Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North.

calendar   Sunday - April 04, 2010

Wonderful Spam!

Damn it! I just can’t get that Monty Python ditty out of my head now…

From the Daily Telegraph (How did peiper miss this? H/T flapjawman)

An Army chef whose supply helicopter was shot down by the Taliban devised an ingenious menu to feed frontline troops for six weeks on a diet of nothing but Spam.

But father-of-one Cpl Francis, married to wife Nadine, 27, of Tidworth, Wilts., admitted that ‘’morale improved’’ when fresh food finally reached their base.

‘’We were on compo (compound rations) for six weeks and we only had one menu - Spam,” he said.

‘’I was surprised what we could do: sweet and sour Spam, Spam fritters, Spam carbonara, Spam stroganoff and Spam stir fry.

‘’The first day off Spam, I prepared battered sausages, chips and curry sauce. The Sergeant Major said it was the best meal he had ever had - he’d never seen morale so high.’’

Cpl Francis, who serves as a Royal Logistics Corp chef attached to the 2nd Royal Welsh Guards, began his tour of Afghanistan in July last year.

But he found the store cupboards at the Forward Operating Base had only one staple ingredient - Spam.

Taliban fighters shot down a civilian supply helicopter the day before he arrived leaving him without the usual beef burgers, chicken, sausages and fish and chips.

Yikes! The war in Afghanistan is turning into a food fight!


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 04/04/2010 at 08:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningHeroesWar On Terror •  
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calendar   Friday - March 19, 2010

One hell of brave Battling Brit, kept on defying Taliban death traps

One hell of a brave soldier!  Just another fine example of Brit training and bravery in the field.  There’s so many articles about the useless scum in the streets that sometimes we lose site of guys like this cos they do not alway get the spotlight.  (gee, I hope he likes poetry cos according to one would be expert, those who don’t are lesser beings. )


George Cross heroes: The bomb experts who kept on defying Taliban death traps

By Ian Drury and Fay Schlesinger
Last updated at 4:30 PM on 19th March 2010

After booby-trap bombs killed two of his comrades and left four maimed and stranded in the middle of a minefield, Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes knew he had no time to consider his own safety.

The bomb disposal expert had to clear a path across the dusty open ground so the wounded could be evacuated and the dead men retrieved - and he had to do it fast.

Shunning protective clothing to save time, the 30-year-old picked his way across the field dotted with more of the booby-trap bombs.

And all the time he knew the field was being watched by the Taliban fanatics who had planted the bombs. Indeed, even as he inched nearer the injured men, bullets were flying overhead as other soldiers tried to keep the gunmen at bay.

But, keeping his cool beneath the Afghan sun, he managed to dismantle seven of the improvised explosive devices - three by simply using his hands. There was no time to place charges and retreat to a safe distance.

His actions were described as ‘extraordinary’ by senior Army officers and yesterday Staff Sgt Hughes was awarded the George Cross for carrying out ‘the single most outstanding act’ of bomb disposal in Afghanistan.

It was one of two GCs - the UK’s highest accolade for gallantry not in the face of the enemy - to be conferred. The other was awarded posthumously to his friend and fellow bomb disposal expert Staff Sgt Olaf Schmid, 30



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/19/2010 at 01:45 PM   
Filed Under: • Battling Brits HeroesMilitaryUKWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Sunday - March 07, 2010

RAF helicoptor pilot shot between the eyes by Taliban flies 20 to safety … England expects ….

I am buried today in work and frustration caused by AT&T.  Must change over all addresses and make copies of stuff and, yadda,yadda.

It almost seems as though the kids at ATT don’t seem to be aware that there are folks overseas who have (and pay) for their services. With 50 minute wait times and two weeks already spent trying and failing to get anywhere, I guess I’m about to close my ATT account after 10 years.  Hate to do that coz generally their tech support for some things can not be faulted.  But I guess all good things must come to an end. My worry now is that they’ll continue to charge us and it’ll be just as tough getting through again. You can’t believe the nightmare.  For example, their email tells us we had till the end of march.  But someone on the phone said oh no.  March 8 is the deadline but someone else said .. NO. March 15 is the deadline.  Bah. Grumble.  I give up! It just isn’t worth it trying to get anywhere with them anymore.  And oh yeah, to make thing worse yet, they have incorrect instructions on their migration site that they aren’t even aware of. And no way to inform them.  Tried it. And forget emails. What a bad joke that is.  I’ve tried writing every place I could find an email for and have received not one reply in two weeks of trying.

I feel pretty stupid complaining about that considering what this awesome RAF pilot has done.  OK he didn’t have many choices it’s true but hey. These guys are to be admired and honored.  What they are going through is NO WALK IN THE PARK!

I hadn’t intended to post today due to all the above mentioned stuff, but ran across this. This is my only post for today.

An RAF helicopter pilot who was shot between the eyes by a Taliban bullet still managed to fly all 20 passengers to safety.


The Chinook flown by Flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune, 28, was brought in to pick up casualties during a firefight between American and Afghanistan forces and heavily armed rebels near Garmsir in Helmand Province, said a report in The Sun.

The pilot was told it was too dangerous to land and circled the landing area. The Chinook came under fire after eventually landing - which continued as casualties were loaded on board - and Flt Lt Fortune was hit by a Taliban bullet as he took off.

The shot hit the rail on the front of his helmet which is normally used to attach night vision goggles.
It penetrated his helmet hitting him between the eyes and causing severe bleeding.

