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View Article  Armed Forces Day - Free carvery meal for heroes


Armed Forces Day - Free carvery meal for heroes

We’re serving up carveries fit for heroes in our pub restaurants during the week leading up to Armed Forces Day on 25th June. From Monday 20th to Saturday 25th June inclusive, we’re inviting all Service people, past and present, to enjoy their favourite roast dinner on us.

Are you Armed Forces? Print your voucher

Enjoy a meal out on us
We plan to salute the thousands of Service people enlisted to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, by offering them a free carvery meal at a Crown Carvery of their choice. The offer is also open to all forces veterans.

Get your free carvery
Enjoying your free carvery meal couldn’t be easier. If you are Armed Forces past or present:

• Download & print your voucher
• Find your nearest Crown Carvery
• Bring along your current ID card (or veteran lapel badge)
• Enjoy a carvery main course on us

You can also download and print a voucher from our Facebook page.

It really is that simple. The hard part is choosing between roast beef, gammon or turkey, or a vegetarian alternative.

And don’t forget you can just drop by at your local Crown Carvery, there’s no need to book. Just don’t forget your voucher!

Terms & Conditions
• Offer valid from 20th June to Saturday 25th June 2011 inclusive
• Offer open to over 18’s only
• A valid Services ID or veterans badge must be shown with the voucher
• Only one ‘free carvery meal’ voucher can be redeemed per ID card or veteran’s badge
• We reserve the right to remove this offer at any time
NOTE: The Ashbank, Stoke-on-Trent will be closed to the public on Monday 20th June

Foxnwolf comments;

Here is the original link in case you think this is a Wind-up....... "Crown Carvery"
View Article  Make Forces Pensions Past & Present Tax Free
A request that I received
from

Tez Watson, RAF Rtd


Dear Peter

A friend of both you and I, Keir Hardie (RM ret'd) suggested that I contact you to see if you might be willing to help the above cause by publicising it through your network of contacts/websites.

A recent post - He took a job knowing he would never get rich. He's missed out on many holidays and special occasions in order to protect lives. He was expected to lay down his life or take a life if necessary. It has been proven that his life expectancy is shorter than yours because of everything he went through. And some think he's not deserving of his pension, or health care benefits. (This also applies to service ladies, of course.)

Mick Clarke an ex-RLC Sergeant has had a pretty rough time of it and is suffering badly from the consequences of his long service career. He has found life very tough since being leaving the mob and started the cause on Facebook to try and help others like him as much as for his own benefit. There are many ex-servicemen and women that deserve better having given so much for their country (and other countries!) and they seem to be at the bottom of the heap when it comes to support from the government - the druggies, the  spongers and the scroungers seem to fare much better having given nothing...

The aim is to try and recruit 100,000 members and then try to convert them a quickly as possible to signatories to a Westminster petition (once it is launched). The window for the e-petition is limited and if it can get 100,000 signatories then apparently a question must be raised in parliament. We also would like to locate well-known faces that have a military career/background be they sports/media/entertainment/politics/etc - anyone willing to help to bring the cause the attention of the media.

I have suggested that a formal parade of ex-servicemen could be organised in London (taking the route of the Remembrance Day parade) - though given recent peaceful protests being hijacked I'm not so sure. However, it could be possible and the event could pay it's respects to the fallen as it would pass the Cenotaph. It may not be easy to mobilise ex-servicemen but if there's a potential financial benefit to them all it may just prove possible.

For my part I served in the RAF for 21 years as an aircraft technician reaching the dizzy heights of Sergeant in 1989 and serving on until 1997. I saw this cause and decided to get involved as I am fit (?) and able unlike many of our former colleagues.

Please take a moment to visit this website and if you can assist in any way, no matter how small your support would be much appreciated.

http://www.causes.com/causes/525673-make-forces-pensions-past-present-tax-free?m=1f955714

Kindest Regards

Tez Watson

Foxnwolf comments;

Thanx Tez for contacting me, I fully support this cause (not that I need the cash but for rightly those that do) If there is anything else you want me to post just let me know.......

PMPT & Semper Fi.......

View Article  38 Warrant Officers in the British Army "Fired by Email"
38 Warrant Officers in the British Army "Fired by Email"

Both the Ministry of Defence and the Army have apologised for "causing distress" after 38 soldiers - including one serving in Afghanistan - were sacked by email.

The warrant officers who were dismissed by email were told it was because the Army also needed to make savings.

The message to the men read: "I write to notify you that with regret, I must issue you with 12 months' Notice of Termination.

"As I'm sure you are aware the Army has to make significant cutbacks and we... are expected to play our part in reductions."

The 38 warrant officers - the highest non-commissioned rank - all have at least 20 years' service and continue in the Army on a rolling contract.

However, The Sun claimed one of the veteran soldiers received the bad news while on the front line in Afghanistan.

An Army spokesperson said: "We apologise for the distress that this will have caused.

British troops in Afghanistan
All the men have at least 20 years' service with the British Army

"Commanding officers have now spoken to the soldiers concerned to ensure that they receive all necessary advice and support."

The MoD has been quick to point out this was not a mistake on the part of civil servants or ministers - but a mistake in terms of sequencing made by the Army.

Army sources said the individual responsible for the gaffe would be spoken to by the chain of command about the need to be sensitive in these matters.

When their contracts are up in a year's time, the servicemen will get their full re-settlement package and thousands of pounds towards future training.

Despite this, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said getting fired in such a way was unforgivable.

"To be sacked by email is a shameful and callous way to be treated.

FOXNWOLF COMMENTS;

This is typical of the governments attitude towards our armed forces. Apart from the offending email re "38 Warrant Officers in the British Army Fired by Email". How about;

"Who sent the email"


"Who gave permission for that signal to be sent"

I hope that the person who pressed the "ENTER" button that sent the message winging thru to the unsuspecting 38 W.O.`s also gets notified that they are going to loose their job.


Who ever it is SHOULD BE FIRED....... whether its a Civil Servant or Government Minister they should be out of the door, nothing more and nothing less.

SOMEBODY SHOULD BE NAILED FOR THIS

View Article  Live RPG removed from soldier
Live RPG removed from soldier


The story is about Channing Moss, who was impaled by a live RPG Warhead during a Taliban ambush while on patrol.  Army protocol says that medivac choppers are never to carry anyone with a live round in him.  Even though they feared it could explode, the flight crew said damn the protocol and flew him to the nearest aid station..  Again, protocol said that in such a case the patient is to be put in a sandbagged area away from the surgical unit, given a shot of morphine and left to wait (and die) until others are treated. Again, the medical team ignored the protocol.  Here's a short video put together by the Military Times, which includes actual footage of the surgery where Dr. John Oh, a Korean immigrant who became a naturalized citizen and went to West Point, removed the live round with the help of volunteers and a member of the EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) team.  Moss has undergone Six operations but is doing well at home in Gainesville , GA. I think you'll find the video absolutely remarkable.
View Article  MoD officials have cancelled Christmas
SCROOGE MoD officials have cancelled Christmas for our brave troops by BANNING morale-boosting parties

Cracker flak ... troops partying last Christmas

Commanding officers at home and on the frontline have been ordered NOT to spend their festive allowance on turkey dinners or carol concerts

They get £30 a year per soldier to splash out on spirit-raising events "such as Junior Soldiers' Christmas Lunch", official guidance says.

