Memoirs of a Platoon Commander

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by itscool12, Oct 22, 2012.

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  1. Once again the all too familiar tension is building and knotting in my stomach, I have become all to accustomed to these varied emotions in the past. I look to my right and see the lead section stacked up in the ditch, the look of fear and apprhension on their face is all to familiar and unhealthy for men of this age. I then hear "CC1, 30 secs to H hour" on the radio net, I nod to the lead section commander and then look down to my watch and at exactly 0530 the Jackals open up with 50cal and GMG onto the village below, for a moment I contemplate that it auctually looks pretty, the tracer bouncing off the walls and shooting into the dawn sky. But then reality hits me, the incredible noise, the shouting, now its my time...

    Back in the UK, its not the memorys of war, blood or gunfire that haunts me but the enormous amount of paperwork I face each Tuesday morning, when my Private Soldiers are either bailed or relased from police custody. This along with many other mundande paperwork taskings is what I face in Barracks which when you compare with it the responsibilty of commanding 30 men or 3 sections on excerise or operations it dosn't quite add up, and it is all too easy to see why some fall short on return from operations.
  2. Oh dear.......
  3. Too cheesy by half and has NEVER been on tour!
  4. Proof reading, a lost art?
    • Like Like x 1
  5. And can't spell.
  6. Great minds. The thought must have been born seconds apart...
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  7. what a total cunt.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Just for once I got there first! With my typing skills, and IT ability! Plus I won the lottery today! (Only £15, but its a start)

    And its only Monday, hooray!
  9. If that shoite was on a dust cover of a book, I wouldn't be wasting any money buying it.
    Reads like a journo troll trying to get stories. Cunt.
  10. Ahem, let me have a go, it might be shit but at least it's true.....which is more than the pish posted by the OP is

    “Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday…….” It was Saturday 10th October 1981 and Claire Grogan was belting out her latest hit on Noel Edmunds ‘Saturday Morning Swap Shop’. I was stuck in my room in Chelsea Barracks as my duty that weekend was ‘Operation Trustee’. A small force was confined to barracks and kept on permanent standby in the event of a terrorist attack on Heathrow Airport. I didn’t mind, it stopped me spending my wages on booze and birds in The Kings Head, The Magpie and Stump, The Trafalgar, Shakespears’……..

    The 2nd Battalion Scots Guards had recently returned from a four and a half month tour of West Belfast on ‘Operation Banner’ and the release from danger, stress and uncertainty was keenly felt. So, about 1030 hours that morning, there I was, lying on my pit, lusting after the delectable Claire…


    The explosion shook the whole barracks and I immediately realised we had been bombed. I ran out onto the third floor corridor overlooking the Ebury Bridge Road and could see, 100 meters past the Guardroom, a towering pall of black smoke.

    “Get blankets, First Field Dressings and get your fucking arses down there NOW!” I screamed to the guys now bundling out of their four man rooms. Our weapons and ammunition were under lock and key.

    Running out into the street past the Guard Room I could see a white, single decked Army bus which had been on the return journey transporting the Tower of London Guard to barracks. It had been blown to the other side of the road and all the windows had been blasted out. It was riddled with 6” nails. Lying in the road, or staggering around clutching their injuries, were the Guardsmen, some dressed in their greatcoats, others in blue tunic trousers and green army pullovers. This was a sight right out of the Battle of Waterloo. Most, if not all, had nails sticking out of their bodies at odd angles and faces ripped by glass.

    There is a saying in the army: ‘If he’s screaming, he’s breathing’. In other words, find the guys who aren’t making a noise as chances are they’re the most seriously injured. I then realised that I was the first person there and apart from 2 or 3 guys following closely behind me, we were ‘it’.