Further bullets hit the helicopter’s’s controls damaging the stabilisation system.  Despite this Flt Lt Fortune was able to fly for eight minutes before landing at Camp Bastion.

This was the first time a pilot has been shot while in the air during the Afghanistan war.
Mike Brewer, a television presenter who was on board filming a documentary at the time, said: “The courage and heroism of the pilot was beyond belief.”



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/07/2010 at 08:51 AM   
Filed Under: • Battling Brits HeroesUKWar On TerrorWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Sunday - January 31, 2010

Lieutenant Colonel Lee Archer, Tuskegee Airman, served his country well.  RIP, Sir.

He had to overcome a lot in those days and apparently he did.  But it could not have been easy.  He deserves our respect and thanks.


Lieutenant-Colonel Lee Archer

Lieutenant-Colonel Lee Archer, who died on January 27 aged 90, was a member of America’s segregated “Tuskegee” air corps and recognised as the only black fighter “ace” during the Second World War; subjected to racial discrimination and prejudice, both within and outside the Army, he and his comrades none the less served their country with great distinction.

Strict racial segregation existed when Archer volunteered to be a pilot. He and like-minded African-Americans were at first rejected because many people thought black men lacked intelligence, skill, courage and patriotism.


Eventually, in June 1941, a series of legislative moves by the US Congress forced the Army Air Corps to form an all-black combat unit, despite the War Department’s reluctance. The pilots trained at a segregated Army Air Corps unit at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama, and for ever more became known as the “Tuskegee Airmen”.

Lee A Archer was born on September 6 1919 in Yonkers and raised in New York’s Harlem district. He left New York University to enlist in the air corps in 1941 but, after rejection, trained in the infantry and then as a signaller. In December 1942 he was accepted for pilot training and left for Tuskegee. He graduated in July 1943, first in the order of merit, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

Archer was assigned to 302nd Fighter Squadron of 332nd Fighter Group, the USAAF’s first all-black unit, which had been formed amid great controversy in October 1942. The group moved to Italy early in February 1944 and soon began operations flying the Bell P-39 Airacobra on ground attack missions before converting to the P-51 Mustang, when their main role was to provide close escort to the USAAF’s heavy bomber forces. In their red-tailed Mustangs they developed a reputation as one of the war’s most effective fighter escort groups. It was claimed that they never lost a bomber, but postwar research suggests this might be a slight exaggeration. Nevertheless, the “Red Tails” earned near-mythic status.

On July 18 1944 they flew their first escort for a large formation of B-24 bombers. When a fierce air battle ensued over southern Germany, eleven Messerschmitt Bf 109s were shot down, one by Archer. The long-range Mustangs were able to accompany the bombers all the way to the target and back, and the bomber pilots always felt safe once their “little friends” had joined the formation. Many were unaware that all their “friends” were black airmen.

On October 22 1944 Archer took part in a sweep along the Danube. With his leader, he was attacking a Heinkel bomber when seven Messerschmitts appeared on the scene. In the ensuing battle, Archer shot down three of them, the last as it attempted to land.

The “Red Tails” escorted bomber formations to attack the oilfields of Romania, rail yards in Austria and on long-range operations to Regensburg and Munich. Archer shared in the destruction of another Messerschmitt and he was also credited with destroying six enemy aircraft on the ground, in addition to several locomotives, motor transports and barges. By the end of the war he had flown 169 missions.

The Tuskegee Airmen proved their racist detractors wrong. They were credited with shooting down 109 enemy aircraft and they proved some of the USAAF’s best pilots, many going on to win high rank once segregation in the military was ended in 1948.

Despite their prowess, few gallantry medals were received though Archer was awarded the DFC, the Air Medal with 18 clusters and a Distinguished Unit Commendation.

Archer retired from the USAAF in 1970. He joined General Foods Corporation, becoming one of the era’s few black vice-presidents of major American companies. He was an adviser on the deal that created the conglomerate TLC Beatrice in 1987, then the largest black-owned and managed business in the US. After retiring from General Foods in 1987, he founded the venture capital firm Archer Asset Management.

In 2005 Archer and three of his Tuskegee colleagues flew to Iraq to address active duty airmen serving in the current 332nd Group.

Archer lived long enough to see the service of Tuskegee airmen fully, if belatedly, acknowledged. In March 2007, about 350 airmen and widows received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honour from President George W Bush at a ceremony in the US Capitol. The present-day 99th Flying Training Squadron’s aircraft are adorned with red tails in honour of the black airmen. Many streets and parklands bear their name, and in August 2008 the city of Atlanta officially renamed a portion of the state’s Route 6 in their honour.

On December 9, 2008 Archer and the remaining Tuskegee Airmen were invited to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Honoured by the American Fighter Pilots’ Association, Archer was described by a colleague as “extremely competent, sometimes stubborn but with a heart of gold. He treated people with respect and demanded respect by the way he carried himself.”

Lee Archer’s wife Ina, whose name adorned the nose of his Mustang, died in 1996. He is survived by three sons and a daughter.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/31/2010 at 01:11 PM   
Filed Under: • HeroesOBITITUARIES •  
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calendar   Sunday - December 13, 2009

A Different Christmas Poem

Some of you might recall that I’ve joined a Toastmasters club that is affiliated with the local Republican Party. This was sent to us by… frankly, I forget her title, not chairwoman, but maybe executive secretary of the local GOP? I can’t remember. She does show up occasionally to update us, and ask for speakers to support this-or-that local campaign.