But penny-pinching civil servants insist the cash must be spent on something else this year because of last month's crippling defence cuts

The Ministry of Defence edict - leaked to The Sun - was written by Peter Whitehead, deputy head of the MoD's Financial Management Policy and Development.

It reads: "It is improper to spend taxpayers' funds on Christmas trees, decorations, carol concerts or parties.

"Team-building or unit cohesiveness events during Christmas would be viewed by taxpayers as partying at their expense and must be avoided."

It adds: "As always, we want to ensure that the Department does all it can to avoid any adverse Parliamentary or media attention on this topic."

Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army CO, last night branded the decision "cowardice".

He said: "At the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen, centuries of tradition have been swept away for tommies and their officers.

"It is a nasty bit of penny-pinching - narrow-minded cowardice from people who would never face the dangers that our fighting men and women have to. My stomach is churning."

The ban is all the more shameful because the MoD has rung up a £38billion debt through its own incompetence

More than 17,000 military jobs were axed in last month's review in the toughest defence cuts in two decades.

Ships, aircraft carriers, tanks and the entire Harrier jump jet fleet were also put on the scrapheap.

MoD officials last night insisted that special Christmas dinners will still be laid on out of MoD funds for all troops serving in the Afghan badlands.

A ministry spokesman added: "The restriction placed on public funds is even more necessary this year given the current financial situation."

Original Link


View Article  The "Forgotten Fourteen"
The "Forgotten Fourteen"

Vigil ... Kier Hardie at new memorial in Forres
Day thirteen

Vigil ... Kier Hardie at new memorial in Forres

FORMER Marine Keir Hardie is staging a one-man demo at a war memorial in a bid to save RAF Lossiemouth

Keir, 58, has so far braved 13 days of rain and snow to stand in protest against defence cuts which have already doomed the nearby RAF Kinloss base.

He launched his vigil at the new plinth in Forres, dedicated to the 14 Kinloss airmen who were killed in the 2006 Nimrod crash over Afghanistan. Last night he said: "Somebody has to stand up somewhere."

Each day of his two-week protest - which ends today - is designed to honour one of the victims of the jet disaster.

Dad-of-one Keir described the Government's decision to axe Kinloss and now threaten Lossiemouth as "madness". He added: "It insults the men and their families."

THE Scottish Sun's Keep The RAF In Moray window stickers are available in Lossiemouth, Elgin and Forres.

You can join our campaign by downloading a special RAF poster

Click here to print our poster

Original link for above story


Day Fourteen

continued`....... The "Forgotten Fourteen" the story.......


Day One

After the Forres Rememberance Day Parade on Sunday, when the troops and crowds had left, I stood by the new memorial for an hour. I have my own protest placard. It is A4.

It says;
David cameron`s Forgotten Fourteen. The Defence Review is Wrong; Tactically, Economically, Morally.  Save RAF Kinloss & RAF Lossiemouth.
 
I also got to speak with some of the families of the 14. It was heartbreaking beyond belief. I am an ex Royal Marine, I dont mind the cold.  I`m pushing 60 but am able to give several hours each day until the 25th of November. I`m doing several hours per day for 14 days. This is a day each for the fourteen.



I only live a few hundred yards away and, although I work part time for Ark Housing as a Support Worker, I am glad to give my time to be part of the necessary fight. I will carry on doing a few hours on my todd each day. I am using a small A4 placard so that people have to come close to read it and then they can be aware of the importance of the memorial. If RAF Kinloss was so important 4 years ago to give the Nimrods and the men who died how can it now be just an unnecessary expense and thus be closed.?


It is an insult to fourteen dead servicemen. And, of course, to those who still serve.
Keep your powder dry. Keir Hunter Hardie RM Rtd.

*******

p.s. my protest is a silent protest because if I start ranting at people I`ll lose it, probably start swearing and I dont want to demean the dignity of the memorial. I would appreciate any support, whether here or directly to the MOD.......

I am writing to ask if any of your reader`s know what will become of the commemerative stain glass church window in the Church at RAF Kinloss and how will relatives be able to retain the connection with their bereaved ones if the station is closed?
  
  I would also like to quote the following;
 
1944. The Under Secretary of State for Air, The Right Hon Harold Balfour MP said
 
"Hats off to Coastal Command who, day and night, whatever the weather, fly the oceans on the allotted duties....Theirs is the physically arduous and equally hazardous job of flying far out in the front Line..."
 
2010. The deputy Prime Minister,Nick Clegg. MP said
 
"Were not going to abandon the families and communities which are dependent for their jobs and their livlihood on those bases."
 
2010. The prime Minister, Rt Hon David cameron MP said
 
"RAF Kinloss would no longer be required."
 
2010. Keir Hardie, RM Rtd says
 
     The Prime Minister has taken the Great out of Britain and the United out of Kingdom. He has insulted the servicemen of Moray who died in WW2, The 2 who died in 1995. The 7 who died in 1995. The 14 who died in 2006. My personal thanks and sympathies go to all of you families who have given so much. I understand your hurt at the contemptuous manner in which you have been treated. I also respect and admire your quiet strength and determination. We are all proud of you.

*******

Friday went well. I was there till half 3. Spoke to many people. A young couple with a sprog appeared. She had brought me a coffee to keep me warm. They had just moved up to Kinloss and bought a house.. he`s in the RAF . now they dont know what their future will be. So,  I`m happy to be here.

My last day is next saturday (27th) and, by happy co-incidence - it is when the memorial is being Dedicated. One of the widows, who was a prime mover of the fund to get the memorial came for a chat. She has asked me to attend the Dedication. Off soon to do todays stint. then only 7 days to go. Roll on summer.

Regards Keir.

View Article  Save the Gurkha Regiment Campaign

Save the Gurkha Regiment Campaign

The campaign continues to grow but we still need so many more to back the issue.  We are using the Internet well, but it is critical that the campaign gets your help to get new followers too. So please spread the campaign website address to all your friends, colleagues and family and get them to complete the on-line form at the website:  www.savethegurkhas.co.uk

The Campaign is on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. And, if you have an account with the key Social Networks, please link, follow and comment on the campaign from your own accounts. These additional connections will help drive your followers to support the Campaign.

Please note though, only 1 signature per person on the on-line petition. You can also download a petition form to get hand written signatures at your office, business, shop, school and anywhere suitable and where those supporters without Internet access can support the campaign too. The form can be downloaded from the website www.savethegurkhas.co.uk.


Here are the campaign connection details to send to all your contacts, friends, family, colleagues.

