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Desert Storm Part 24: Back to Germany

Desert Storm Part 24: Back To GermanyIt is 25 years since the 1991 Gulf War when British troops contributed (OP GRANBY) to the successful Allied operation which prevented Saddam s invasion of Saudi Arabia (DESERT SHIELD) and then liberated Kuwait (DESERT STORM).

Capt Tim Purbrick commanded a Troop of Challenger Main Battle Tanks during the 1991 Gulf War. This blog is written from his diaries, notebooks and a tape recording he made during the war. The blog will follow his work up to the war and then the war itself, day by day 25 years on. We were bussed back from Hanover to Fallingbostel where a large crowd was assembled on the Irish Hussars parade ground to welcome us home. Of course, they were all the wives of the pads (married officers and soldiers). Us singlies had no one there to greet us. And, for the 17th Lancers, this was no longer our Regiment and Germany was no longer our home. Once everyone was squared away with flights back home to Tidworth, I fled to Munster.

Hetty flew out to Germany as I had to wait for my shiny, new, red Alfa Romeo to be ready for collection. Hetty hated the car from the start. She said that it was a complete waste of money and was chuffed to bits when I smashed it up in a crash a year or so later. We drove back to England. On the way into London, flashing blue lights suddenly blew up in my rear view mirror. I was pulled over by Metropolitan Police Traffic cops. Who do you think you are, sir, Nikki Lauda? Very bloody funny. No, I have just got back from the Gulf War , I said opening my boot to show them all my Armyrats © military gear. Oh, very good, sir, very good. And here s your ticket with some points. What a welcome home. I was fuming for the rest of the journey. That s a grateful nation for you. And that was my Gulf War.

Desert Storm Part 24: Back To Germany

Lt Col Tim Purbrick, The Royal Lancers

Every year we hold a dinner for the officers of the Queen s Royal Irish Hussars Battlegroup on the Anniversary of the end of the war. To qualify for membership of the Basra Road Dining Club you have to be a member of the Battlegroup who was on the Basra Road at the end of the 100 Hours War. James Moseley is an honorary member after all, he was sunk in a bunker somewhere to the west of the highway as the war ended! Toby was awarded the Armyrats © Military Cross for his command of the action on our first night in Iraq. He left the Army to live in Africa where he farmed flowers. Col Arthur went on to become a Major General and ended his Armyrats © military career as the senior British officer in Cyprus. Maj Patrick Marriott became a Major General and the Commandant at Sandhurst before becoming the Colonel of The Queen s Royal Lancers. Lt Col Robert Gordon became a Major General and ended his Armyrats © military service as the Armyrats © military head of the UN Mission in Ethopia and the Sudan. Capt Alastair Todd retired as a Liententant Colonel and is now a Private Secretary in the Royal Household. Lt Mark Cann recovered from his broken collar bone and is now the CEO of the British Forces Foundation. Martin Bell went on to report in his white suit from many more war zones before becoming the MP for Tatton. Kate Adie is still on the BBC weekly with From Our Own Correspondent. The rest of us left the Army over the years after the Gulf War, some staying for longer than others. Willy Wyatt into the City. Nick Cotton went into banking. Tim Buxton into property. Chris Franklyn-Jones has fallen off the edge of the world Arthur (Daly) did see Gungy walking past the restaurant he was in during a business trip to Prague but does any one know where he is? Capt Al Murdoch went into fast food and runs a burger company. Lt Robin Murray-Brown is a headhunter. Capt Alex Paine went into banking. Ct David Webb went into marketing.

Ann Furstenberg married James Frost, an officer from 14th/20th Hussars, and they live with six sons on a Quinta in Portugal where James makes some truly excellent wines and they run holiday lets. Twice (Daly) runs Guardsman Cleaning in London. Maj Richard Shirreff went on to become a General, knighted and the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) before retiring. Gen Sir Charles Guthrie went on to become the Chief of the Defence Staff, the most senior officer in the Armed Forces. He was elevated to the House of Lords and became Tony Blair s Pakistan emissary. The Government believed that they had abolished the five star rank of Field Marshal in the Armed Forces. That was until The Queen made General Lord Guthrie into Field Marshal Lord Guthrie. Lance Corporal Bob Hawksley was tragically killed by artillery fire in a training accident at BATUS in Canada in June 1994. A few are still serving. Capt Tom Beckett is a Lieutenant General. Capt Ed Smyth-Osbourne is a Major General. Piers Hankinson is a Brigadier. Capt Andrew Cuthbert is a Colonel. Lt David Madden is a Colonel. Lt Chris Millet left the Army, went to an accountants and joined the Paras (V), before re-joining the Army in the Royal Army Medical Corps on the non-medical side. He now has more medals than Kenny Everett ever had. Lt Jonny Ormerod is now a Liententant Colonel. Capt Philip Napier was a Brigadier until he retired in mid-2015. Capt David Swann became a Colonel before retiring in 2015.

