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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sticks And Stones

I was only ever involved in one "public order" incident during my time in Northern Ireland. We'd spent yet another day sat around in our LandRovers waiting to do something. Marches were ongoing and there had been some trouble. Understandably, and rightly so, the police always tried to deal with everything themselves. When we got the order to move there was a collective cynical groan. This time though we didn't stop at another police station. We kept going. Sat in the back with equipment piled all over us there was little we could see. When we stopped and debussed we were in the middle of a housing estate. Smoke was in the air - subsequently we found that some innocent family, and for the life of me I can't remember which side of the divide they were from - had been burnt out of their home. There was a small crowd waiting to see what we would do. We formed a wall of shields across the road and then waited. According to the training this is where we would get petrol bombed or worse. Two hours later and we were still there - the worst that had been hurled at us was some colourful language. Eventually everyone got bored of the situation. The crowd opposite us drifted away - Eastenders was probably coming on the TV. Finally we left - my legs were sore from standing for so long and my head ached from the weight of the helmet. A sense of disappointment pervaded the LandRover as we drove home - was this as exciting as it got? I don't think any of us spared a thought for the now homeless family.


Anonymous Z said...

I'm glad that there was no excitement. The world is a far too exciting place. right now.

9:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a really grim experience of soldiering in ireland have a look at this

11:43 am  
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