I don’t know who wrote it. Maybe it’s the LCDR who appears at the end of the poem. The picture was also included in the email. I don’t know who it is, or even if it is the LCDR. But it made nice copy.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear..
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall..”

“ So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”


Followed up with this request:

PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many
people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our
U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these
festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

Yeah, a good reminder that we are indeed fighting a war on two fronts—on the battlefield, and at home against our own potential Reids, Pelosis, Obamas Quislings. Let’s resolve to do our best to fight FOR our troops against the Democrat enemy.


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 12/13/2009 at 05:43 PM   
Filed Under: • FREEDOMHeroesHolidaysMilitaryPatriotismWar On Terror •  
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calendar   Monday - November 02, 2009


Bad enough these brave young kids are dying and being maimed. That’s always a damn sad thing.
But somehow, to die on your last day of the tour .... I don’t know.  Something seems extra sad about that. Especially when you consider the lives this one Battling Brit saved.
I truly am nothing but upset and very depressed reading this.  Wish I hadn’t.  But then, hell.  Every time I see the reports I feel bad. Which means almost every day because there isn’t any way to avoid it.  And I shouldn’t avoid it anyway.  Neither should my fellow Americans.  These are the kids dying along side our guys.  Just as brave, just as young, just as sad.

Bomb expert who saved ‘countless lives’ killed in Afghanistan
One of the Army’s most prolific bomb disposal experts who saved “countless lives” has been killed on the last day of his operational tour, the Ministry of Defence has disclosed.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Published: 2:00PM GMT 02 Nov 2009

Despite “staring death in the face on a daily basis” Staff Sgt Olaf “Oz” Schmid continued to defuse bombs in Sangin, the most lethal town for IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in Helmand province.


The soldier, described as a man of “extreme courage”, was killed instantly as he attempted to make safe a bomb left in the town.

He is the third IED Disposal soldier to be killed in the last year as the Taliban increase their bombing campaign against the British force.

Among the great skill and courage in the ordnance disposal teams S/Sgt Schmid, 30, was marked as the “best of the best” defusing 64 of the estimated 1,200 IEDs found by British troops this year.

As well as taking part in Operation Panther’s Claw, a major assault on a Taliban stronghold, he found 31 IEDs during a single operation to clear a road near Sangin in August.

Following his death on Saturday his wife Christina said her husband had been “cruelly murdered on his last day of a relentless 5 month tour”.

“The pain of losing him is overwhelming. I take comfort knowing he saved countless lives with his hard work.”

Lt Col Robert Thomson, commanding officer of the 2Bn The Rifles, who recently returned from Afghanistan, described S/Sgt Schmid “simply the bravest and most courageous man I have ever met”.

“Under relentless IED and small arms attacks he stood taller than the tallest.

“He saved lives in 2 RIFLES time after time and for that he will retain a very special place in every heart of every Rifleman in our extraordinary battle group.”

In one 24 hour operation clearing possibly the most dangerous route in Afghanistan known as Pharmacy Road, he found 31 IEDs.

Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex, the commanding officer of the counter-IED task force, said many soldiers in Helmand owed their lives to S/Sgt Shmid’s “gallant actions”.

“The tag ‘legend’ is frequently bestowed nowadays but in his case it is rightly justified - SSgt Schmid was a legend. His courage was not displayed in a fleeting moment of time; he stared death in the face on a daily basis. His sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

He added that the soldier “takes his rightful place” alongside other bomb disposal experts who had been killed - Warrant Officer O’Donnell, who was awarded the George Medal and bar and Capt Dan Shepherd, who died during Operation Panther’s Claw.

The soldier, born in Truro Cornwall, also took part in Operation Panther’s Claw this summer which saw a bloody death told as British troops cleared Taliban strongholds ahead of the flawed presidential elections. S/Sgt Schmid, who worked in a High Threat Operator role sometimes alongside special forces, secured 11 finds of bomb making equipment many of them during the operation.

“SSgt Oz Schmid was a man of extreme courage who revelled in this the most challenging and dangerous of environments,” said his colleague Major Tim Gould.

His actions are likely to make him a strong candidate for a gallantry award, defence experts have said.

The total British lives lost in Afghanistan now stands at 224 with 87 lost this year alone.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/02/2009 at 11:47 AM   
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calendar   Thursday - October 29, 2009

WWI soldier’s hidden diary reveals amazing trench truces

You folks MUST see the link for this amazing story.
I always seem to be surprised when things like this suddenly turn up, because I think most if not all the vets from that time are gone, and after all, how much else can there be left.  Well, lots more I guess.

His sister recently passed away aged 99.  His diaries and letters were stored away all these many years. Gosh.

When we read about what these guys (on both sides) saw and did and put up with, on the one hand I can imagine how deadly and how sickening it must have been.  But there’s a huge difference between me thinking I can imagine it, and living through what they lived through.
And how sad that he survived the war only to die at a very young age of TB.  Which was a scourge in those days.  Death is so damn unfair.

What a total bummer.  I’ll never be convinced that a million other guys lived and died in those god forsaken trenches, so that England could become what it is today.  It’s sad beyond belief to the point of tears.  It seems like everything two generations bled for has been flushed out to sea.

Anyway ....

Come on over, Fritz! WWI soldier’s hidden diary reveals amazing trench truces soldiers would call to yell names at each other

By Cher Thornhill
Last updated at 10:01 AM on 29th October 2009

With shells screaming overhead and German snipers only 75 yards away, just staying alive was a remarkable achievement.

