Op Banner photos - some memories for the old and bold

Zhopa

War Hero
Well at the time I asked the photographer about it. And he's now got in touch to say that a compilation of his NI photographs has now been published. So if you're old enough and bold enough, and have deep enough pockets for an "art book", here's the blurb:

[snip]

And Amazon allege they are low on stock (probably only bought one to see if anybody was interested):

https://amzn.to/2lQpGUp
More on this - an interview. Mildly interesting for a totally outside view.

 
Talking of PIRA own goals, when I was on a NIRTT course I remember getting told about an incident where they intended to carry out a hit using an RPG-7 fired from inside a car (in order to facilitate their subsequent escape). Unfortunately - so the story went - they forgot to take into account the back blast and also forgot to open the windows which resulted in them burning to death rather quickly. Did anyone else hear of this?

I'm not disputing the truth of it but have always been curious as to the details.
Yup.
 

HE117

LE
You may be right, but you may also have missed the essential point in my post above, which is that inoculation is a good thing. Ask Samoa.
The problem is that the modern press would have a field day if they got hold of the material you would need to use to do proper innoculation. I can remember when it was not uncommon to set up a battlefield clearance scenario with the contents of one of the slaughterhouse bins, Firing a det taped to an {out of date) leg of lamb was also fairly common practice!

I suppose I got exposed to the practicalities of these situations fairly early in life, and witnessed the aftermath of bomb incidents (in particular one referred to earlier by @Whiskybreath in Derry), and became familiar with the context, particularly the smell!

It was interesting that, much later in life, when I had to FFE bodies for air movement, that I found I could do this in a quite detached matter, whilst some of my younger colleagues found it very difficult to deal with!

On the mixing of live/practice/drill ammunition, I have been involved in investigating at least four of such incidents over the years. The reality is that the level of familiarity and understanding of ammunition by many in the teeth arms is alarmingly low. My own view is that this is down to lack of contact in training, where the ammunition is delivered to the firing point by the Ammo Fairies and is never in the hands of the soldiery for long enough. On ops, the lack of supervision and oversight of ammo use is frightening, with old wives tales trumping proper knowledge on a regular basis. I know for certain that both AT4 and GPMG were discharged within Bastion in incidents where practice drills were being carried out with live ammunition.

My theory is that the system has become institutionally frightened of ammunition, and sees it as a source of trouble rather than accept it is a necessary skill that needs to be maintained. Too often, control of live ammunition is kept within a small DS group, who wield it as a source of power...
 
Last edited:
I have a vague recollection of it being a prod job. Possibly Johnny Adairs crowd having a go at Connolly house or somewhere like that, late 80’s early 90’s?
That figures, the UDA / UFF weren't the sharpest tools in the box.
 
Members of the Queen's Regimental Association have all just received the latest copy of our annual journal - this edition being devoted to the Regiment's involvement in Op BANNER to commemorate the 50th anniversary. Twenty nine tours in all and adding up to some 17 years and nine months of active service. The 2nd Bn were already in Province as the Resident Battalion in Holywood when it all kicked off about a year into their stretch, and then in early 1992 they were the last of ours to deploy, this time as the Spearhead Bn.

Plenty of cracking 'old & bold' memories in there!

IMG_1152.JPG
 
That figures, the UDA / UFF weren't the sharpest tools in the box.
Bar one or two of their more “progressive” individuals the loyalists weren’t exactly endowed with the greatest thinkers. Unfortunately for too many poor souls however it doesn’t take brains to wield a knife or automatic weapon.
 
I have a vague recollection of it being a prod job. Possibly Johnny Adairs crowd having a go at Connolly house or somewhere like that, late 80’s early 90’s?
I’m aware of the west Belfast UFF getting hold of RPGs and carrying out attacks with them. My vague recollection of them scoring an “own goal” during one such attack is, to the best of my recollection based on an account from one of their members recorded in a book. I’ll have a dig around any potential sources on my bookshelf in the meantime.
 
The problem is that the modern press would have a field day if they got hold of the material you would need to use to do proper innoculation. I can remember when it was not uncommon to set up a battlefield clearance scenario with the contents of one of the slaughterhouse bins, Firing a det taped to an {out of date) leg of lamb was also fairly common practice!

I suppose I got exposed to the practicalities of these situations fairly early in life, and witnessed the aftermath of bomb incidents (in particular one referred to earlier by @Whiskybreath in Derry), and became familiar with the context, particularly the smell!

It was interesting that, much later in life, when I had to FFE bodies for air movement, that I found I could do this in a quite detached matter, whilst some of my younger colleagues found it very difficult to deal with!

