medics in battle

#1
This thread is running in Current Affairs if anyone thinks they might be interested:

I am one of the RAF guys shot down over Iraq during Gulf1 and held as a POW - I already know some of you from personal contact but if anyone is marginally interested in knowing more, my website is www.johnnichol.com

Anyway, since leaving the crabs in 1997 I've been writing books (amongst other things). My last 3 books have all been WW2 oral history books, recording the experiences of the veterans and covering areas like POWs, Bomber Command and Evaders - more details on the "books" section of my website.

My new project is about medics, doctors, stretcher-bearers etc. and will primarily be looking at WW2 experiences - I am in contact with a lot of the veterans already via the RAMC other regimental associations

But I also want to bring the story up to date with some accounts of medics, surgeons etc. in recent conflicts in the Falklands, Iraq & Afghanistan.

I'm looking for people from each of these conflicts that can talk about their experiences and enlighten the reader about the reality life on the front line.

If anyone would like to contribute - any rank, gender or specialistaion - I'd love to hear from you. You can be serving or retired, and if you want to remain anonymous that's fine.

You can email me at bloodbrotherswar @ aol.com or send a PM via this website.

I look forward to hearing from you (and to receiving the inevitable banter).
John Nichol
 
#3
Thanks BP - have posted a request on their site.

Although I've had some good replies from this request (I've PM'd you all), I'm still very interested in hearing from you if you served in Iraq, Afghanistan or earlier during the Falklands conflict in 1982.

best wishes to all,
John
 
#4
I have just spoken to the guy who one the George Medal in Afghan. I have passed your details on to him and hopefully he will be in touch soon
 
#5
for all the secptics amongst us (myself included normally) this is a genuine request from the real John Nichol and not a WAh, windup etc.
 
#6
Hope you don't mind me bringing this back up to the top.

I've had some great replies and offers of help but would still like to hear from anyone involved as a medic/doctor etc. in the current conflicts in Iraq & Afghanistan, and The Falklands War in 1982.

best wishes to all,
John
 
#8
Hi Eatenalive - thanks for the post & sorry for the delay in replying. I've been contacted by quite a few serving medical personnel who have some truly amazing stories to tell.

The other books I have written are all "oral history" - that is using the accounts of the people at the front to tell the story of a particular aspect of conflict. So with the last book, "Home Run" I interviewed about 100 guys who had evaded home during WW2 and also the civilian 'helpers' who had risked their lives to help them. I used those personal stories of courage and fortitude to write about the history of escape and evasion during the war. More info at www.johnnichol.com

I'm trying to do the same with medical personnel - use the personal accounts of battle to tell a (largely?) unknown story from WW2 to the present day.

I have been contacted by all sorts (and ranks) of people from those who were seriously injured, the first medics at the scene, all the way to the helicopter IR medical crews and surgeons in the base medical facilities.

You can email me at bloodbrotherswar @ aol.com if you think you'd like to contribute
cheers
John Nichol
 
#9
John,

As far as the Falklands is concerned you could do no better than speak to Rick Jolly, who wrote the legendary book

"The Red and Green Life Machine"

I'm sorry but I have no contact details, however I will mention your request to a mate who has just returned from a surgical tour in AFG, and has some very good info and pics.

ATB
 
#10
John,

I wish you well with your latest literary venture; alas I have no bright ideas about research.

You have the dubious distinction of being one of the few I recognised from my position 'behind the barracades' at the Cenotaph on Sunday (your marching gave the lie to those who'd say blue uniform types can't do that !).

My question is: what group were you with? I didn't work it out at the time, and I see from your website you are associated with the RBL Gulf Veterans branch (good for you) and the Wheelchair Sports Association (ditto).

Best wishes
 
#11
Thanks for the info Gremlin - I'm already in contact with Rick Jolly who's helping me with the FI aspect - and with a number of military medical development issues.

SonofG - I was "marching" with the RAF Ex-POW Association - a really excellent buch of old boys who spent many years banged up during WW2 - and their stories are nothing like the "Great Escape" escapades we see on TV - many had a very (truly!) rough time.

