06 Oct 06. Iraq: OP TELIC. A Reservist Lance Corporal from the Royal Army Medical Corps died as a result of wounds received from a mortar attack in Northern Basrah on 1 Oct 06. The number of UK deaths since the start of hostilities thus rose to 119 (six from natural causes, 37 accidentally, six from friendly fire and 70 killed in action). The Armed Forces’ Minister visited Southern Iraq (1 Oct 06) “to thank soldiers from 20 Brigade for all their hard work”. In a Written Answer (published on 2 Oct 06), the Foreign Secretary said that “civil war is neither imminent nor inevitable” in Iraq.
Comment: On 18 Jul 06 the Defence Secretary said that one Company of 7th Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland would form part of TELIC 9 deploying in November 2006. The MoD confirmed (6 Oct 06) that over 100 Territorial Army soldiers from 7 SCOTS have been training for their forthcoming deployment. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS Issue 06/38, 9 Oct 06)
04 Oct 06. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. 800 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) took over from IV (Army Co-operation) Squadron RAF in flying Harrier GR7 ground attack aircraft from Kandahar. About 100 members of 800 NAS have been deployed and are expected to spend 15 weeks in Afghanistan before the RAF takes over again.
The MoD responded to media allegations of “a Government cover-up” over the difficult situation in Afghanistan. (MoD, 1 Oct 06.)
HRH The Princess Royal, accompanied by her husband Rear Admiral T J H Laurence, visited British soldiers deployed in Kabul, Kandahar and Camp Bastion on 3 Oct 06. (ISAF, 4 Oct 06.). The NATO-led ISAF expanded (5 Oct 06) its Operations to complete Stage 4, which includes 14 Eastern Provinces. A total of around 10,000 US troops have joined ISAF in Regional Command East, leaving 8,000 under US command. Now responsible for the whole of Afghanistan, Lieutenant General D J Richards has been appointed to the acting rank of General. (MoD, 5/6 Oct 06.)
Comment: The October edition of ‘Soldier’ includes an interesting description of Desert Hawk, a miniature unmanned aerial vehicle operated by 18 Battery, 32 Regiment, Royal Artillery. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS Issue 06/38, 9 Oct 06)
06 Oct 06. The Royal Irish Regiment (R IRISH): Gallantry Award
During a ceremony in Belfast (6 Oct 06), HM The Queen awarded the R IRISH the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. The award was made in recognition of 36 years continuous operational service and sacrifice in Northern Ireland by the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Home Service Battalions of the R IRISH. 274 members and former members of the Regiments died as a result of terrorist action between 1971 and 2002. The three Home Service Battalions (2 R IRISH, 3 R IRISH & 4 R IRISH) became non-operational on 1 Sep 06 and are to be formally disbanded on 31 Jul 07.
Comment: The R IRISH was formed in July 1992, through the amalgamation of the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Irish Rangers. 1 R IRISH is a General Service battalion of the British Army, with recent service in Iraq and Afghanistan. 2, 3, & 4 R IRISH were raised for Home Service (only) in order to support the Police (OP BANNER). The Territorial Army element of the R IRISH consists of one battalion, known as The Royal Irish Rangers. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS Issue 06/38, 9 Oct 06)
Oct 06. Training: Exercise Cancellations. The Armed Forces’ Minister said that 58 training events from the 2005/06 (1 Apr 05 to 31 Mar 06) Defence Exercise Programme had been cancelled. 30 Exercises were cancelled due to Operational commitments, 13 as savings measures and 10 by other nations. The remaining five events were cancelled “in response to changing priorities or rescheduling”.
Comment: The MoD’s 2005/06 Report and Accounts notes that the number of cancelled Exercises had fallen from 20% in 2004/05 to 14% in 2005/06. Operational commitments, increased fuel prices and “the prioritisation of Operational requirements” were cited as the reasons for cancellations.