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British Military Current Events

daftandbarmy

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One big happy team? Almost...

Strategic Command wants to bind Britain’s armed forces​

The way armies, air forces and navies collaborate has never been more important​


General sir Jim Hockenhull could not have anticipated a public profile when he entered the Intelligence Corps, one of the darker corners of the British armed forces, at the tail end of the cold war in 1986, nor when he was appointed chief of defence intelligence in 2018. But Russia’s war on Ukraine thrust him into the limelight. On February 16th, as Russian tanks massed on Ukraine’s border, he made a rare public statement warning that Russia was not pulling back as it claimed. The next day Defence Intelligence (di) took the unprecedented step of publishing a map depicting Russia’s possible axes of invasion. Eight days later it was vindicated. Its updates on the war are now tweeted daily.

General Hockenhull’s role in the intelligence war won him admiration in military and political circles. He was already the first career intelligence officer ever to have acquired three stars on his shoulder (making him a lieutenant-general). In April he was handed a fourth (full general) and promoted to run Strategic Command, or stratcom, a youthful branch of the armed forces that began life in 2012 as the Joint Forces Command. It is hardly known outside the defence world. But it embodies an intellectual and practical shift taking place across Western armed forces as they grapple with the changing character of war.

“We own what I would describe as the jewels in the crown of defence,” says General Hockenhull, in an interview with The Economist at his headquarters in the Northwood suburb of London. The purpose of stratcom is to house, run and modernise “joint” capabilities—those that sit above the three services, or fall between them. That means some of the sexiest units in the armed forces, such as offensive cyber and special forces. It also includes lower-profile ones, like medical services, overseas bases and it, not to mention di itself.

Modern armed forces put a premium on their armies, air forces and navies working seamlessly together, including in new domains of war like cyber and space. This was once called “jointness”; the voguish term used is now “multi-domain integration”. It is jargon—but it matters. Russia’s war in Ukraine offers a cautionary tale: Russia’s air force proved unable to work with ground forces, and its troops have struggled with dull but vital things like logistics and communications.

General Hockenhull’s job is to provide the connective tissue—a common vision for how the three services need to view and wage future war, and the practical means to integrate them: “It’s the metal straps around the barrel that hold the thing together.” Sometimes this is straightforward. In the build-up to war, British intelligence officers, special forces, defence attachés and other personnel in Ukraine each gathered separate insights into what Russia was up to. So stratcom built a secure communications system to bring those discussions under a single command.

In other cases it involves bigger reforms. A decade ago di had only 500 analysts of its own, with the bulk of intelligence capabilities dispersed within the services. The air force controlled geospatial intelligence, such as spy satellites; the army ran human intelligence operations, such as the recruitment of agents, and so on. “Everything was done on a sort of gentleman’s agreement,” says General Hockenhull. But when priorities clashed—if one service wanted intelligence on the Middle East, but the other on Europe—the result was “incoherence” and duplication. Now those capabilities have largely been centralised, with defence intelligence swelling to nearly 6,000 personnel.

This process of integration is not always popular with the services. General Hockenhull says that stratcom has had to intervene at a number of moments where one service has purchased equipment, such as radios, that would be incompatible with that of another. The army might want to buy the cheapest drone or armoured vehicle; stratcom presses them to buy the one which can plug into wider military networks. Aircraft-carriers might belong to the navy, but they have to be able to serve as platforms for special forces and hubs for command and control. The goal is to “wring absolute maximum value out of all of those assets”, he says, even if it adds cost. “Integration isn’t free.”

An institution like stratcom is unusual among Western militaries. In many ways, its star has risen in recent years. Five out of seven four-star officers in the British armed forces have a background in stratcom. General Hockenhull’s predecessor, Patrick Sanders, is now head of the army. Many of its constituent elements are becoming more prominent. Defence medical services played a crucial role in the covid-19 pandemic. Overseas bases—like Cyprus, Gibraltar and Diego Garcia—are increasingly viewed as “lily pads” to project power in peacetime. di has never been better known.

The Chief of Joint Operations, who sits within stratcom at Northwood and oversees key military deployments, has also been unusually busy. Britain now has a pair of ships permanently deployed to Asia as part of its “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific. Britain’s Typhoon fighter jets have seen increasing activity; a squadron is currently in Qatar for the World Cup. Ukraine remains a priority: a new task is to repair British-supplied weapons, some of which have never been used in war before and are wearing out quickly.