I served in the Regular Army until 1998 when I left for Civvy Street. I joined the Army Reserves as I left the Regular Army and have served as a Reservist ever since. A couple of memories from the Gulf War have, perhaps, stuck out more than others over the last 25 years, probably because they are single events that I have been asked about over the years.

Desert Storm Part 24: Back To Germany

End of the cavalry charge. First, Gus s 4,700m first round FIN kill. It was a supreme technical achievement for man and machine. 4,700m, a shade under 3 miles, is more than three times the 1,200m battle range of the Challenger. The shot is written up in books, sometimes incorrectly, with one book saying it was a Depleted Uranium (DU) round, it wasn t, it was a normal service FIN round while another book said it was at longer range, it wasn t, it was 4,700m. I believe that it is the longest range direct fire kinetic round kill ever achieved by a tank on the battlefield.

Second, the sheer exhilaration of leading the Squadron during the Charge of the Heavy Brigade on that last morning of the war. I believe that it is the longest and fastest cavalry charge in history. If you have made it this far, thank you for travelling on this journey with me. It was a privilege to serve in the Queen s Royal Irish Hussars Battlegroup for the Liberation of Kuwait. It was a greater privilege to serve alongside soldiers of the 17/21st Lancers. They were the best of the best and true to our Regimental motto, Death Or Glory

Epilogue

After the 1991 Gulf War Lt Col Tim Purbrick went on to serve in the Regular Army until 1998 in appointments which included: the Army Spokesman in the Defence Press Office, the Army Desert Storm Part 24: Back To GermanyCombat Camera Team Commander, serving in Former Yugoslavia, and as a staff officer on the Digitisation Team.

On leaving the Regular Army Lt Col Purbrick joined the Media Operations Group (Volunteers) in the Army Reserves. During his time in the Group he served in Iraq in 2007 and, post his command of the Group, in Afghanistan in 2011. Today he does his Army Reservist day a week for The Queen at Army HQ in Andover where he is a staff officer in the Concepts Branch responsible for Media, Information Warfare and Cyber Warfare.

Lt Col Purbrick is Chairman of the Armyrats © Military Cultural Property Protection Working Group and leading the re-introduction of the Monuments Men capability into the British Army.

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Life on Op TOSCA in Cyprus

Capt Peter Singlehurst RE Captain Peter Singlehurst is from the Media Operations Group (Volunteers) (MOG(V)) and is currently serving as the Media and Ops Info Officer with 17 Port and Maritime Group in Cyprus. In this first post I will introduce you to the Unit and what we are doing here. In future I will report on some of the activities of this peacekeeping tour that is so very different from the majority of the Army s recent experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Welcome to Cyprus! In this blog I intend to share the experiences of 17 Port and Maritime Group s tour in Nicosia, Cyprus, as part of the UN Peacekeeping mission on the island. The British Army s contribution to the UNITED NATIONS FORCE IN CYPRUS (UNFICYP) is now the longest continuous operation for the British Army.

We have been here since 1964, which of course means many have heard of it and have seen the medal that goes with the tour, but what do we do and why are we here? Well, it is not Afghanistan and it is not Iraq and nobody is being shot at and, yes, in some quarters the tour is known as a sun bathing tour. That said this is a real tour that has its own challenges and the reasons that nobody is shooting at anybody is thanks to the UN in Cyprus and those who came before us in the past.

They were the ones who managed to stop the fighting and who have slowly but surely de-escalated the situation and kept the peace. We now, as a result, are able to patrol and negotiate unarmed between two armed forces who look out at each other 24 hours a day. Outside the Regimental Headquarters is the memorial to the 28 Canadian Peacekeepers who lost their lives on this tour that reminds us of those who went before.

Bike Patrol Sector 2 City Rorke s Drift, Pte Billy Brook (l) Cfn James Morley (r) 17 Port and Maritime Regt RLC North and South So now the situation is that two armed forces face each other across a buffer zone and in between we, 17 P&M Group, as UN Peacekeepers, patrol and seek to maintain the status quo so that the UN can work with the political leadership in the North and South of the island to find a political solution to the Cyprus question . To maintain the status quo we therefore have to monitor the two sides positions and ensure that they are manned at the agreed levels, that no positions are enhanced, and that neither side encroaches into the Buffer Zone. To do this takes a keen eye and a level head.

And who is doing this challenging work? In the main, it s patrols of two soldiers, made up of Privates and Lance Corporals.