  1. Petition Website:  www.savethegurkhas.co.uk  to lodge support on-line
  2. Join the Facebook Group called: Campaign to Save the Brigade of Gurkhas from being axed  and also -Follow the profile- Peter D Carroll
  3. Follow the Campaign on Twitter. The Twitter profile is called: savethegurkhas
  4. Visit YouTube videos of Peter Carroll being Interviewed by BBC and SKY: http://www.youtube.com/user/GurkhasCampaign
  5. LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=3376053  -Save the Gurkha Regiment Campaign-
  6. Email Contact: savethegurkhas@whynotcampaign.co.uk 
View Article  Soldiers' Pensions v Killed in Action
Soldiers' Pensions - Killed in Action

Hi all. PLEASE can you all sign this petition for soldiers pensions on the link below and pass on to all of your friends and families. For those of you who don't know Sgt Matty Telford was killed 3rd Nov 2009 by a rogue Afghan Policeman. Now you will all remember him from the news as 'Sergeant' Matty Telford but the army give his children his pension at corporal rate because he was sergeant for less than a year. The unfairness of this is that he was promoted so he could do this job in Afghan and had he not been promoted he would have been doing a different job and may have been with us today. After this petition was started it came to light that this is happening to a lot of our brave heroes families.


View Article  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor; Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggarman, Thief !
For all the words spoken by Members of Parliament, for all the flying visits to Afghanistan, especially pre-election ( even though proxy voting for troops deployed could not be organised), for all the crocodile tears ......... this is an example of where you, as service personnel, actually stand in their estimation.

Click Here

Contrast this with how many of these parasites were packed in to the Commons during the debates on their expenses and the abusing of the new expenses regulatory body.
I wonder where all the MPs appeared from at the division bell to achieve those voting figures.



View Article  Scottish WWII piper Bill Millin dies in Devon hospital
Scottish WWII piper Bill Millin dies in Devon hospital



The piper continued to play as enemy fire killed comrades coming ashore

"I didn't notice I was being shot at"

A Scottish bagpiper who played men into battle during World War II has died in Devon.

Bill Millin, who was 88, played his comrades ashore on Sword Beach during the D-Day Normandy landings.

The Glaswegian commando's actions were later immortalised in the film, "The Longest Day".

Mr Millin, who lived at a nursing home in Dawlish since suffering a major stroke seven years ago, died in Torbay Hospital.

A statement released by his family said: "This morning following a short illness piper Bill Millin, a great Scottish hero, passed peacefully away in Torbay hospital."

Mr Millin was serving with 1st Commando Brigade when he landed in France on 6 June, 1944.

His commanding officer, Lord Lovat, asked him to ignore instructions banning the playing of bagpipes in battle and requested he play to rally his comrades.

Iconic part;

Despite being unarmed, Mr Millin marched up and down the shore at Sword Beach in his kilt piping "Highland Laddie".

He continued to play as his friends fell around him and later moved inland to pipe the troops to Pegasus Bridge.

His bagpipes, which were silenced four days later by a piece of shrapnel, were handed over to the National War Museum of Scotland in 2001, along with his kilt, commando beret and knife.

In 2006 when a song was written in his honour by Devon folk singer Sheelagh Allen, Mr Millin told BBC: "I enjoyed playing the pipes, but I didn't notice I was being shot at.

"When you're young you do things you wouldn't dream of doing when you're older."

For the past 66 years, Mr Millin returned to France on numerous occasions to pay his respects to his fallen comrades.

His family said he would always be remembered as an iconic part of all those who gave so much to free Europe from tyranny.

Mr Millin's funeral will be held privately, but a service of remembrance will be held at a later date.

Related Link; July 14th 1922 - August 18th 2010

Related stories

View Article  Forever Young A song for Wootton Bassett
Forever Young A song for Wootton Bassett

Asking friends to watch Forever Young A song for Wootton Bassett is an important way to raise awareness and recruit more people to National Airplay for Forever Young: A song for Wootton Bassett so keep up the great work and invite more friends to watch!



"Click Here to Support the Original Link"


Originally Performed by: Peter, Paul & Mary.

 

Lyric:

 

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay forever young.

Chorus:
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you.

May you always be courageous
Stand up right and be as strong
And may you stay forever young.

(chorus x2)

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.

May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young.

(chorus x2)

May you grow up righteous and true,
See the light surrounding you
May you grow up righteous and true,
See the light surrounding you
May you ...(repeating) with (chorus)


View Article  Shrinking The USMC

Shrinking The USMC

August 15, 2010: The U.S. Marine Corps is again threatened, this time with a sharp reduction in its size. In response, marine commanders say they would prefer to be a smaller force, one that concentrates on its main mission; amphibious operations. The marines were unhappy with the way they have been used as an army auxiliary over the past decade. The marines consider themselves specialists, while the army are generalists (and, for example, carried out more amphibious operations than the marines did during World War II). But by law (which specifies the minimum size of the Corps, a law that could be changed) and determination (of generations of marines), the marines have come to comprise a quarter of America's ground combat forces. That's active duty, when you could the much larger army reserve force, the marines are 18 percent of ground combat forces. The marines never wanted to be just another part of American ground combat forces.

The marines are also concerned with their relationship with the U.S. Navy, which has now formed another ground combat force. To understand how this came about, you have to understand the relationship between the navy and the marines. The marines are not part of the navy, as they are often described. Both the navy and marines are part of the Department of the Navy. The Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force each have only one component.

Over the years, the marines have acquired more and more autonomy from the navy. When the U.S. Marine Corps was created, over two centuries ago, marines were sailors trained and equipped to fight as infantry, and they were very much part of the navy, and part of ship crews. This changed radically in the late 19th century, when all-metal steam ships replaced wooden sailing ships. The new "iron ships" really didn't need marines, and there were proposals to eliminate them. In response, the American marines got organized and made themselves useful in other ways. For example, the marines performed very well as "State Department Troops" in Latin America for half a century (late 19th century to just before World War II), where American troops were frequently used to deal with civil disorder abroad, and nation building. During World War I (1914-18), they provided a brigade for ground combat in Europe, where they demonstrated exceptional combat skills.

During the 1930s, as World War II approached, the U.S. Marine Corps really ran with the ball when the navy realized they would have to use amphibious assaults to take heavily fortified Japanese islands in any future war. Thus, once the U.S. entered World War II, the marines formed their first division size units, and ended the war with six divisions, organized into two corps.

The Marine Corps was no longer just a minor part of the navy, but on its way to being a fourth service. Over the next half century, it basically achieved that goal. But in doing that, the navy lost control of its ground troops. Navy amphibious ships still went to sea, with battalions of marines on board. But because the marines are mainly an infantry force, and the war on terror is basically an infantry scale battle, the marines spent a lot more time working alongside the U.S. Army.

Thus, over the last five years, the new U.S. Navy has built a new ground combat force, staffed by 40,000 sailors. This is NECC (Navy Expeditionary Combat Command), which is capable of operating along the coast and up rivers, as well as further inland. NECC units have served in Iraq, and are ready to deploy anywhere else they are needed. The 1,200 sailors in the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams are particularly sought after, because of increased use of roadside bombs and booby traps by the enemy. NECC has also organized three Riverine Squadrons, and these served in Iraq. NECC basically consists of most of the combat support units the navy has traditionally put ashore, plus some coastal and river patrol units that have usually only been organized in wartime.

