreaths when they have treated our armed forces with so much disrepect. makes me ill just thinking about it .
 
#12
I hope the late colonel's sacrifice will not be in vain.
 
#13
During the TA debate it came out that the MOD had spent millions on modern Art FFS, Good men dieing so the cnuts can brighten up their workspace
 
#14
tropper66 said:
During the TA debate it came out that the MOD had spent millions on modern Art FFS, Good men dieing so the cnuts can brighten up their workspace
Is this true? How can it be? Does Brown live full-time on this planet?

Can anybody expand upon this claim? Has anyone any details?
 
#15
lsquared said:
tropper66 said:
During the TA debate it came out that the MOD had spent millions on modern Art FFS, Good men dieing so the cnuts can brighten up their workspace
Is this true? How can it be? Does Brown live full-time on this planet?

Can anybody expand upon this claim? Has anyone any details?
Get a Television or read Hansard FFS
 
#16
Rant on:

Money and priorities. In week where the MoD/No 10 was shamed into getting the treasury to cough up £20M to allow the TA to continue training -and the near constant clamour for more military funds that assails us via the media, am I alone in thinking of the sheer low level waste that emanates from MoD must be further investigated ?

As the TESCO tag line says, "every little helps". Well, MoD FFS use the same tag line in making a series of savings at a very low level because it all adds up.

I've already ranted on about "Soldier" mag and all the other MoD glossies that must cost a shedful to produce distribute, so all those are ripe for cancellation, or make the lads and lasses pay for them.

But this info hit my screen at work this week and it immediately raised the blood pressure. A DIN referring to - wait for it - The Transgender Gay and Lesbian Forum (TGGLF) to be held 2 - 4 Dec 09.

Now, how much is that going to cost in T&S, tea and stickies etc. Not much in the great scheme of things but it does send out a BIG message about priorities doesn't it. ? No dosh for anything but Ops they say, but the carpet munchers can get together with the rest of sexual minorities at the Vicory Service Club for a group hug.

Other low level savings ? How much do we pay SaBRE to invite BAE, BT and Vosper chums to tea with HRH Prince / Princess [insert name here]? And does it work ? How do we quantify it ? When was the last time a TA member had to ask advice of Sabre ? I'll bet the answer, if they got one, was to "referr to the UESO ?" If any org needind culling it's that lot (But NOT HRHs of course)

And why does the MoD engage so many consultancies ? They're effing expensive and utterly shoite at understanding the military. The Army should REALLY take a hit on this one. Why buy-in management consultancies when they already have a uniformed one at HQLF ? The Army Management Consutancy Service, now how much use are they then ? And why do we need them when we have an AGC (SPS) ? Some senior fat lasses with fablon BIF chits (if not on maternity leave) in that lot can have a go at it & probably within costs !

C'mon MOD. You say that Afghanistan is the ME, well prove it by ditching all the Guardian type meetings and agendas , the propaganda sheets and redirect the savings to assist the lads and lasses out there.

I know I've gone slightly off topic, but the lack of Rotary Wing Sp and proper Wheeled Armour is a result of the generally abysmal control of dosh given to MoD by the treasury. Small wonder the goblins at Threadneedle street are pissed off with us.

Rant off:
 
#17
Jock Stirrup is to be on the BBC news at 0900, and will have some very difficult questions to answer about this
 
#18
'I hope the late colonel's sacrifice will not be in vain.'

And I also hope that the nasty, spiteful, mendacious bunch of arrseholes that call themselves the government don't start a whispering campaign against him - they are perfectly capable of it. New Liarbour motto 'always play the man, not the ball'.
 
#19
I'm just waiting for Ashie, Sven and Parapauk to pop up and accuse Colonel Rupert of being a paid Tory stooge just waiting for his opportunity to take up a Conservative ministerial post.

This sort of leak should finish any government with a shred of self-respect. I'm not holding my breath this time though - those with any conscience, sense of duty or pride have already walked away. 6 more months at the trough, burning and destroying both evidence of wrong-doing and any possibility of a quick recovery.
 
#20
Much as I support the current levels vitriol directed at the present government, I still wonder why there was never the same level of agitation when soldiers died in NI, either on foot or in vehicles, from IED attack (in South Armagh particularly).

I wonder if people would think this way if the government was a popular one? Maybe I'm just being cynical.

Afternote: I've just heard someone on Radio 4 say that MOD could have had commercial helicopters etc, etc. Conveniently forgot to mention that they would have had no defensive aids and would therefore have been of no use for the movement of troops. :roll:
 

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