Underlying all this is a dramatic shift in risk-tolerance, says General Hockenhull. “Things which were previously deemed to be aggressive or potentially provocative, which would be either self-censored or ruled out in the Ministry of Defence or government” are increasingly on the table. He gives the example of Britain’s decision to send rocket artillery to Ukraine. Others activities, like the use of special forces and offensive cyber capabilities, are not publicly acknowledged. “A big calculation all the time was: this might provoke. The Ukraine experience has shifted the dial on that….people now see the value of action.”

Not everyone agrees that the stratcom experiment has been a success. Edward Stringer, a retired air marshal who worked there as head of “joint force development” until last year, argues that the decision to exile its functions to the edge of London destroyed its clout in the Ministry of Defence head office—a salutary lesson that, in bureaucracies, geography is power. He notes that, unsurprisingly, a new and influential institution, the Secretary of State’s Office for Net Assessment and Challenge, which answers directly to Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, now does some of the tasks—such as analysing threats, conducting war games and thinking about the future of war—that stratcom was supposed to do.

While General Hockenhull is in charge of working out how British forces should fight in the future, his authority over the services remains limited: he cannot force them to radically change their equipment, exercises and plans to fit with that doctrine. In a recent paper for Policy Exchange, a think-tank, Mr Stringer argues that Britain’s armed forces consequently remain less than the sum of their parts: “the accidents of several, independent sub-forces developed by the three services…with scant ammunition in the magazine”.

Money is also getting tight. A pledge made in October by Liz Truss, the former prime minister, to spend 3% of gdp on defence has been quietly jettisoned by her successor. Mr Wallace says his priority is to prevent inflation and the falling pound from ravaging his budget. Military leaders, buoyant a month ago, are downbeat again. But a fiscal crunch makes integration all the more important. “In times of budget tightening, there’s a tendency to want to squeeze those things that some might see at the periphery,” warns General Hockenhull. “But those specialist capabilities give us the edge in modern operations.”

 

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More serving British service personnel have killed themselves since 1984 than have died in combat, AOAV research finds​


A comparison of UK Ministry of Defence data on suicides since 1984 in the UK regular armed forces and UK Armed Forces Deaths: Operational deaths showed that, since 1984, some 905 serving members of the military killed themselves whilst serving compared to 802 deaths related to hostile actions.

The British Military have only published post-1984 data on serving personnel suicides. The above figures do not include veteran suicides.

Overall, the British military has suffered 802 combat deaths since 1984 following hostile action in Northern Ireland (171 in Northern Ireland, 53 outside), Gulf War One (24), Balkans (13), Sierra Leone (1), Afghanistan (405), and Iraq (135). This compares to 905 suicides whilst in service.

Military suicides have generally fallen over the last 40 years. However, in 2021, the MOD noted that “in the last five years there was an increase in the rate of suicide among Army males from six per 100,000 in 2014 to 15 per 100,000 in 2018.” Their report noted that “suicide remains a rare event in the UK armed forces, with on average less than two per month. This represents less than one death per 1,000 armed forces personnel.

More serving British service personnel have killed themselves since 1984 than have died in combat, AOAV research finds - AOAV
 

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New radios... again ;)


New £90 million battlefield radio programme to benefit over 200 jobs

A £90 million contract to upgrade land-based radio capabilities will improve battlefield effectiveness while supporting over 200 jobs in Hampshire.

The new deal for 1,300 new Multi-Mode Radios (MMR), which has been awarded to L3 Harris Communications Systems, will see the portable radios operated by foot soldiers or those mounted on vehicles.

Technical advances and upgrades will allow the radios to work across a range of security classifications, with the first ones being delivered to the British Army before the end of the year, ahead of further deliveries in 2023.

Supporting multiple jobs in the UK supply chain, the contract will see the creation of 10 new jobs and the sustaining of 200 more at the L3 Harris HQ in Farnborough, Hampshire.

 

daftandbarmy

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I read the book, which was excellent, and saw a couple of short clips from the TV series (which were somewhat cringe worthy).