This new navy organization, and the strategy goes with it, still comes as a surprise to many people, especially many of those in Congress who were asked to pay for it. It came as a surprise to many NECC sailors as well. The navy even called on the marines to provide infantry instructors for the few thousand sailors assigned to riverine (armed patrol boat) units. The navy already had infantry training courses for Seabees (naval construction personnel) and members of EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams. Now it's combining all that in the new Expeditionary Combat Skills (ECS) course, which will be conducted at a base in Mississippi.

With the marines appropriated by the army for land combat, the navy still wanted and needed land forces. So the navy has created NECC. The navy still considers the marines its primary "infantry force", but the NECC will contain sailors trained and equipped for land operations the navy believes it should be involved in. Some of these are still on the water, like "riverine operations" (small gunboats and troop carriers to control rivers and coastal waters against irregulars), and "naval infantry" to defend navy land bases in hostile territory.

The U.S. Marine Corps has mixed feelings about NECC, for the marines have long been the navy's ground combat troops. The navy says that the USMC mission will remain. Thus the marines want to shrink so they become small enough to handle anticipated navy amphibious operations, and not large enough to have troops available for large scale support of army operations.

In effect, the American marines want to be more like the British marines. That's interesting, because British marines are called Royal Marine Commandos, and are quite different. Britain, which invented the modern concept of the commando, disbanded it's ten army commando's (as the battalion size commando units were called) at the end of World War II. The Royal Marines, however, saw the commando concepts as a welcome addition to their own amphibious doctrine and retained three of their nine Royal Marine Commandos. Since World War II, the Royal Marines have maintained at least three commando battalions (called commandos, instead of battalions.) Artillery and engineer units are supplied by the army.

Like the U.S. Marines, the Royal Marines realized that assault from the sea was always a commando like operation, requiring special training, bold leadership and an aggressive spirit. The Royal Marines, like their American counterparts, continued to innovate. In 1956, it was a Royal Marine Commando that launched the first helicopter assault from ships against a land target (during the invasion of Egypt). The Royal Marine Commandos were used extensively to keep the peace in Ireland during the 1970s and 80s. In 1982, it was two Royal Marine Commandos and one parachute battalion that did most of the fighting to retake the Falkland Islands from Argentina. The Royal Marines have performed peacekeeping duty in the Balkans and Africa, and served as an amphibious fast reaction force.

While the U.S. Marines made a name for themselves with multi-division amphibious operations in the Pacific during World War II, the Royal Marines stuck with the commando type operations that characterize what marines spend most of the time doing between major wars. Remember, the last large scale amphibious operation took place sixty years ago (Inchon, Korea in 1950). Since then, the typical marine mission has been a quick assault using a small (usually battalion size) force.

In anticipation of this, the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) was created over the last few years. In that time, it has sent some of its 2,400 personnel on over thirty deployments (in South America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia). MARSOC is organized into a headquarters, a two battalion Special Operations Regiment, a Foreign Military Training Unit, and a Marine Special Operations Support Group. There are 3-4 Special Operations companies in each battalion. The marines basically lost two of their four Force Recon companies (one of them a reserve unit) in order to build MARSOC. Meanwhile, more troops have been added to division level reconnaissance units, to take up some of that slack. The Special Operations companies (with about 120 personnel each) can provide Force Recon capabilities to marine units they are attached to.  The two Special Operations Battalions provide a combination of services roughly equal to what the U.S. Army Special Forces and Rangers do, as well as some of the functions of the Force Recon units. Eventually, there are to be nine companies in the two Special Operations Battalion.

All the other services, except the marines, contributed to the formation of SOCOM (Special Operations Command) in the late 1980s. The marines finally got around to working with SOCOM in 2005, when it was agreed that they would create a marine special operations command (MARSOC). The Marine Corps had long resisted such a step, largely because of its belief that marines are inherently superior warriors, capable of highly specialized missions. This attitude began to change during the fighting in Afghanistan, when marines were assigned to support SOCOM troops there.

 As a result of that experience, marines were attached to SOCOM for liaison and observation purposes. In 2004, the marines organized a company sized unit of commandos, "Detachment One", using volunteers from their Force Recon troops, the closest thing the marines had to commandos. Detachment One was sent to Iraq, where it's performance convinced SOCOM that marines could operate at the SOCOM level.

The marines see their future as a smaller (by a up to a third, or more), even more elite, force, and better equipped force. The marines want to get back to sea, and the reduction in force (RIF) can be done without losing a lot of the valuable combat experience the marines have gained in the last nine years. Recruiting will be reduced for a few years, and some marines can transfer to the navy (in jobs that both sailors and marines handle), especially the NECC force. Marines have long moved over to the army, and the army would be glad to get an infusion of combat experienced marines, especially NCOs and officers. The marines may also expand their reserve force, and marines who decide to get out, can simply move over to the reserves.

The marines who remain with the Corps will probably continue the more extensive training marines have been getting for several decades now. This makes the marines an even more elite force, which is what many marines are fine with.
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htamph/articles/20100815.aspx

Foxnwolf comments;

Why does the UK & US governments want to "shaft" their Marine Corp ???

View Article  Troops returning from Helmand pay for own flights

Troops returning from Helmand pay for own flights

British troops returning from Afghanistan are paying for commercial flights back to the UK because the RAF's ageing transport aircraft keep breaking down
Fresh wave of British soldiers arrive in Afghanistan

Delays to "rest and recuperation" (R and R) flights are now almost routine because of the operational demands being imposed on the TriStar jets, former passenger airliners bought by the RAF in the early 1980s.

Some soldiers and marines have lost up to a quarter of their break as a result of flight disruption and troops are now warned not to book holidays during their time off from the front line, because of the chance of delays to their journey home.

Most flights on the "air bridge", which links Afghanistan to the UK, stop at Cyprus to refuel, and increasing numbers of troops are now opting to pay for commercial flights home from there, rather than take their chances on the TriStars.

Defences sources claim that at least 20 to 30 per cent of flights returning from Afghanistan are delayed at some stage during the journey due to mechanical failure.

In June, more than 200 soldiers returning to Britain on R and R were delayed in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan for several days after a military flight broke down at RAF Akrotiri, the main British base in Cyprus.

The delay also resulted in crucial military personnel, such as bomb disposal experts and medical teams, being stranded in the UK until another aircraft could be found to take them to Afghanistan.

After the R and R flight left Kandahar three days later, dozens of soldiers opted to buy easyJet flights back to the UK when the aircraft refuelled at Cyprus rather than risk further delays.

At the same time, hundreds of troops flying out to Kandahar were forced to spend four nights in transit accommodation in the British base in Cyprus, even though it had been contaminated with sewage following a flood.