Yet huddled in the mud-filled trenches, Sapper John T French found the time to compile a remarkable diary.

Its pencil-written pages, in immaculate copperplate, give an astonishing insight into life on the front line between 1915 and 1917.

It details how the opposing trenches were sometimes so close that the two sides would call a temporary truce to exchange friendly insults across No Man’s Land.

In one ‘rather curious’ incident, a British soldier stood above the parapet to shout: ‘Come on over, Fritz’ in a comedy German accent. One of the enemy then called back - in a perfect English accent - ‘No blooming fear’.

Both sides then put their heads above the trench for half an hour to ‘laugh and shout’ at each other before ‘heads went down and the war went on the same as usual’.

The three volumes were discovered among the possessions of Mr French’s sister Emily following her recent death at the age of 99.

They describe the horror of the trenches, such as removing ‘piles of men’ killed in action and ‘shifting and ducking’ bullets which scream ‘like ten thousand devils on the loose’.

But Mr French, a tin miner from Redruth in Cornwall, also writes about the enticing smell of frying bacon, the relief of a good ‘sing song’, and discovering watercress growing in a stream which ‘went all right with bread and cheese’.

Mr French was eventually promoted to second lieutenant. Although he was wounded in action, he survived the war, but developed TB and died in 1929 aged 37.

He married a young pianist named Eve during a spell in the U.S., but they are believed not to have had any children.

The diaries are now on display at the Redruth Old Cornwall Society Museum.
John French’s Diary

Mr French, one of 11 children, was born in 1892.

He was sent to France in 1915 as a member of the 254th Tunnelling Company of the Royal Engineers.

His diaries describe some of the bloodiest battles of the Great War. He spends his days and nights ‘up to my knees in water’ digging trenches just 75 yards away from Germans who throw a hail of bombs and grenades which ‘go hizzing’ around his head.
John French’s World War I diary

The men were forced to work in whispers as their tunnels weave between those of the Germans and they flee when chemical weapons descend like ‘thick yellow fog’.

Award: John French, was awarded the Military Cross for Conspicuous Bravery

Enemy snipers, including one particular ‘smart and hot’ shooter, regularly kill his comrades.

Mr French describes the ‘awful mess’ of limbs sticking out of the ground and times when he is called to dig out men who have been trapped in mud and collapsed trenches.

Three days after the ‘come on over, Fritz’ incident, he writes: ‘Up in orders today that any German looking over the parapet is to be shot and any man found talking to them is to be placed under arrest.

‘This is the result of the affair a few mornings ago.’ Mr French served at Ypres in 1917 - where one battle saw half a million men die - and he talks of the regular ‘big pushes’ and how ‘there won’t be many of us left at this rate’.

His entry for August 16, 1917, reads: ‘Had a rather narrow escape. Shell hit me full in the left side, ripped through my tunic but was stopped by my thick leather belt.

Escaped with nothing worse than a bruise.’ Yesterday his niece Wendy Dawe, of Illogan, near Redruth, said his journals make her ‘immensely proud’.

She added: ‘It is in diaries such as this, made by men trying to do their bit, that we see how brave they were and what it was like trying to fight and survive.’



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 10/29/2009 at 09:24 AM   
Filed Under: • HeroesHistoryUK •  
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calendar   Saturday - October 03, 2009

A fallen hero and the story of what befell the rest of his comrades in 1 Platoon.

BATTLING BRITS is not a figure of speech ppl.

I caught this late today, only minutes ago.  I have to say the way the Mail presented this really brings home what these fellows are all about.
And at the same time, it also pisses me off big time to know these heroes are being stabbed in the back.  I just can not add anything to this.
It speaks for itself.

A fallen hero and the story of what befell the rest of his comrades in 1 Platoon

By Richard Pendlebury
Last updated at 8:34 AM on 03rd October 2009

This week, hundreds of people lined the streets of Wootton Bassett to give the town’s traditional salute to a fallen hero as another British serviceman was repatriated from Afghanistan in a Union Jack draped coffin.

Corporal Michael Lockett, 29, was the most highly decorated British soldier to die in the battle against the Taliban. His body had been flown back to Britain to nearby RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, and a fly-past was staged before a private ceremony for his family.

Corporal Lockett, a father of three, was the first holder of the Military Cross to be killed in the war and had received the honour last year from the Queen for his ‘absolutely exceptional leadership and supreme courage’ in a clash with the Taliban in Helmand.

He had rescued wounded comrades and recovered bodies of fallen pals despite heavy enemy fire in a three-hour firefight.

On the eve of battle he posed for this remarkable photograph. To the regiment, it has always been an emblematic and proud picture; a portrait of young warriors who were supreme heroes under fire.

Yet in the past fortnight the photograph has also - perhaps inevitably - come to reflect war’s growing human cost.

This band of brothers is 1 Platoon of A Company, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters).

Shortly after the picture was taken in 2007, in the Afghan province of Helmand, they fought one of the bloodiest engagements of the conflict.

One night, the platoon was ambushed by a strong Taliban force. In the subsequent firefight, two Mercians were killed and seven wounded, two seriously.

Sergeant Craig Brelsford lost his life (and won a posthumous Military Cross) trying to retrieve the body of Private Johan Botha, which the Taliban were attempting to drag away. Others kept trying.

Corporal Lockett directed their efforts on that night in September. He is the soldier standing on the far left of the photograph; one of the most popular of Mercians.