One of the key errors in the movie version? The actors were far too good looking ;)

The UK is Way Too Besotted With Its SAS​

Analysis by Max Hastings | Bloomberg

A column of armed jeeps, throwing up clouds of choking dust, races across a desert vastness — and across our TV screens. A band of British World War II warriors is shooting its way into streamed action against Hitler’s legions, preceded by warning messages: “Contains strong language, prolonged violence and upsetting scenes. The events depicted which seem most unbelievable… are mostly true.”

Well, sort of.

The new BBC mini-series SAS Rogue Heroes — based on a bestselling book by Ben Macintyre — portrays the 1941-42 North African adventures of Scottish aristocrat Major David Stirling and the desperados he recruited to form the Special Air Service regiment. The series’ musical accompaniment is modern rock: The Clash’s “I Fought the Law” blares as Stirling’s vehicles roar forward against an enemy airfield.

My cousin Stephen Hastings — a real-life SAS veteran from that era — also wrote of Stirling’s band in his autobiography The Drums of Memory. “Here was an idiosyncratic collection of people, officers and men with the minimum distinction between them, whose only bond seemed to be a reflection of their extraordinary commander’s personality. Six foot five inches in his desert boots with a slight stoop, and eager open face with beetling eyebrows beneath a battered service dress cap, David radiated urgency and confidence.” No soundtrack required.

The successors of Stirling’s men have become one of our biggest-selling brands, alongside the monarchy and James Bond. Many other nations’ covert warfare, bodyguarding and counter-terrorism groups adopt SAS doctrine — and are trained by the regiment’s personnel seconded from their Hereford base.

More contemporary fighters burnished the SAS’s place in modern British folklore. In May 1980, six terrorists seized the Iranian Embassy in London, holding 26 staff and visitors as pawns in exchange for prisoners in Iran. On the sixth day of the siege, after a hostage was murdered, masked and black-garbed SAS soldiers abseiled down the face of the building, shot and grenaded their way in, freed all the hostages save one fatal casualty, and killed five of the six terrorists. All of this before the eyes of mesmerized viewers on live TV. The assault was authorized by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and contributed to her Iron Lady legend. The SAS motto — “Who dares wins” — became world-famous.

Yet, it is frankly weird that the SAS obsesses the 21st Century British public. A recent book proclaimed itself not only “the definitive history of the SAS,” but also “a sensational insight into Britain’s true role in the world for the last 50 years.” Forget business, industry, science, culture. Europe’s offshore island is best defined by its elite warriors. Such a view is crazy, of course. Yet some British people sincerely embrace it.

The SAS’s legendary toughness comes with a reputation for ruthlessness. Like its Australian counterpart and some US special forces, the British regiment has been the focus of embarrassing scrutiny following several alleged shootings of civilians and prisoners.

On March 6, 1988, in the forecourt of a filling station on British-ruled Gibraltar, a team from Hereford wearing civilian clothes confronted three members of an Irish Republican Army cell and shot them all dead. The IRA operatives proved to be unarmed. The SAS men would testify that they believed the terrorists were reaching for weapons or a bomb switch. Some witnesses testified that at least one IRA man was repeatedly shot while prostrate on the ground. It is undisputed that the IRA were reconnoitering for a bomb attack on a British parade. A key found on one corpse led to a vehicle in a Spanish car park. It was packed with explosives.

Misconduct has been part of the unit’s story since its beginnings. In 1980, while preparing a book, I interviewed an SAS veteran who vividly described his love for the regiment and his awe at the courage of his comrades. He told me of one episode during a long, hot firefight on an Italian hillside in 1943, when he shared a slit-trench with a former professional boxer turned commando. That pugilist spotted a cluster of women sheltering under a bridge 50 yards away. He sprang out of the trench, raced across the hillside amid a storm of German fire, and, in the words of my interviewee, “had one of the women and was back inside three minutes.” This was not a description of a rescue but an admiring account of rape.

The veteran I spoke to also thought highly of another SAS comrade, the Ulsterman Paddy Mayne, who won many medals for destroying German planes in Libya. Played by Jack O’Connell in the BBC series, Mayne became notorious for allegedly murdering captives. On TV, Stirling (played by Connor Swindells) explains Mayne’s behavior, saying, “In war we are allowed to be the beasts we are.” His comrade Lieut. Jock Lewes (Alfie Allen) has a similar perspective, “Certain men are identified by war itself as its natural executors. They take matters into their own hands.”