Troops are only entitled to 14 days R and R during a six-month tour and no allowance is made for lost days caused by problems with the TriStar fleet.

The Ministry of Defence maintains that there is no reason why any serviceman should have to pay for flights home but it accepts that there have been problems with the RAF aircraft.

During periods of peak travel, such as the change over of troops at the end of tour – known as the relief in place (RIP) – the RAF charters civilian flights to cope with the extra number of passengers.

One RAF source said: "There are only three dedicated RAF TriStars which carry passengers. They are knackered. The engines are airworthy but they are constantly breaking down. The cabins haven't had an upgrade for 25-years – it's a disgrace.

"The air bridge is often pushed to breaking point during the RIP when the RAF can barely cope. You can't blame the soldiers for buying their own flights – most have just lost confidence in the RAF. Who wants to spend their R and R sitting in an airport lounge in Cyprus?"

The RAF TriStar fleet is composed of nine aircraft bought second-hand from the Pan Am and British Airways in the 1980s. Six of the aircraft are used for in-flight refuelling but can also carry passengers.

The role of the remaining three aircraft in the fleet is passenger transport and each of these aircraft can carry up to 266 personnel.

Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP for Newark and a former infantry commander, said: "R and R is absolutely precious to soldiers on operations. Anything which interferes with it will be a major blow to morale, not just for the troops but also for their families. The problem with RAF transport flights has gone on for too long."

The House of Commons Defence Select Committee has previously warned of the morale problems caused by troops returning from operations in Afghanistan. In a report in 2007, James Arbuthnot, chairman of the committee, said: "The UK needs to be able to transport troops, equipment and stores to trouble spots around the globe quickly.

"New transport aircraft, and tanker aircraft which can also carry service personnel, are expected to enter service early in the next decade, but as is often the case with the MoD, it is 'jam tomorrow, but never jam today'. It is not enough to give our troops the best training and the best equipment, if we cannot transport them to where they are needed and support them once deployed."

A spokesman for the MoD said: "TriStar is a hard working aircraft, operating in tough environments which, unfortunately, can sometimes lead to unavoidable delays. Acting upon the concerns of personnel who have experienced problems, the incoming Government has recently made significant changes to ensure they do not lose out on R and R as a result of disruptions to the airbridge.

"We are acutely aware of the inconvenience that this can cause to personnel and their families, as a result those affected are granted additional Post Operational Tour leave on a day for day basis."

Foxnwolf comments;

This is absolutely scandalous, I hear that Easyjet is offering special rates to fly troops on RNR. They and others ought to be offering FREE FLIGHTS not profiteering in any way at all. Come on all you other airlines, chip in and help out.

As far as the MOD is concerned, they as usual should hang their heads in shame.


View Article  Britain - a world power ?
Britain - a world power ?
Would this be tolerated by the U.S., Canada, Australia - or indeed, any country which has contributed troops to the operations in Afghanistan ?

Click Here

I think not. Perhaps it is time we re-evaluated our place in the grand scheme of things and concentrated on "fixing" the country once and for all.
View Article  With Tony Blair ......
With Tony Blair - as usual - it is hard to obtain even a kernel of truth or even a straightforward statement with anything he says or does.
Because of ALL the examples of his mendacity over the years since he became a politician and particularly when he became Leader of New Labour and Prime Minister, you have to view every action and statement as "suspect" until proven otherwise.
My opinions of Blair ( and his fellow travellers such as Campbell, Blunkett, Reid, Mandelson et al) cannot be published even on the adult section of this site but are so poor that even if they were paraded through Baghdad in chains by "the bad guys" live on Al Jazeera, it wouldn't cause me to lose any sleep.
He is about as straight as a dog's hind leg in my opinion. His future should be firmly in the U.S. as they seem to like him so much. Ah, the U.S. . Politically speaking, a country led (a bit like U.K.) by so many wankers and yet they don't have a word for "wanker".
So what is the truth behind this ? This bare-faced attempt to ingratiate himself with his fellow-countrymen - is it a way to try to atone for his actions and the deaths and injuries of so many caused by those same actions ? I doubt it, given his performance at the Inquiry when he said he had "no regrets".

Click Here

Being a cynic ( and loathing the creature and all he stands for) I can only assume that it is a sales pitch because his little chum Mandelson stole his thunder  ......... and that way, any money contributed from the book sales is paid by the mugs who buy the book and not himself.

There's also a link from this article to another one asking where his money goes - considering he was so profligate with tax revenues, you would think that he would be more open. Mind you, he does have Cruella de Ville's spending habits and misplaced self-worth to deal with.
View Article  Royal Marines future
Royal Marines future

You may have either seen or heard of the discussions in the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and UK press concerning a likely  UK Army initiated suggestion for UK defence budget cuts, which would involve disbanding the Royal Marines in its current and 300+ year old traditional form as part of the Royal Navy, and making the Royal Marines be made part of the UK Army; as part of a special warfare element comprising the UK parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines.
 
When this sort of loose and very dangerous talk is going around MOD things tend to stick unless more informed opinion and facts are brought into play.  In that regard, I thought the Commandant General Royal Marines recent speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London should get wide distribution as it so eloquently and succinctly expresses the extreme value UK defence gets from the Royal Marines, and has done throughout the ages.  Most grateful if you could pass this on widely through USMC circles as a cry for help from one Marine to another.

Letter from CGRM; 7th July 2010

“WHAT LESSONS FROM TODAY'S OPERATIONS ARE

SHAPING CAPABILITY IN THE FUTURE?"


Mark Twain described history as ‘a huge Mississippi of falsehood’ - nevertheless I reflect on the fact that:

 

Yesterday marked the 22nd anniversary (6th july 1088) of the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion, to which the Royal Navy was amongst the first to respond, in the guise of HMS PHOEBE and BLACKWATER

 

Today, in 1932, marked the nadir of the Dow Jones Index – during the maelstrom of the Great Depression

 

We currently grapple with the consequences of the sinking of the DEEP WATER HORIZON - together with a global recession whose full implications are yet to be realised - not least for an island nation state so dependent on international trade

 

All of which suggests that there perhaps really is ‘nothing new under the sun, only history you didn’t know about’ – something to reflect upon when envisaging radical change to time proven capabilities in James Bergeron’s ‘Transitional Age’, where the new rules are poorly understood

 

Today also happens to be the anniversary of a maritime culinary revolution – in 1862, the ‘sea trials’ began of dried potatoes - brackets sliced - and dried meat -  brackets – ground – so eat your heart out Jamie Oliver - the spirit of innovation in the Fleet leaves you astern by a century and a half.  It’s not just the Army which marches on its stomach!

 

[Slide – Significance of Littoral]

Analysis presented in the Future Character of Conflict work coincident with the Defence Green Paper as well as the Foreign Secretary’s remarks, dissected yesterday by Christopher Meyer, indicates that an effective player in the complex; congested, contested cluttered, constrained and connected security environment of the future - must be able to influence through global reach; create time and space for political engagement, and offer scalable capability – from diplomatic to kinetic, to enable and to preserve the maximum range of strategic choices, for as long as possible.