    Lying in front of the bus entrance door was a sergeant resplendent in his blood red tunic. He wasn’t screaming. His left arm was pinned to his chest by a nail and he had blast injuries. I tried to comfort him but as he was clearly in shock, I don’t actually believe he heard a fucking word I said. Lance Corporal ‘Jock’ Brown was opposite me, we had both been Junior Leaders at Shorncliffe, he was desperately trying to stem the bleeding of a male teenager by sticking his green, woollen, army pullover into what remained of the kids head. At that very instant the training and experience kicked in. There’s another saying, an old wives tale, that when you are really scared, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Believe me, it’s true. I had just thought of the magic words……

    Secondary Device…..

    The wounded would have to wait. We had been suckered in, in time honoured IRA fashion. Commit an attack, draw troops in to deal with the situation and casualties and then detonate the secondary device, the really big bastard, blowing them all to hell. This is how the PIRA had been so successful murdering soldiers of the Parachute Regiment at Warren Point.

    “Jock, leave him! Search the cars your side of the road!” I shouted.

    “What the Fuck For?” he shouted back.

    “Secondary!” I screamed. The colour drained from his face.

    Working quickly, him on the far side and me the near, we cleared towards the barracks looking for any vehicle that appeared to have an overloaded back axle or anything remotely suspicious about it. We then worked back on ourselves clearing past the bus. The attack had taken place immediately adjacent to a petrol station.

    Sitting on the low wall of this station was a young boy of about 5 years of age. I was about to tell him to disappear when I noticed that he had a piece of wood, about 12” long, sticking out of his wrist. Looking closer I could see that he had another 4 or 5 inches inside him. The fragment had hit him parallel to his arm, entered just above the hand and carried on up to his elbow. I had never seen a kid wounded by a bomb before. It physically stopped me in my tracks.

    “Hi there, are you OK?”

    “It doesn’t hurt much” he whispered. It looked like fucking excruciating agony to me.

    By now, the wailing of dozens of emergency vehicle sirens could be heard approaching.

    “Bad men did this”

    “Yes, yes they did, but don’t worry, you’re going to be just fine”

    “I saw them do it. They pushed that white van over there” pointing to the blasted wreckage of an ‘Initial’ Laundry van.

    “Where do you live son?”

    It was bad enough him being injured but I didn’t want him to witness any more of the agony being lived out in front of him. Also, I judged it was minutes before the pain kicked in and he would be better served with his family around him. He pointed to a nearby house and I carried him home telling his frantic mum I would have a medic call as soon as they arrived. I then walked back to the scene. On Ebury Bridge Road is a pedestrian crossing. On the far side, lying on her back was a female who I thought was about 16. I walked up to her to see if I could help. She looked to be asleep but the nail penetrating her heart gave lie to that. Apart from that there wasn’t a mark on her. As I was trying to find a pulse the first of the ambulances arrived and I left her with the medics. (It subsequently turned out she was in her 60s. I have never quite worked out how I got that so wrong)

    I returned to the mad house and could see two Irish Guardsmen, who had both been on the bus, fighting to restrain Guardsman Wallace. They had an arm each. He was trying to pull a 6 inch nail out of his eye and looked to be in absolute agony. They were trying to stop him. Even though we had been Junior Leaders together I couldn’t think of anything to say to him that would help. Perhaps that was it; there were no words that would. The two guys trying to pin him against the wall looked exhausted (He is a huge, strong old tiger) I then saw the barrack guard was deploying, armed and at the double, from the barracks and taking up firing positions along the road. The few police that had arrived didn’t look to happy at this but sensibly, kept shtum.

    “Sergeant, get those men back in barracks……” this to the Sergeant of the Guard who had deployed his guys…
    “Corporal ACAB, get over here” Regimental Sergeant Major McKenzie had appeared from nowhere and was standing next to a senior police officer. I ran over and ‘pulled my feet in’ (came to attention) The copper nearly keeled over in shock but hey, discipline is fucking discipline, it’s the foundation stone of all Guards Regiments plus he was the Regimental Sergeant Major. If I had pissed him off in front of Senior Plod he could have had me cleaning the mess toilets with my tongue for a week…

    “How bad?”