But the war has continued longer and proved bloodier than then expected. Two years after surviving the ambush, ‘Locky’ was killed, on September 21.

He was nearing the end of his third tour and was the 217th British serviceman to die in Afghanistan since 2001.

But what of his comrades-in-arms in the picture? War brought the platoon together. It also tore them apart. Here are their stories…

This is important BMEWS.  Go to the link below since I can’t seem to post the photos cleanly here.  Don’t know why.  There are two photos and one of them explains the following.  In trying to reduce the pix for this post, the photos just didn’t work. When left at original size, they seemed to overwhelm the page.

1 Michael Lockett. Then aged 27, from Angus. Vowed never to leave any of his men behind on the battlefield and did not. The body of colleague Private Botha was recovered from the Taliban and other wounded British soldiers saved. Promoted to sergeant. Received his MC from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Killed on September 21.

2 Private ‘Ginge’ Jones. Territorial Army soldier from Hastings, East Sussex. Now studying military history at university.

3 Corporal Ben Umney, 25. A section commander from Chesterfield. During an ambush, a bullet pierced his helmet but not his skull, stunning him. Has just left the Army after 11 years service. Now runs his own plumbing business.

4 Corporal Lee ‘Al’ Hodson from Worcester. On active service again in Helmand.

5 Private Matthew Farr from the West Midlands. Promoted to lance corporal. Returned to active service in Helmand.

6 Lance Corporal Jonathan McEwan, 27, from Retford, Nottinghamshire. On active service again in Helmand.

7 Christopher Bell, 20, from Redditch. Left the Army last year.

8 Lance Corporal Lee Weston. Shot and wounded in the shoulder during the night ambush. Has now left the Army and is a qualified mechanic.

9 Lance Corporal Wayne Russen, 24, from Redditch. Avoided the ambush, having been injured in an attack a few days before. Has since left the Army and is looking for work.

10 Private Kyle Drury, 22. Temporarily blinded by phosphorous during ambush and shot in chest, but was saved by his body armour as bullets deflected off his radio. Since promoted to lance corporal and still in the Army.

11 Private ‘Trout’ Stout, 20, from Nottingham. On active service again in Helmand.

12 Private Latham, 20, from Nottingham. Since promoted to lance corporal. Back on the Helmand frontline.

13 Private Luke Cole, 24, from Wolverhampton. Territorial Army reservist. Shot and wounded in initial ambush, but refused morphine treatment and continued to fire at Taliban and tend to even more seriously hurt colleague Private Cooper.

Shot again, through hip and stomach, before being evacuated several hours later. Awarded the Military Cross for his bravery. Permanently disabled by leg wound, he has spent time in a wheelchair and can no longer run. Unable to return to his former job of fork-lift truck engineer.

Currently retraining at specialist college for the disabled.

14 Private Sam Cooper, 18, from Chesterfield. Youngest soldier in regiment. Shot in head and suffered brain damage in the ambush, which affects his speech and one side of his body. Treated at Headley Court rehabilitation centre.

15 Private Daniel Hammer, 19, from the West Midlands. On active service again in Helmand.

16 Lieutenant Simon Cupples, 25, from Chesterfield. Officer in command of the platoon during ambush. At times, was less than 20 metres from Taliban lines as he fought to remove his men from the ‘killing zone’.

Awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, second only to the Victoria Cross. Now promoted to Captain and second in command of A (Grenadier) Company, 2 Mercians.

17 Privater Ben Johnson, 23. Temporarily blinded by phosphorus during the night ambush. Still serving. Has been on active service again in Helmand.

18 Private Matthew Carling, 21, from Derby. Left the Army last year.

19 Private ‘Dunc’ Dunkley, from Nottingham. No longer in the Army.

Read more:


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 10/03/2009 at 10:28 AM   
Filed Under: • HeroesUKWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Thursday - October 01, 2009


Yesterday’s story but I was off all day. So it’s good to start the posting day with something nice.  But I promise, it’ll get bad before I’m through.

Anyway, I guess this is one farmer’s daughter who nobody will use as a crude joke source.
Kudos to her.

Farmer’s daughter disarms terrorist and shoots him dead with AK47

An Indian farmer’s daughter disarmed a terrorist leader who broke into her home, attacked him with an axe and shot him dead with his own gun.

By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
29 Sep 2009

Rukhsana Kausar, 21, was with her parents and brother in Jammu and Kashmir when three gunmen, believed to be Pakistani militants, forced their way in and demanded food and beds for the night.

Their house in Shahdra Sharief, Rajouri district, is about 20 miles from the ceasefire line between Indian and Pakistani forces.

It is close to dense forests known as hiding places for fighters from the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which carried out the Mumbai terrorist attack last November.

Militants often demand food and lodging in nearby villages.

When they forced their way into Miss Kausar’s home, her father Noor Mohammad refused their demands and was attacked.

His daughter was hiding under a bed when she heard him crying as the gunmen thrashed him with sticks. According to police, she ran towards her father’s attacker and struck him with an axe. As he collapsed, she snatched his AK47 and shot him dead.

She also shot and wounded another militant as he made his escape.

Police have hailed the woman’s bravery.

They said she would be nominated for the president’s gallantry award.

She may also receive a £4,000 reward if, as police believe, the dead terrorist is confirmed as Uzafa Shah, a wanted Pakistani LeT commander who had been active in the area for the past four years.

Supt Shafqat Watali said Miss Kausar’s reaction was “a rude shock” for the militants. “Normally they get king-like treatment but this was totally unexpected,” he said.