The Secretary of State reaffirmed, here, on the 14th June, that the primary mission of the Armed Forces is the application of lethal force.


But Littoral Manoeuvre – a concept which encompasses Amphibious and Maritime Strike Operations -  is distinguished by its rheostatic nature.  It is scaleable, flexible and agile – even chameleon in character – it can be employed as a precise and responsive instrument to support our Foreign and Security policy. 


Fundamentally it is about manoeuvre not attrition nimbleness not mass adaptability not fixity discrimination not prescription It offers presence. 


The ability to poise; to influence; to apply ‘force on mind’ through a judiciously calibrated posture – without occupation; to deter and coerce without commitment.  It can PREVENT in the widest sense, whether by direct involvement; by facilitating the business of Other Government Departments, or as a visible, powerful symbol of UK interest.


And, if needs be, it can, as a brigade Theatre Entry Force … smash down the door…albeit elegantly, and mindful of the implications of Feng Shui!


The utility of this instrument is writ large through the 29 deployments involving either specialist amphibious shipping and/or the Landing Force, over the past 10 years, applying a carefully calibrated blend of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ power across the globe.

 

72.5% of the Royal Marines is deployable and 64% will deploy or be at high readiness to deploy over the next 24 months; others are committed to protecting the nuclear deterrent, SFSG and the Band Service. 70 % of the RMR has deployed for 6 months on Operations since 2003.  

 

Acknowledging the current gaps arising from the HERRICK Main Effort, we retain the fundamental capabilities to deliver a Theatre Entry effect independent of Access, Basing and Overflight limitations.

 

That’s the ‘How’ – now the ‘What’

 

We have an Amphibious Fleet in being comprising of 1 x LPH, 2 x LPDs and 4 x LSDAs.  These assets have a mean age of only 7 years. They cost £1.3Bn to procure and they are projected to remain in service beyond 2032.

 

They can manoeuvre to outflank and strike, with strategic agility, over 300 nautical miles, in 24 hours.

 

The Landing Force - 3 Commando Brigade - has the capacity to land 2 Commando Groups ashore in one cycle of darkness, from over the horizon, up to sea state 4, with a first assault wave of 500 men hitting the target simultaneously in a four Company Group lift, two by surface and two by air.

 

I thought I might now use a couple of vignettes from last year, and the present, to demonstrate the utility of this construct - this joint amphibious team:

 

Starting with my deployable 2* Headquarters, which has been committed on operations for 51% of its 8 year life.

 

Based on staff of about 50, this HQ has now deployed as a Maritime, Land, National and Amphibious Component Command.

 

Last year it deployed to Iraq as the last UK divisional headquarters, to set the conditions for, and to orchestrate the TELIC drawdown and transfer of authority to the Iraqi Army – an undertaking which was distinguished by its focus on Iraqi needs and its cultural sensitivity.

 

3 Commando Brigade was engaged at the outset of the TELIC campaign – conducting an opposed amphibious helicopter assault onto the Al Faw peninsula ahead of the main attack.  So first in - and last out …

 

40 Commando deployed for 6 months, as an Amphibious Ready Group on Exercise TAURUS, developing contingent capability toward BSSFI .

 

It trained, exercised, and engaged with Malta, Turkey, Greece/Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, The Maldives, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Brunei.   Countries of significant importance to the UK – either by virtue of their priority in CT terms, as part of our wider regional engagement strategy and trading interests; or their utility to the UK for training purposes.

 

Partnering is maritime core business – it is braided throughout the Royal Navy’s 500 year history.

 

The ARG’s activities ranged from the largest scale UK/Saudi Arabia exercise since Operation GRANBY, in 1991, through to individual small boat training in Yemen, and joint multi-agency planning exercises in Bangladesh.


HMS ALBION delivered capacity building training to the Nigerian Navy enhancing the security operations in the Delta not least to the benefit of UK citizens working in the oil industry. Continuation training was delivered earlier this year by 1 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.

 

Throughout the entire period of TAURUS 40 Commando remained poised as the UK’s high readiness reaction force.

 

Meanwhile the bulk of the Brigade was engaged in Helmand. The rigours of this campaign are well understood.  It places immense demands on our people, their individual judgement, determination, resilience, courage and discrimination.  It requires every Marine to be his own general.   The Corps has been committed to HERRICKs 5, 7, 9, 12 (and soon, 14) … and in the case of the Armoured Support Group, many, and the SBS, all in between.

 

These have been ‘hard yards’, the butcher’s bill makes grim reading - pro rata, Lovat warriors have sustained over 2.5 times both the fatal casualties and the grievously wounded of our Khaki comrades.

 

But the ability to cope and flourish amidst complexity and uncertainty – together with familiarity with a joint and inter-agency approach, bred through training in the amphibious environment, has equipped us well for the demands of such messy wars amongst the people. This willingness to adjust, to endure and to seek understanding is a hallmark of our people, and a theme to which I will return.

 

This year, my 2* Staff, having re-roled as a Maritime Component Command through Ex COLD RESPONSE, now forms the core of the EUNAVFOR Operational Headquarters, running the Counter Piracy Operation off the coast of Somalia.  27 Nations collaborating with NATO and Coalition Maritime Forces to safeguard the Global Commons.  Twenty percent of the world’s trade passes through the Babel Mendeb …one LPG tanker every two days en route to Milford Haven – without which the lights of the United Kingdom would within days start to dim.

 

I have already touched upon 40 Commando and HERRICK 12 – they have been much in the press of late, holding the ring in Sangin.  I will not labour this except to say that they are seamlessly integrated into the US command structure.  There have been many references in this conference, to our relationship with the United States … Special or otherwise – and its importance.  But our relationship with the United States Marine Corps – the acme of American military excellence – is genuinely a special one:  Marine to Marine – even brother to brother, which transcends nationality. A link which I would suggest provides disproportionate leverage to the UK.

 

Meanwhile, as Peter [RAdm Peter Hudson RN, COMUKMARFOR] has said, a sizeable chunk of the Brigade Landing Force is embarked and participating in an Amphibious and Carrier Strike exercise – AURIGA – integrated again with US forces – building on Exercises TAURUS, COLD RESPONSE and foreshadowing COUGAR next year, to regenerate contingent capability

 

One Maritime Force, consisting of two Task Groups, separable but not separate, providing: Contingent, Expeditionary, Scaleable, Independent, Organic, Flexible, Balanced and potentially Forward Deployed forces.

 

So what of the future?

 

For this maritime force to integrate fully, our surface assault capabilities must have speed and reach, enhancing further our ability to manoeuvre and negate an adversary’s access denial (A2D2) capabilities.  The acquisition of the triad of genuine, fast Over the Horizon assault craft between 2016-19, is a priority.

 

30 Commando IX Group is unique, and is the modem for the 3 Commando Brigade’s precision effect.  It is key to its UNDERSTAND and DISCRIMINATE functions.  It comprises 20% of the UK’s Tactical SIGINT.  It has established excellent relationships with other Intelligence Agencies.  As a model of best practice, we should continue to invest in it and to evolve its ISTAR capabilities.