And regards my drill skills - ah well, that's the ex-corporal in me - We never shake it off you know!
best
John
 
#12
Yes, I thought they looked a 'veteran' bunch of veterans.

And the info re their hardships in captivity is most interesting. Forget films and telly, I (born 1960) grew up believing the Far East prisoners had a dreadful time, but the Germans generally treated their POWs well?

Not so?

Maybe, yet again, the public should be educated. Here's a thought - many of these old boys are 'living history', and are not going to be around sadly for much longer to share their experiences with us. Is it worth button-holing your media contacts to try and get a radio/tv programme put together on this subject.

Regards 'Corporal',

sogf
 
#14
SonofG - I did write a book about the ex-pows (Army and RAF) called The Last Escape - it covered the truly astonishing "Long March" many of them endured towrards the end of the war.

Benedictine - I'm writing the book as that's what I do to make a living these days - it will represent some 2 years of work so I dearly hope there will be some proceeds at the end of the process!

I'm afraid the reality is that contributers can expect no more than my thanks and perhaps to see their experiences represented in print. I'm currently in contact with about 100 WW2 veterans and 40 from more recent conflicts and expect those numbers to grow as research progresses. For my last couple of books I've spoken to some 400-500 veterans about their experiences and it's just not possible to "pay" them. Sadly, I can't even dole out a free book to everyone as, contrary to popular belief, authors have to buy their own books the same as everyone else.

Needless to say, I always explain all of this to people before we talk about their experiences.
best wishes,
John
 
#15
Thanks John. A copy of The Last Escape about to go on order.

I am surprised what you say about having to buy copies to give away. My brother in law has published several books and I always seem to get a copy. Maybe you should change publishers !
 
#16
John, slightly off topic, but we see you on Sky News now and then reviewing the papers, if its not too much of a personal question, what the money like doing that sort of thing? Are you on a contract or do they ring you up and say 'John we need someone to review tomorrows papers, busy? no? the car will be round at 5'?
 
#17
SonofG - I hope you enjoy The Last Escape. And re. books, I get 6 free copies from the publisher which tend to go to my immediate family - I guess your brother does the same. Any after that have to be bought.

FF - Well....it is quite a personal question! Let's just say I earned more as a Flt Lt in the mob than from any sort of newspaper, TV or radio work I might do now. And it's all ad hoc and first come first served etc. etc.

now.....back to the business of writing books....!
 
#18
JohnNichol said:
Thanks for the info Gremlin - I'm already in contact with Rick Jolly who's helping me with the FI aspect - and with a number of military medical development issues.

SonofG - I was "marching" with the RAF Ex-POW Association - a really excellent buch of old boys who spent many years banged up during WW2 - and their stories are nothing like the "Great Escape" escapades we see on TV - many had a very (truly!) rough time.

And regards my drill skills - ah well, that's the ex-corporal in me - We never shake it off you know!
best
John
One of them was my Grandfather, an ex 12 Sqn Wellington Nav. It's only comparatively recently that he's really told us about his war - for many years I think assumed that everyone had a 'war story', and didn't want to bore anyone! I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't until I read your book that I knew, or thought to ask him about the long march, and I'm very glad I did.

I know the POWs always wonder if they'll muster enough for a decent showing - the input from the younger members over recent years in keeping their annual get-togethers going has been very much appreciated. I think I saw you last year with them - I was the chap in the tall furry hat trying to work out where people were supposed to be standing (they knew, I had nary a clue).

Good luck with the book - I'll look forward to it. The other set of grandparents were RADC and QARANC, and had an interesting time in North Africa, though unfortunately no longer about to talk about it.
 
#19
Have you contacted any TA Field Hospital units? Especially 205 in Glasgow, as they went to the first Gulf War as a Unit. Nice to hear that the medics are getting a mention.
 
#20
not that they or indeed any Field Hospital actually did very much during GW1.
 

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