Miss Kausar said she had never fired an assault rifle before but had seen it in films and could not stand by while her father was being hurt. “I couldn’t bear my father’s humiliation. If I’d failed to kill him, they would have killed us,” she said.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 10/01/2009 at 08:59 AM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun ControlHeroesTerrorists •  
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calendar   Tuesday - September 29, 2009


Isn’t this just somethin’ else?  Must hand it to the guy. Brilliant.  I’m looking for words and having trouble I am so overwhelmed. No kidding. I think this has a WOW factor of about a million. Took 11 years and he had to learn another language as well.  Talk about determination and enterprise and patience.

Retired firefighter builds a four-seater plane in his garage from scratch

By Chris Brooke
29th September 2009


His wife would have preferred an extension to their house, but after watching the film Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines Alan Shipp vowed to do whatever it takes to build his own plane.

The result was the ultimate DIY project spanning 11 years, costing £25,000 and requiring thousands of hours of his own labour.

Instead of putting together a kit, the retired firefighter did it the hard way by constructing a four-seater aircraft from his garage workshop using only plans.

He had to learn French to translate the detailed instructions from the design documents, sourced materials from all over the world and twice extended his garage to fit his growing Jodel D140E Mousquetaire inside.

Now, after countless nights toiling through to the early hours, his labour of love is complete.

The plane has had a successful maiden flight and Mr Shipp, a qualified pilot, is looking forward to putting his home-built aircraft through its paces in the skies.

The completion of the marathon project is not only good news for Mr Shipp, but a cause for celebration for his family and neighbours in Kirk Ella, Hull, who have had to put up with the construction project for so long.

Local residents became used to the sight of plane parts being delivered to the Shipp family home and listening to the sounds of cutting and hammering coming from inside the garage.


Mr Shipp, 67, started on the aircraft after taking early retirement and primarily used wood and steel to build it from scratch. He said: ‘A lot of aircraft are kits but this is just from plans. Everything has to be made.

‘Even if you’re not building, you are studying plans - there’s no one to turn to for help. Over the years I’ve developed my own kind of French, even though no Frenchman could understand me.’

The engine, fuselage and interior had to be put together with extreme precision and to adhere to the most rigorous safety standards. Parts had to be sourced from specialist suppliers, with steel tubing being sent over from California.

Mr Shipp’s passion for making things began at school when he built a canoe when asked to make a model and ended up setting off across the River Humber in it. He later built speedboats and a caravan before catching the flying bug.

The plane - now said to be worth £75,000 - had its maiden flight from an airfield in York 10 days ago and was flown by a retired airline pilot.

Mr Shipp is awaiting Civil Aviation Authority approval before he can take the plane on solo excursions, but the flying fanatic intends to spend many hours in the skies above Yorkshire over the coming months.

He said:’I must admit, when the plane took off on its first flight I did have my heart in my mouth because it is someone else’s life in your hands but when it all went smoothly I was absolutely delighted.

‘To me it’s just magic. Whenever I see an aircraft take off, it just defies logic. Whenever I look at it, it mesmerises me, that massive weight going up in the air, all the thousands of parts working in unison.’

Wife Andrea, 68, described her husband as a ‘workaholic’ and said finishing the project was ‘very emotional.’

‘He has worked very hard for 11 years in the garage, every night till 3am to 4am.  People are amazed when they walk by and we are bringing it out of the garage and putting it back in.’

Son Garry, 42, said: ‘It’s been 24/7 365 days of the year. He’s done brilliantly and we are all very proud of him.’

Daughter Debra Craven, 40, said:’Dad has always worked for what he has and he will make sure he gets it just right, he’s a perfectionist.

‘It really is an amazing achievement and a relief for all of us that he has finished working on it. Maybe now he can semi-retire and start relaxing a bit - it will be nice to have my dad back.’

She said his next job would be to build his three-year-old grandson a rocking chair.


Really folks ... take a look ... impressive.  I know he isn’t a “hero” in the usual way that word is used. But I couldn’t think of another strong adjective to describe the guy and what he did.  And I really understand exactly what he is saying with regard to looking at planes in wonderment. 


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 09/29/2009 at 02:05 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesArt-PhotographyHeroes •  
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calendar   Friday - September 25, 2009


This was in the morning paper and I’m glad in a way that I could find it on line and share it with my American countrymen and women.

Americans see quite a number of our own I’m sure.  I very much doubt we see and hear anything at all about this brave young people who are bleeding alongside us. 
We MUST NOT ignore or forget them.  Sure, we have problems of our own and there are an awful lot of unhappy, grieving American families as well.
I hate the idea of so many young lives lost forever in all the countries losing their young who are fighting the malignancy that is militant islam.
But from time to time, especially since I’m living here among them, I have a need to share these folks I call Battling Brits.  Americans need to see them so we understand and appreciate that although their numbers are smaller then ours, their blood runs just as free.

Why this picture fills me with awe, pride… and fury
By Bel Mooney
25th September 2009

Fusilier Tom James, who was injured by the same blast that killed Fusilier Shaun Bush, arrives at his funeral.


Just the sight of yesterday’s Daily Mail lying on my doormat was enough to start the tears.

There was the picture of Fusilier Tom James so terribly injured, his right arm lost in a savage Taliban bomb blast.

He had struggled from his hospital bed, donning uniform to attend the funeral of the comrade who was fatally wounded beside him. No pain, nor fear, would stop him honouring his mate.