 

I have neglected so far to mention several of the Defence Lines of Development which underpin the future of the LitM capability. Training is one: Lympstone – the centre which provides all of this: training the airmen, sailors, marines and soldiers – the many, many soldiers, who lean into this Commando challenge. Lympstone, of the 12 training organisations scrutinised by OFSTED last year, was cited as the very clear exemplar in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.

 

In conclusion though and tying the past, present and future together, I would focus briefly on the people engaged in this activity. The moral component – the why we fight: the single most important factor.

 

The FCOC Paper states that ‘the future agile force favours the capability of people (physical and mental robustness, flexibility and a premium on training) over platform numbers.’

 

The activities I have described are undertaken by extraordinarily high-calibre people.

 

The Boys and girls are Bright:

 

Forty percent of Royal Marine recruits are educationally qualified to be officers. Over 10% have university degrees. Two currently in training have Masters Degrees and when I was running the Commando Wing fifteen years ago, two fully qualified vets joined up – we only discovered this when none of their respective troops visited the Sickbay because they were being ‘physicked’ with Horse Drench and Saddle Liniment.

 

I visited 539 Assault Squadron in Plymouth a month ago and talked to a group of coxswains who were about to conduct a long navigation exercise in Off Shore Raiding Craft to the Scilly Isles.  One Marine looked older than the rest and I asked him what his background was.  He explained that he had joined the Corps late and had, to use his word, ‘wasted’ some time working at the ‘Hadron Collider’ – smashing atoms - as a Professor of Sub-Atomic Particle Physics.  I told him not to smash my boat up!

 

Fifty percent of my officers finish in the top ten percent at the Joint Staff College. That said, we have the lowest ratio of Officers to other ranks in the 3 Services.

 

No, the Boys are Resilient, indeed I can reassure Julian [Professor Julian Lindley French, Eisenhower Professor of Defence Strategy, Royal Netherlands Defence Academy], that footballers aside, Tommy Atkins has not become soft - 3 weeks into 40 Commando’s recent tour Sergeant Lee Walters was caught up in an intense fire fight and was shot in the neck, the hand and the foot.  He refused to be listed, and sitting up in bed, informed his anxious wife of his misfortunes himself.  Incidentally, on HERRICK 5, Sgt Walters engaged in another battle, on a pitch-black night, fell down a well.  Which his Mates thought – 3,000 miles from the sea- was taking a commitment to amphibious operations a bit too far.

 

Three weeks ago Captain John White, OC Recce Troop, 40 Commando was blown up on patrol.  Barely conscious, having lost both his legs and one of his arms, he sought to reassure his anxious Marines as they loaded his stretcher onto the MEDEVAC flight.  “Don’t worry Boys, ‘gold’ in the Para Olympics Next!”

 

The Corps numbers 3% of the manpower of Defence, but constitutes 37% of the badged manpower of UK Special Forces.

 

And Finally – my Boys are Imaginative and Innovative - One example:

 

The week I became Commandant General, Recruit Phillip Cain, 6 weeks into training contracted Meningitis, despite repeated multiple amputations to stem the spread of the disease, he very quickly died.  His young and still inexperienced Troop were adamant that they would carry his coffin at his military funeral and were issued with Regimental Blues four months early to do so with exemplary precision and self-control. At the 7 month point, they duly completed their four Commando Tests and were, in time honoured tradition, given their green berets at the end of the 30 Mile March on Dartmoor.  Philip Cain’s father was there too and received a piece of precious green felt from Prince Michael of Kent … for in spirit and soul his boy was also a proud Commando Soldier, since his Mates, on their own initiative, had carried his ashes throughout. 

 

I would suggest that whatever the future may hold, precious DNA such as this, will be of value to Her Majesty’s Government.

 

In 1803, Napoleon remarked of the Corps: ‘How much might be done with a hundred thousand soldiers such as these’

 

Thank you
View Article  Airborne Agenda
Airborne Agenda



Parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines to be amalgamated !?

Royal Marines and Paras may face merger in controversial military shake-up

The Royal Marines could be merged with the Paras to form a new expeditionary brigade under a controversial military shake-up.

The ‘nuclear’ option of creating a new expeditionary brigade is being considered as military chiefs try to make budget cuts of up to 20 per cent.

Merging two such fiercely independent, illustrious and highly decorated fighting units is likely to cause resentment.

Working together: The Royal Marines could be merged with the Paras to form a new expeditionary brigade under a controversial military shake-up

Working together: The Royal Marines could be merged with the Paras to form a new expeditionary brigade under a controversial military shake-up

Other plans could see the Marines placed under the control of the Army for the first time in over 250 years.

The Ministry of Defence is considering wrenching operational command of the green-beret commando corps from the Royal Navy – a move previously panned as ‘unthinkable’.

Senior defence sources said the Army had ‘made a grab’ for operational responsibility of the Marines, while leaving the Navy in formal control and footing the bill.

One senior defence source said: ‘Are the plans a touch mad? Possibly. Are they being discussed? Absolutely.’

Mike Codner, director of military science at the Royal United Services Institute defence think-tank, warned that the shake-up in command could weaken the Marines, making them lose their ‘focus and ethos and levels of achievement’.

Some 1,000 Marines are currently serving in Sangin, Afghanistan. Since deploying in April, 14 have been killed.

Foxnwolf comment;

(is this the daily mail & others stirring the pot, trying to sell newspapers????)

Over to you "GD".......
View Article  An all too familiar report !
This is an all too familiar report - but please, do read it ............ then, as you scroll down, look for Private Pirthraj Thapa, 25 years old, of The Royal Gurkha Rifles. I know that he is no different to scores of young servicemen in this respect but I think this is worthy of a comment towards some people.

Click Here

Seen it ? For any of you who espouse the BNP or are a fellow traveller, have another look at Pirthraj Thapa. Have a look at his left leg. Oops, sorry. You can't anymore. So instead, look at the badge on the right leg of his shorts. Puts your sickening rants of patriotism and Nationalism into perspective, doesn't it ?
View Article  A large portion of Gordon Brown's toecap for you chaps - this is what he meant by giving the miitary all he asked for !
This sums up Brown's performance and his continuing farrago of lies regarding the respect that he has for the Armed Forces ........ NOT !

Click here - read it and weep

I wonder if the M.P.s of all parties and the ones who lost their seats are expected to adhere to the same time schedule ?

No - didn't think that these self serving pieces of sh*t would ...... or care.

Kipling rules - "Tommy this, and Tommy that,
                         And "Kick him out, the brute"
                         But he's the saviour of his country
                         When the guns begin to shoot"

Time to write to your M.P.s, lovely boys ......... because the majority of them "don't like it up 'em".
And if you voted Labour then hang your heads in shame !
View Article  Family fight to free son from Afghan prison

THE Prime Minister

Has pledged help for a North East man left to languish in a violent Afghan prison

DESPERATE FOR NEWS: From left, Veronica and Patrick Malone, with daughter Maria Blades

Former paratrooper Anthony Malone, from Billingham, Teesside, has served six months longer than his two-year jail sentence at Pul-i-Charkhi prison – dubbed the Afghan Alcatraz – after he was arrested on fraud charges in January 2008.