Some soldiers have always believed that the SAS’s shoot-to-kill tactics were unethical. Senior officers have often complained that the regiment, and especially its NCOs, are a law unto themselves, borne aloft by reputation and multiple secret commitments, almost unanswerable to the normal army chain of command. The US Army’s Delta Force was formed in 1977 after Captain Charles Alvin (“Chargin’ Charlie”) Beckwith served as an exchange officer with the SAS in Malaya. Still, American commanders were historically skeptical about special forces.

More than a few 1939-45 special forces personnel lost sight of their rightful job — that is, to help win the war — amid their delight in adventure for adventure’s sake. I suggested in one of my books that, after D-Day in June 1944, all such armies should have been wound up and their fighters used to reinforce regular units. The war’s final phase depended upon its heavy metal, not upon the pirates who had so much enjoyed themselves when no big Western allied land campaign was taking place.

During the war, however, Winston Churchill promoted the theory and practice of private armies — which is what the SAS essentially is. Indeed, the UK has had a weakness for private armies since the 19th century. As a historian, I believe that they worked best when they stayed small. They ceased to be cost-effective when they grew bloated and self-indulgent.

Stirling became notorious after World War II for attempts to mobilize private armies against foreign regimes, including that of Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi. In Britain, he sought to create a secret organization, funded by his billionaire friend James Goldsmith, to combat militant trade unionism. His activities were childish rather than dangerous, but they emphasized the plight of warriors who find themselves beached after their righteous wars are over.

Still, the SAS’s brave bits were very brave. As a correspondent in Britain’s 1982 South Atlantic war, I saw much of that. On one June night, I rode with their then-commanding officer Lieut. Col. Michael Rose on what was, for me, a terrifying helicopter flight through darkness at zero feet, landing with his men atop snowclad Mount Kent, the highest point on the Falklands.

As we contour-chased through the blackness, unable to move inside the hull amidst waist-high baggage of weapons and ammunition, I shouted windily to Rose amid the roar of the chopper: “What happens if the Argies” — Argentine forces — “start shelling the landing zone?” He shouted cheerfully back: “Who dares wins!”

We did indeed descend into a confused little firefight with Argentine troops in which the British quickly prevailed. I then spent the coldest night of my life, shivering incessantly, until dawn finally came.

In the same campaign, the SAS performed a brilliant attack on an Argentine airfield on Pebble Island, conducted close surveillance on enemy positions, and suffered terribly when a big chopper laden with 18 men fell into the icy Atlantic with the loss of all on board. I was one of many people who returned home with an enduring respect and affection for those men from Hereford.

My cousin Steve experienced similar adventures and sufferings in 1942. He wrote of a typical massed jeep night attack on parked Luftwaffe aircraft, in which “the whole shattering belching medley of twin Vickers guns opened up down the line. I was crouched over the wheel, striving to concentrate on the slowly moving jeeps in front, silhouetted every few seconds against the crazy flashing streams of tracer.

“A great shape loomed up thirty yards to my right, a twin-engined Junkers 52. The bullets were ripping through its fuselage with a curious swishing sound audible at the same time as the detonation of the guns. The interior of the aircraft glowed red for a second; then there was a dull explosion and the whole body burst into flames.”

The SAS retired almost unscathed after that attack, but a few hours after their transport was ravaged by German air strafing. The survivors were obliged to spend weeks awaiting rescue under the merciless desert sun, and eventually reached Cairo after an epic passage across the sands. Steve was exhausted and ill. After a long sick leave, he never returned to the SAS. He told me half a century later: “I was proud to have served with them, but they were too wild for me.”

I admire the SAS as much as most of the UK, and know how fortunate we are to own such an elite force. Yet I am troubled by the SAS-worship which causes the regiment to be the subject of more books than any other in history, and now also of the lavish BBC series. One critic wrote “it’s all a bit of a hoot and quite indecently enjoyable.” Another agreed. ‘This carnival of macho nonsense is packed with gorgeous young men in aviators,” she wrote. “It makes me feel oddly carefree, for all that it’s so full of jeopardy and violence.”

The wild, often drunken mavericks of Rogue Heroes stand in contrast to the great 2001 US TV mini-series Band of Brothers, which portrayed serious, almost entirely sober professionals of the wartime 101st Airborne Division. From my knowledge of today’s real-life regiment, few of Stirling’s old lot — at least as portrayed by the BBC — would have passed the modern selection course at Hereford, the toughest of its kind in the world.