The night before, like many, I had watched the almost-unbearably moving BBC documentary, Wounded, which told the stories of 19-year-old Andy Allen and 24-year-old Tom Neathway, also horrifically injured in Afghanistan.

No one who witnessed the agony of these once superbly-fit young men learning how to walk on ‘stubbies’ (short artificial limbs) could ever forget the sight.

When Andy was first allowed the longed-for visit home to Belfast, we saw one or two people in his enthusiastic welcoming committee look away in sudden, emotional horror at the first glimpse of the young man who had lost both legs and had feared he would never regain his sight.

It struck me as a powerful metaphor that he should so long to see, whereas so many of us have turned away from the unbearable reality of war.

That is why yesterday’s Mail front page was so important, and why Wounded was compulsory viewing.

It may well be that the Ministry of Defence might prefer the British public not to be made so acutely aware of the horrors of the war in Afghanistan.

We’ve all read the statistics - the numbers of those who have given their lives in the brutal conflict in a pitiless faraway land. Yet none of us really knows the numbers of wounded, or the extent of their injuries. It’s been kept hidden.


Sometimes I do wonder if the media and even our blog sites, are correct in recognizing so publicly the heroes as we do. Does it play into the hands of the enemy?  Are they happy to see photos such as this?  Are we giving aid and comfort, or at least comfort anyway, by telling their stories and showing the pix?  On one hand I want to say thank you and I appreciate your bravery. I can’t do what you have done. And then I wonder if the enemy is also watching and surfing and enjoying the pain.


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 09/25/2009 at 11:13 AM   
Filed Under: • HeroesMilitaryUKWar On TerrorWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Thursday - September 10, 2009

Hero who saved 30 lives by tackling suicide bomber. Routine stuff for battling Brits.

Well, maybe not so routine.  This is one one brave act and the guy is surely a genuine hero in a world of few. Certainly none among the political class.
Anyway, this soldier has carried on the long tradition of his service.
Well done sir.

Hero squaddie who saved 30 lives by rugby-tackling suicide bomber to get military cross

By Daily Mail Reporter

A Royal Marine is to be awarded a Military Cross after saving up to 30 lives by ‘rugby-tackling’ a suicide bomber.


Sergeant Noel Connolly was serving in Afghanistan last November when a bomber rode towards his troop on a motorbike packed with 150lb of explosives.

Sgt Connolly dived on the bomber, grabbed him by the shirt and hauled him from the bike before he was able to detonate the explosives.

But the modest 41-year-old from Manchester insisted he ‘wasn’t brave’ and even tried to keep the feat a secret from his family.

He said:  ‘I was near the school when I caught a fleeting glimpse of a motorbike. I told all my lads to expect a bomber.

‘The motorcyclist looked lost. He turned the bike around up the track and came back.

‘I grabbed two lads and went to intercept him. I had no idea if he was the bomber. The only way of finding out was to challenge him.’

The sergeant then stepped into the road and ordered the man to stop.

‘He stalled the bike and started pushing it away from us. He stopped, straddled it and turned to face us,’ he said. ‘As I got to within 10 metres, there was a loud crack from halfway down the bike.

‘That’s when I saw a small toggle switch had been fitted to his handlebars. As soon as he went for the toggle again I rushed him. I grabbed him by the front of his shirt and hauled him off.’

The motorbike’s frame was found to contain 154lb of explosive. The bomber was handed to police and later jailed for 18 years.

But Sgt Connolly, who serves with 3 Commando Brigade, insisted: ‘’I’m not brave. Someone had to stop him.’
mary connolly

He played down his heroics so much that he did not even tell his family. Then, when the story emerged, he begged his sister not to tell their 81-year-old mother, Mary.

The award is expected to be announced tomorrow with other recipients of honours for gallantry and meritorious service.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said most of the Operational Honours and Awards list are predominantly from the 3 Commando Brigade Task Force that deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, but it also includes others involved in operations in Iraq and in the UK.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 09/10/2009 at 07:30 AM   
Filed Under: • HeroesUKWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Wednesday - September 02, 2009

It so seriously bothers me that there are pin heads tearing down this country while at the same time

Jeez. I read something like this and am honestly awed by the bravery and respect and admire the ppl who do these things.
Meanwhile ... there are these total jerks running around gluing themselves to buildings to protest things and making life difficult for people who just do not agree with their pov.  Oh, that’s enough to earn one derision and insults from the freedom loving left wing pin heads who are usually so quick to point out this countries failings.  Bet ya not one of em has what it takes to do what this young lady has done under fire and wounded herself.

This country is still very capable of producing folks like this. Sadly, the damn politically correct left has a choke hold on the country. And that dooms it. Bothers me coz this country, this England, was one hell of a great place once upon a time.  There are still so many things I love about it, and the people I meet or know could not be better friends or nicer folks. But the damn left. 

OK I didn’t mean to go off the rails and off topic.  I just feel sad for this place and worry that my own country could just as easily go this way as well.

Pictured: Heroic female medic who ignored shrapnel embedded in her shoulder to save SEVEN soldiers during Taliban attack
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:32 PM on 02nd September 2009


Hero: Lance Corporal Clarke stayed behind to treat wounded soldiers including Corporal Mather despite being injured herself after a Taliban attack
An heroic army medic treated seven injured comrades after a Taliban attack in Afghanistan despite being wounded with shrapnel herself, it emerged today.
Lance Corporal Sally Clarke, of 2 Rifles, ignored the searing pain caused by the shards embedded in her shoulder and back and set about treating the rest of her patrol.