On the mixing of live/practice/drill ammunition, I have been involved in investigating at least four of such incidents over the years. The reality is that the level of familiarity and understanding of ammunition by many in the teeth arms is alarmingly low. My own view is that this is down to lack of contact in training, where the ammunition is delivered to the firing point by the Ammo Fairies and is never in the hands of the soldiery for long enough. On ops, the lack of supervision and oversight of ammo use is frightening, with old wives tales trumping proper knowledge on a regular basis. I know for certain that both AT4 and GPMG were discharged within Bastion in incidents where drills were being carried out with live ammunition.

My theory is that the system has become institutionally frightened of ammunition, and sees it as a source of trouble rather than accept it is a necessary skill that needs to be maintained. Too often, control of live ammunition is kept within a small DS group, who wield it as a source of power...
Someone was recently recounting an incident on HERRICK where there was incoming from an identified firing point during the hours of darkness.

Part of the response was to hose the EF with GMG, which wasn't as effective as they hoped.
When the light conditions improved it became apparent why.

The enemy FP was pebble dashed in paint spots as a result of an ammo fcuk up.

I've no idea if that's true or even possible, but there it is.
 

HE117

LE
Someone was recently recounting an incident on HERRICK where there was incoming from an identified firing point during the hours of darkness.

Part of the response was to hose the EF with GMG, which wasn't as effective as they hoped.
When the light conditions improved it became apparent why.

The enemy FP was pebble dashed in paint spots as a result of an ammo fcuk up.

I've no idea if that's true or even possible, but there it is.
dunno if its true, but certainly possible...

On the other hand, there is something to be said for firing PRAC on operations, particularly where you are in a peacekeeping/reconstruction/getting-randomly-shot-at scenario. Firing inert(ish) projectiles allows you a degree of flex and measured response that will discourage the neds from having a go, but without causing the level of collateral damage that firing warshot around the place can bring..

Baton rounds are the most obvious example of this, but other options are available to the creative commander.. Being on the receiving end of Prac 40mm might not be that pleasant, and certainly delivers the message "we know where you are, and can escalate if you continue" quite effectively! I know we used 120 SH PRAC in Basra which proved quite effective at removing PKM teams from rooftops at considerable distances without upsetting the locals too much.

I am not that much of a fan of the IDF, but their airburst WP tactic is interesting.. Ok there is a distinct possibility someone will get barbecued, however chucking WP down the streets will keep folk under cover and pinned down without causing much physical damage as most of the buildings in that part of the world are non flammable mud brick..!

Never ever forget that the best way to stopping insurgents is to get the locals to deal with them...! Killing folk is hard work, persuading them to kindly Eff Off is actually the only solution in the long run...!
 
Last edited:
Someone was recently recounting an incident on HERRICK where there was incoming from an identified firing point during the hours of darkness.

Part of the response was to hose the EF with GMG, which wasn't as effective as they hoped.
When the light conditions improved it became apparent why.

The enemy FP was pebble dashed in paint spots as a result of an ammo fcuk up.

I've no idea if that's true or even possible, but there it is.
thats amazing.

i can just imagine the Afghan making it back to his colleagues the following morning covered in light blue paint

"what the **** have you been doing Abdul?!"
 
"FREEDOM"!
I’m still laughing at this

“Right lads, we’re going to patrol down into shitholekalay this morning to apprehend suspected gunmen. We don’t have any suspect descriptions but collar anyone who looks like they’ve just got back from colours festival”
 
Last edited:
My (late) Step Father was Welsh Guards and latterly a Police Detective. A large gentleman, hard as nails but very well read and could be extremely funny.
He served in Aden, Cyprus (during the invasion) and a few tours of NI. Some excellent tales to tell and was definitely not man to embellish or make things up. As I got older he also held back less of the grisly realities of war / etc.

The only time I ever saw him get upset was the (only) time he recounted his experience at the Bloody Friday Oxford Street bus station bombing. 21 July 1972.

Essentially, a car (possibly a Cortina iirc) had been parked in the Ulsterbus station. It was suspected of being a VBIED.
His call sign (he was patrol 2ic) consisted of 2 Humber pigs.
They attended the scene, saw the car and decided to take a close look. As was the SOP, his vehicle held back and the other pig was driven closer to the car to have a closer look, the normal drill was that pig would withdraw and if they decided it was a real threat, ATO would be called, clear, corden, etc etc.

However for reasons we will never know, he watched in horror as the comd and dvr got out and approached the car. As they got close to it, it detonated. They rushed forward. One of the poor souls had been blown through a set of railings, (there is an account by a detective who said he saw a torso blasted onto a wall); all that was left at the site was a pair of legs.
There are some other grisly details, but I think we all get the picture.

Sadly 4 civilians were also killed including a teenage boy.

RIP
Sgt Philip Price (27) WG
Dvr Stephen Cooper (19) RCT
 
I bet the officer's accommodation reeked of sulphur . . . . . :roll:
The multiple commander was a Sergeant, from a unit that often makes a very big deal of how much brighter their SNCOs are.
 

Latest Threads

Top