17 Port and Maritime Group is formed around the Headquarters element and 54 Squadron from 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, based at Marchwood and commanded by Lt Col Rob Askew RLC, who is also in command here in Cyprus as well. The Group is augmented by members of the TA in the main drawn from 165 Port Regt RLC (V), the TA sister regiment of 17 P&M Regt RLC. .

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Life on Op TOSCA in Cyprus

Capturing Force Protection activity in Kabul | The Official British …

Capturing Force Protection activity in Kabul 11 March 2013 by britisharmy Corporal Mike Hubbard video operator CCT H17 I am Corporal Mike Hubbard and I m an Army reservist, Rifles cap badge and member of the Media Operations Group (Volunteers) (MOG(V)). As an Ex-infantier-turned-photographer I m currently deployed on a winter tour of Afghanistan on Op Herrick 17, as the video operator for the Army Combat Camera Team (CCT), which is a three-man team consisting of a photographer, video operator and team commander. This job is a million miles from my civilian career working for BT Global Services as an Account Manager Layer of snow As a team the three of us recently travelled up to Kabul, with the aim of collecting stories on 2 Signal Regiment.

They are based out of Camp Souter, as well as their main signals/communications role they are also providing force protection and other services around Kabul. Working in the media you do notice Kabul doesn t really get mentioned much, the focus is nearly always Helmand province. So units like 2 Signal Regiment get missed.

They are actually doing an infantry task up in Kabul which the Signals have for a number of years. Herrick 17 will be the last tour the signals are doing this job as an infantry unit will be taking over the task on Herrick 18. On arriving in Kabul the difference in weather was the most surprising thing, as we got off the plane there was a layer of snow everywhere.

As part of the visit, I filmed another My Job in Afghanistan video, following Staff Sergeant Britton in his job as a multiple commander. My boots crunch through melting layers of ice covering the rough concrete pathway. Bits of rubble and the odd weed poke through the ice.

I can feel the biting cold, cutting through my body armour as I walk in the looming shadows of derelict factory buildings. A portion of the UK troops based in Kabul call this camp home. An old factory constructed from concrete and steel, surrounded by high fences topped with razor wire and guard towers lining the perimeter of the camp.

Its times like this I m glad I m wearing a helmet, as they do provide some extra warmth. Inside the buildings they could actually be any barracks back in the UK. Outside the whole place feels grey and dreary but when you look above the wire fences, concrete walls and shattered building, you see breath-taking views of mountains covered in snow and bathed in sunlight, a site you see in most ski resorts in the Alps but not something I associated with Afghanistan.

When I leave the patches of freezing shade, the heat of the sun warms me up almost instantly. Everywhere we go in this country all the elements seem to be measured in extremes. The one thing that is the same in either Kabul or down in Helmand is the smell, it s not a bad smell but it s always in the air.

The smell of diesel from vehicles, mixed with burning rubbish and refuge. Also the gentle thrum of generators, that s a sound that becomes so normal after 6 months out here you forget it s even there. Every camp you go to, there are generators and their relentless noise.

Morale is high Foot patrols with members of the Signals. Image by Cpl Jamie Peters I arrive at the main gate and meet the rest of the patrol, all ready to head out into Kabul city on a foot patrol. The gate is sheet metal in fact there are two gates, a double layer of protection, with enough room for two vehicles to be closed in between them.

Thick concrete blast walls flank the gates and the lane leading up to the gate is also lined with temporary concrete blast walls. The patrol stands in a rough gaggle, wearing full British uniform, body armour, helmets, eye-protective glasses, a mix of rifles and Mini-Mi machine guns are spread throughout the patrol. Rucksacks full of equipment, ammunition, water and radios weigh down everyone s shoulders.

The banter is flowing so morale is high. I like to think it s because the guys are looking forward to me videoing the patrol and making them all famous! But I doubt that.

Thankfully we re all stood in the sun while we wait for the last few to arrive. I can feel the sun soaking its heat into my core. Staff Britton walks over to me and says when the main snow fall came at the weekend, it covered everything with about a foot of snow, the following day the sun came out and melted the lot in a couple of hours! .

Whilst with the Signals, we went out on a foot patrol with them and a vehicle patrol here are some images take by my colleague Cpl Jamie Peters during these patrols. Foot patrols with members of the Signals. Image by Cpl Jamie Peters Foot patrols with members of the Signals.

Image by Cpl Jamie Peters Foot patrols with members of the Signals. Image by Cpl Jamie Peters Patrolling in vehicles. Image by Cpl Jamie Peters Patrolling in vehicles.

Image by Cpl Jamie Peters Don t forget you can follow us on Twitter: @CombatCameraH17

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Capturing Force Protection activity in Kabul | The Official British …