Britain’s besetting vice is nostalgia, which leads us to many follies, Brexit prominent among them. Those of us who aspire to live in a country with a future recoil from our exaggerated emphasis on a past built upon some fantasy of military prowess. Britain in the 21st Century faces economic, political and social challenges for which old-fashioned heroics offer no panaceas. We should be celebrating and lavishing resources on our scientific and technological hubs that are woefully underfunded. We should be applauding our outstanding creators, performers, technology geeks, doctors, teachers.

The SAS is a fraction of Britain’s army and we may take a just national pride in its achievements. But I recoil from its cult, of which Rogue Heroes is only the latest incarnation.



https://www.washingtonpost.com/busi...876588-73b2-11ed-867c-8ec695e4afcd_story.html
 

daftandbarmy

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Not bad for bunch of retired old farts ;)

Ex-forces team recreate Cockleshell Hero expedition for charity


A group of ex-servicemen are set to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Frankton, a daring World War II mission, by retracing the kayaking route of ten Royal Marines to raise money for three Armed Forces charities.


Their expedition, supported by funding from BAE Systems, will see them kayak 80 miles across France, before completing a 100-mile hike.
Operation Frankton saw 10 men, known as the Cockleshell Heroes, take part in an extraordinary commando raid using kayaks to plant mines and attack enemy ships in German-occupied France in December 1942. They managed to damage six vessels in the port of Bordeaux, leading to wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill claiming their mission shortened the war by six months.

Only two men returned from the heroic operation but the legacy they created was enduring, as it’s widely recognised this operation resulted in the formation of the Special Boat Service (SBS) branch of the Royal Navy.

The team retracing the Cockleshell Heroes’ mission have named themselves ‘Cockleshell 22’, raising funds for three charities that each support the Armed Forces; Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion, and RMA – The Royal Marines Charity. The largest sponsor, BAE Systems has also provided £5,000 of funding to the team. BAE Systems employees were alongside Cockleshell team in the water to support their mission departure today, in the very latest in military small boats, the StormBlade® 850.

Steve Martindale, Cockleshell 22 team member and former Royal Marines Commando said: “This mission will test us in every way, but hopefully it’s a fitting tribute to what that incredible team of 10 men did for our country 80 years ago. Their efforts created what we know as the SBS today, so we want to mark the anniversary by raising whatever funds we can for the three brilliant charities that do such amazing work for the Armed Forces community.

 

daftandbarmy

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Lame.... but that seems to be the Militarized Space brand around the world these days, sadly ;)


UK Space Command announces new name for Buckinghamshire HQ​


UK Space Command has announced the name of its new headquarters at RAF High Wycombe.
After receiving nearly 100 submissions from cadets across the country, UK Space Command announced the name of the new HQ would be Protego.
The name, which means 'protect' in Latin was submitted by Cadet Mominah Zulqurnain from 44F (Bradford) Air Cadets.

UK Space Command was officially formed in 2021 and is made up of staff from all three services of the UK's Armed Forces.
The naming of the headquarters in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, was announced in a video on Twitter showing a rocket launch-style countdown and shots of earth from space.


 

daftandbarmy

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Reload!

More NLAWs on their way....

Saab Receives NLAW Order from the UK​

Saab has reached an agreement with and received an order from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence for the Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon system (NLAW). The order value is approximately SEK 2.9 billion and deliveries will take place 2023-2026.

 

Blackadder1916

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Lame.... but that seems to be the Militarized Space brand around the world these days, sadly ;)


UK Space Command announces new name for Buckinghamshire HQ​


UK Space Command has announced the name of its new headquarters at RAF High Wycombe.
After receiving nearly 100 submissions from cadets across the country, UK Space Command announced the name of the new HQ would be Protego.
The name, which means 'protect' in Latin was submitted by Cadet Mominah Zulqurnain from 44F (Bradford) Air Cadets.

UK Space Command was officially formed in 2021 and is made up of staff from all three services of the UK's Armed Forces.
The naming of the headquarters in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, was announced in a video on Twitter showing a rocket launch-style countdown and shots of earth from space.



". . . submissions from cadets across the country . . ."