    “I count two civilians dead and 25 to 30 Micks (Irish Guards) wounded Sir”

    “Any witnesses?”

    “Aye Sir, a young lad saw two men pushing the van into position. He was injured so I took him home”

    “You’ll need to show one of my Detectives where he lives” said the Cop.

    In summer, during the early ‘80s, the Guards marched to and fro their duties to the Royal Palaces every 24 hours, on foot via the rear of Chelsea Barracks and along Victoria Road. In winter, the guys would be driven to and fro Wellington Barracks every 48 hours and take a short march to carry out ‘The Changing of the Guard’ procedure at Buckingham Palace. Intelligence indicated that the ASU had got the changeover date from Summer to Winter wrong and had planted the bomb, inside the ‘Initial’ laundry van outside the back gate of Chelsea Barracks. Thank God they did. Without the protection afforded by the bus it would have been a massacre for troops on foot. Also, the Guards sponsored Drumpark School, a school for youngsters with special needs. As a sort of thank you, these kids always lined the streets to welcome back the Guards returning from public duties. The carnage would have been unimaginable. As such, and because the device was wired to the vehicle battery and couldn’t be driven, the ASU then had to push the vehicle down, and on to, the Ebury Bridge Road. This is what the youngster witnessed.

    Once the Old Bill had arrived in sufficient numbers I was put on cordon duty to direct traffic away from the scene.

    “But I live down there, I have to drive down that road to get home!” This was from a female car driver, desperate, almost hysterical to get back to her flat.

    “Well, there has been a bomb explosion and people have been hurt so, unless you’re quite happy to drive over the dead and wounded, it isn’t going to be possible” I replied exasperated. What part of ‘cordon’ ‘road closed’ and ‘dead and wounded’ don’t you understand sweetheart?

    For a second, I could tell, she seriously considered this. I robustly told her to sling her fucking hook.

    Minutes later, I stop two young Turkish guys, on foot, and eating fried chicken and chips.

    “Where are you going guys?” I ask, blocking the way.

    “There’s been a bomb” replies one of them, all smiles and offering me a chip “We want to watch”.

    No doubt the boyos in the ‘Rock Bar’ on the Falls Road in West Belfast would be belting back the Guinness that evening boasting about another ‘feckin grand victory’ over the hated Brits. To me, it was a life lesson in just 20 minutes. If memory serves me correctly 2 dead (the old biddy on the crossing and the young lad Jock was dealing with. He was walking past the device when it was detonated and it took the top of his head off just like cracking open like a boiled egg.) There were also 30 plus injured.

    The same ASU carried out a number of attacks against the Army in London that year. But then they made an absolutely fatal mistake. They killed horses.

    Fast Forward 8 years, It’s 2am Saturday 23 September 1989. I’m at Walmer Barracks in Deal. At 8.27am the previous morning the IRA detonated a bomb in the Band of The Royal Marines’ recreation room. 11 men are dead, buried under a 3 storey concrete building and over 20 injured. I’ve been a Kent police officer for a year and have been called out on my rest day to guard the scene.

    It is freezing cold and pitch black, the low clouds scudding across the moon. I’m alone, wrapped in my raincoat, securing the actual bomb site. I stand and gaze at the rubble. It’s hauntingly quiet, yet I strain to hear every sound, hoping to hear a moan, a whisper or a feeble scratching at the masonry because, at that time, we are not sure everyone has been accounted for. Though it is freezing cold I sit down on the grass, the wind playing tricks on my hearing and, for four hours, I listen. But I am not afraid: there are no ghosts here; only the souls of Brothers.
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  11. Bloody 'ell. Well told.

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  12. I'll second that!
  13. I like egg banjos and sheds.

    And mamorys.
  14. Cheers for all your 'likes' guys (and Dale) I might have a go at this publishing lark (If I can find some fuckwit to take me on)
    • Like Like x 3
  15. Maybe drop a pm to the Auld Sapper's publisher (davidflies is his user name iirc)
    • Like Like x 1