The worst hit was Corporal Paul Mather who incredibly managed to radio instructions for jets circling above to open fire on Taliban insurgents despite bleeding heavily from wounds the size of his fist.
Corporal Mather, 28, and Lance Corporal Clarke, 22, from Cheltenham, were on patrol south of Sangin when insurgents fired rocket propelled grenades over a wall as soldiers dealt with an anti-tank mine.

Hot flying shrapnel sliced open Corporal Mather’s body, leaving gaping holes across his arms, legs and buttocks.
He said: ‘It hurt like hell, but once the explosions stopped and my hearing came back, I managed to climb through a ditch towards a group of soldiers treating other casualties.

‘I had a hole in my left bicep, so the medics applied a field dressing and tourniquet to stem the blood flow.’
Despite being entitled to get out as soon as she was hit Lance Corporal Clarke refused, insisting she would not leave the patrol without a medic.

She said: ‘I didn’t feel like my injuries were bad enough to go back to the hospital, particularly as I was the only medic on the ground at the time.

‘I couldn’t leave them on their own - I came out here to support the troops on the ground and give them medical care when they needed it the most.’
Realising the jets and Apache attack helicopters above the patrol had seen the explosions and needed to know what had happened, Corporal Mather told one of the soldiers to take a smoke grenade and throw it into the compound where the grenades had come from.

‘The pilot immediately picked up the smoke signal and I gave directions for a strike on to the compound,’ said Mather.
He continued to radio instructions until he was on the helicopter where he finally took some morphine to ease the pain.
Corporal Mather is now recovering at home with his parents, Phil and Rose.

He said they were looking after him well and feeding him ‘pizza and ice cream’.
Lance Corporal Clarke, who stayed on the ground and accompanied the rest of the patrol back to base, was later treated by a doctor in a medical aid post. She is due home within weeks to visit her parents Chris and Rosemary Clarke.


Meanwhile, two more brave Tommies paid the untimate price raising the number of Brit dead in that damned awful country. And I feel very bad about that too.


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 09/02/2009 at 08:54 AM   
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calendar   Saturday - August 15, 2009


Coz the vermin have them and will never hesitate to use em.

Three cheers for this old fellow except I wish he wouldn’t say how sorry he is that he had to pull the trigger. Why sorry?
He didn’t take a human life after all.  He should feel very good. He has also prevented future criminal acts.  Good for him!

Shopkeeper, 72, who shot dead two robbers won’t be charged, say police

By Paul Thompson
Last updated at 11:21 AM on 15th August 2009

When four armed men burst into his store and demanded money, Charles Augusto tried to reason with them.

He calmly explained there was no cash on the premises and they should put the gun down.

But when one of the robbers began to pistol whip an employee in frustration, the 72-year-old’s patience snapped.

He pulled out a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun from under the counter and began shooting.

The blasts hit all four men, killing two and leaving two others critically injured.

he quietly spoken store owner is being hailed as a hero in Harlem, New York, for turning the tables on the robbers. Police said he would not face any charges.

Although the shotgun was not registered, under New York law someone is allowed to use deadly force if they feel their life is in imminent danger.

Mr Augusto, who bought the shotgun 30 years ago after another robbery attempt, said he was left with no choice but to open fire.

‘I told this kid, “We don’t have any money”,’ Mr Augusto said.

‘I asked him, “Why don’t you just put your gun down and go home and we’ll forget about this thing? Someone’s gonna get hurt. There’s no money - you’re gonna get in trouble. You’re wasting your time.”

‘I would have been happy if they’d all run out the door. I’m sick to my stomach over it.

‘I’m sad I couldn’t talk them out of it. I’m sad there’s mothers and fathers with no sons today.

‘I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m sitting here minding my own business and they come in with guns. I don’t feel like a hero. I would have felt like a hero if I could have talked that kid into going home.’

He added: ‘I’m sorry they’re dead but they didn’t give me any other choice.’

The failed robbery took place at his restaurant supply company in Harlem. Mr Augusto was inside the store with two employees, a 33-year-old man identified as JB and a 47-year-old woman.

The four robbers - aged from 21 to 29 - burst in and demanded cash. One was armed with a pistol and they carried plastic handcuffs.

Police said Mr Augusto made it clear there was no money on the premises, which led to one of the robbers to start to pistol whip JB.

Mr Augusto, who was 20 to 30ft away, whipped out the shotgun and fired three times.

James Morgan, 29, died instantly. A gun was found near his body slumped in the doorway of the store.

His accomplice Raylin Footman, 21, died later in hospital from shotgun wounds to his back.

The two other suspects, Bernard Witherspoon, 21, and Shamel Cloud, 21, were caught after police followed a bloody trail from the store.

Witnesses said JB stood over the dead robber screaming: ‘You’re dead! You’re dead!’

He later told police a gun had been held to his head.

Police sources said Footman, one of the victims, had previously been arrested for robbery and weapons charges. The other three robbers were also known to police.

Harlem residents praised Mr Augusto for his actions.

Gene Hernandez, 47, said: ‘I would kill a dozen of them. You have to protect your family and workers. Case closed.’

Stefany Blyn, who rents a space above the store from Mr Augusto, said: ‘He’s been robbed before, so I’m not totally amazed.’

Police said charges are pending against the two injured suspects.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 08/15/2009 at 03:29 PM   
Filed Under: • CrimeGuns and Gun ControlHealth and SafetyHeroes •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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