After being given guidelines that 'Spacey McSpace Base' wasn't acceptable.
 

daftandbarmy

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From the 'Things could always be worse for the CAF' file ;)

Army fury as soldiers told to give up their Christmas to cover striking workers​

'Not right’ to expect Armed Forces personnel to fill in for people in public sector who earn more than them, say senior military figures

Soldiers should not be made to give up Christmas to cover for striking NHS workers who earn more than them, senior military figures have told ministers.

The Government is set to rely on hundreds of Armed Forces personnel to stand in for Border Force officers at airports during eight days of strikes this December, and potentially to cover for ambulance drivers and firefighters as well.

But The Telegraph has been told that the military believes it is “not right” for soldiers, who are banned by law from striking themselves, to replace striking public sector workers over the festive season.

Senior members of the Armed Forces are understood to have also warned ministers that the plan risks weakening the “operational capability” of the military to respond to threats.

One senior defence source said: "You've only got to look at a private soldier on £22,000 a year and whose pay scales have not kept up with inflation for the last decade having to give up Christmas, or come straight off operations, to cover for people who want 19 per cent and are already paid in excess of what he or she would be, and it’s just not right.

“We’ve got to the stage now where the Government’s first lever it reaches for every time there is any difficulty, whether it's floods, strikes, all the rest of it, is the Armed Forces, as opposed to it being the last resort.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/12/07/army-fury-soldiers-told-give-christmas-cover-striking-workers/
 

daftandbarmy

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Been there, got wet doing that. A good warning for those who speak lightly of conducting 'littoral operations' training...

Crown Censure issued after death of Royal Marine recruit​


The Ministry of Defence has been issued a Crown Censure after a 20-year-old marine recruit died during exercise.

Ethan Jones drowned while taking part in an exercise of a night beach landing at Tregantle beach, Cornwall, in 2020.

The censure was issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the incident.

A Crown Censure is a way in which HSE formally records the decision that a Crown body failed to comply with health and safety laws.

It said as part of the recruits' final training, they "took part in an exercise which included disembarking from a landing craft into the sea and wading to shore".

Recruit Jones, of Radstock, Somerset, was found "floating next to the landing craft" after the depth of water was deeper than anticipated, with a number of recruits submerged and having to be rescued.

"HSE found the MoD failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, failed to properly plan, failed to properly supervise, and therefore failed to ensure the safety of their employees during what should have been a routine training exercise," it said.

The Royal Marines were ordered by a military safety watchdog to check the depth of water before disembarkation training, and to improve its training safety methods.

The MoD admitted to breaching its duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act by accepting the Crown Censure.

 

daftandbarmy

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I'll just assume that the bar won't survive ;)


Fjn1UMUWAAA1ybO


FjoTiPeXgAMm7j2


 

Blackadder1916

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Nuff said.
 

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Nuff said.
Honestly if I was working the door that night, I'd have either waved down some coppers or just gone home

I went to a few football matches when over in the UK, and holy hell - 'hooligans' is a polite term!
 

daftandbarmy

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I remember this vividly... and being secretly glad that the Royal Highland Fusiliers were deployed to help with the aftermath and not us. Horrific duty...


Soldier's 'surreal' memories of Lockerbie bombing tragedy​


Thirty-three years on from Britain's deadliest terrorist attack, a retired soldier has described the "surreal" scenes he faced as the search for victims and wreckage unfolded in the hours following the Lockerbie bombing.

For decades, the focus has rightly been on the victims' families. Yet, a hidden story exists beyond them among those who responded on the ground, including the emergency services and soldiers who were sent to the crash site.

Here, with candid recollections and details some readers might find distressing, we explore the events of that fateful night in December 1988 and how those involved all these years later still feel its ramifications.



 

OldSolduer

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I remember this vividly... and being secretly glad that the Royal Highland Fusiliers were deployed to help with the aftermath and not us. Horrific duty...


Soldier's 'surreal' memories of Lockerbie bombing tragedy​


Thirty-three years on from Britain's deadliest terrorist attack, a retired soldier has described the "surreal" scenes he faced as the search for victims and wreckage unfolded in the hours following the Lockerbie bombing.

For decades, the focus has rightly been on the victims' families. Yet, a hidden story exists beyond them among those who responded on the ground, including the emergency services and soldiers who were sent to the crash site.

Here, with candid recollections and details some readers might find distressing, we explore the events of that fateful night in December 1988 and how those involved all these years later still feel its ramifications.



So they caught the real one? I wonder how they managed to squirrell the SOB to the USA.
 
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