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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Who let the dogs out? The dogs of war, who are they?

simon_weston120 War Pic

Let me tell you a story.

As a once serving soldier who, in 1971 and newly married at 19, I was sent to Northern Ireland to keep the peace (what a fucking misnomer that was) and saw five ( I mean figuratively speaking of course) of my regiment killed while I was there for a four month tour of duty. (the Scots Guards.)

The one dead body I did see was a friend of mine and he was the cook getting breakfast ready in the house we had taken over because it gave us an advantage point overlooking the Falls Road.

We had taken over the house next door and from my bedroom, which I shared, bunk bed fashion with my comrades, and a hole was made in the wall for the soldier on guard duty to check the adjoining house, which the British army had bought, whilst on his two hours on, two hours off roster.

The house 'next door' was being renovated by outside building contractors to make it 'safe' for us to look through the breeze block'd windows, with narrow slits for us to see and point our rifles (SLRs then) toward the Falls Road in case car bombers rammed our position, or any other target for that matter, so we needed the best advantage point.

I came off patrol in the early hours of the morning with the last two hours patrolling the streets of Belfast behind me, but still in my brain... how the tenements of Glasgow were strikingly similar, I thought, as I kept looking up at windows for snipers.

Later, while I was laid asleep in my cot, Paul Madison was on guard duty and went through the 'hole in the wall', down the stairs and checked the builders pre requisites for doing their job; bags of cement, breeze blocks and bricks etc.

After Paul had raked his fingers through the many bags of cement he made his way upstairs...and as he reached the top step there was an almighty explosion.

I was awoken from my much earned sleep with dust and debris falling all around me and, once I got my act together I made my way downstairs, outside, for the obligatory roll call.

Our names and numbers were taken as we stood, half dressed and dishevelled...all except one, David Williamson, aka 'Chips' (we would ask, what's for dinner, is there any chips and he'd say 'there's chips with every fucking thing'.)

I, and a couple of others went back into the unsafe building looking for David...and we walked through the hallway, turned left into the kitchen area and trampled into the back garden...nothing! We walked back through the kitchen and as we did so we saw, in the left hand corner, the dead body of Paul 'chips' Williamson.

We dragged his corpse from the rubble and laid his puffed, marked and bloated body in the front garden where we, only a few minutes before, had a roll call. (The bomb was in the breeze blocks laid, in perfect symmetry, against the wall where David was working at his stove on the other side, and had not a clue about his demise, I thank God, Allah or any other deity that he did not suffer!)

With rifle still in hand, clipped to my left arm by the sling in case the enemy took it off me and turned it against me, (the sling was short enough not to allow this to happen) I sat on the next garden's wall and cried my fucking eyes out unashamedly!

Passers by wondered what was going on and I lost it, I started shouting and bawling at them as if it was their fault, not the first time I did this, I'm ashamed to say, but that is another story.

The upshot of this was when an ambulance came and I was carted of to hospital. While in hospital I was visited by one of the army's legal team and he asked me a few cutting questions.

How far were you from the bomb blast?

Are you traumatised by this, and by how much?

And the questions kept coming...on and on and on to which I said No, No and No! I had came out of this with two legs, two arms and my body intact but this man was determined to get me some compo. In the end I got £200, which was a shitload of money to a 19 year old in 1971, which I duly gave to a corrupt car salesman when I arrived back at Victoria Barracks in Windsor! The car fell apart after only one outing, the bastard!

You all must be thinking what's the point of me offloading all my shit on you all, well I just can't help it when I've just seen The British Bullshit Corporation pointing out that our illustrious government are going to court, GOING TO FUCKING COURT, to contest how much Light Dragoon Anthony Duncan, who was shot while on patrol in Iraq, and Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams, who fractured his thigh in a military exercise get in compensation while reading this:

Prisoners denied hard drugs get compensation

Drug-addicted prisoners forced to go without hard drugs at Lancashire jails received compensation payments totalling £34,263 last year.

This government is taking the piss, surely!



timbone said...

...yes, and to top it all, no member of this government has to go to court over their fraudulant expenses claims!

Anonymous said...

Thank you John, for sharing your story.
timbone, things cannot get any more unjust,surely.
If only it was their feelings that were hurt, the compo would be far greater than losing limbs, this Country really has lost the fu**cking plot. Government expenses "our money" is greater, some MPs have the morals of toads (sorry toads).

Gigits said...

A brilliant post. Thank you.

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