Yet the 37-year-old is being refused his freedom by the Afghan authorities until he has paid off alleged debts of $75,000 (£49,000).

Now Mr Malone’s plight has been raised in the House of Commons, after James Wharton, MP for Stockton South, told of Anthony’s situation at Prime Minister’s Question Time this week.

PM David Cameron said the Government is in discussions with the Afghan Attorney-General about why Anthony Malone continues to be detained. He asked: “Given that his imprisonment is potentially in breach of international law, will the Prime Minister put pressure on the Afghan Government to secure Mr Malone’s release?”

The Prime Minister replied: “My Honourable Friend is absolutely right to raise this case, which is worrying.

“I can assure him and Anthony Malone’s family and friends that the British embassy continues to raise this case with the Afghan authorities.

“The ambassador in Kabul has raised the case with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and we are in discussions at the moment with the Afghan Attorney-General about why Anthony Malone continues to be detained.”

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, had already written to the minister with responsibility for Afghanistan asking him to intervene personally in Anthony’s case after speaking to his family. He said he is still waiting for a reply.

Anthony is the only Briton amongst more than 1,000 prisoners in Pul-i-Charkhi, after fellow inmate and former British Army major Bill Shaw was acquitted of bribery charges by an Afghan court and released earlier this month.

The overcrowded, rat-infested prison houses captured Taliban fighters, jihadists, African drug smugglers, Russians accused of spying, Iranian criminals, Chinese people-traffickers and murderers.

Anthony is housed in the maximum security wing of the prison, separated from the other blocks by a huge steel and razor-wire fence. He has been threatened and had knives held to his throat during his time there. It is believed he had gone to Afghanistan with a former girlfriend to set up a security-and-logistics business.

The former pupil of St Michael’s School in Billingham, who served in Northern Ireland with the Paras in the 1980s, is reported to have said he had been “abandoned” by the British Embassy. Back home in Billingham, his 62-year-old parents Pat, a retired Army medic, and Veronica, a cleaner with Stockton Council, and sister Maria Blades, 36, are desperately trying to raise Anthony’s profile and secure his release.

Maria said the family were pleased with the Prime Minister’s response. “We know now he’s aware of Anthony’s plight,” she said. “We see it as the first step to what we want.”

She said the family were also amazed at the response to a Facebook site “releaseanthonymalone”, which has already seen three-and-a-half-thousand people sign up.

Embassy Contact(s)

Address:         
British Embassy, 15th Street Roundabout, Wazir Akbar Khan,
PO Box: 334
Kabul, Afghanistan 
Opening Hours:
Sunday - Thursday  08:30  to 16:30 local time
Telephone:     
(93)  (0) 700 102 000 (Switchboard)
Fax:       
(93)  (0) 700 102 250  (Management)
E-mail:
BritishEmbassy.Kabul@fco.gov.uk


View Article  Anthony Malone is on Facebook

Anthony Malone is on Facebook

Pass this Picture of Anthony to everyone you know

Embassy Contact(s)
Address:         
British Embassy, 15th Street Roundabout, Wazir Akbar Khan,
PO Box: 334
Kabul, Afghanistan 
Opening Hours:
Sunday - Thursday  08:30  to 16:30 local time
Telephone:     
(93)  (0) 700 102 000 (Switchboard)
Fax:       
(93)  (0) 700 102 250  (Management)
E-mail:
BritishEmbassy.Kabul@fco.gov.uk

View Article  Gurkha ordered back to UK after beheading dead Taliban fighter

A Gurkha soldier has been flown back to the UK after hacking the head off a dead Taliban commander with his ceremonial knife to prove the dead man’s identity

The private, from 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, was involved in a fierce firefight with insurgents in the Babaji area of central Helmand Province when the incident took place earlier this month.

His unit had been told that they were seeking a ‘high value target,’ a Taliban commander, and that they must prove they had killed the right man.

Deadly: A platoon of Gurkhas demonstrate their skill with their 
kukri knives in a training exercise, after it is revealed that one of 
their regiment chopped off the head of a Taliban fighter in order to 
find proof of ID
Deadly: A platoon of Gurkhas demonstrate their skill with their kukri knives in a training exercise, after it is revealed that one of their regiment chopped off the head of a Taliban fighter in order to find proof of ID

The Gurkhas had intended to remove the Taliban leader’s body from the battlefield for identification purposes.

But they came under heavy fire as their tried to do so. Military sources said that in the heat of battle, the Gurkha took out his curved kukri knife and beheaded the dead insurgent.

He is understood to have removed the man’s head from the area, leaving the rest of his body on the battlefield.

This is considered a gross insult to the Muslims of Afghanistan, who bury the entire body of their dead even if parts have to be retrieved.

British soldiers often return missing body parts once a battle has ended so the dead can be buried in one piece.

A source said: ‘Removing the head in this way was totally inappropriate.’

Army sources said that the soldier, who is in his early 20s, initially told investigators that he unsheathed his kukri – the symbolic weapon of the Gurkhas – after running out of ammunition.

But later the Taliban fighter was mutilated so his identity could be verified through DNA tests.

The source said: ‘The soldier has been removed from duty and flown home. There is no sense of glory involved here, more a sense of shame. He should not have done what he did.’

The incident, which is being investigated by senior commanders, is hugely embarrassing to the British Army, which is trying to build bridges with local Afghan communities who have spent decades under ­Taliban rule.

It comes just days after a rogue Afghan soldier murdered three British troops from the same Gurkha regiment.

If the Gurkha being investigated by the Army is found guilty of beheading the dead enemy soldier, he will have contravened the Geneva Conventions which dictate the rules of war. Soldiers are banned from demeaning their enemies.

The Gurkha now faces disciplinary action and a possible court martial. If found guilty, he could be jailed.

He is now confined to barracks at the Shorncliffe garrison, near Folkestone, Kent.

The incident happened as the Gurkha troop was advancing towards a hostile area before engaging the enemy in battle.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said: ‘In this case, it appears that the ­soldier was not acting maliciously, but his actions were clearly ill-judged.

‘The Gurkhas are a very fine regiment with a proud tradition of service in the British forces and have fought very bravely in Afghanistan.

'I have no doubt that this behaviour would be as strongly condemned by the other members of that regiment, as it would by all soldiers in the British forces.’

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘We are aware of an incident and have informed the Afghan authorities. An inves-t­igation is underway and it would not be appropriate to comment further until this is concluded.’

The Ministry also revealed yesterday that four British servicemen had been killed in Afghanistan in 24 hours.

An airman from the RAF Regiment died in a road accident near Camp Bastion in Helmand and a marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines was killed in an explosion in Sangin on Friday.

A Royal Dragoon Guard died in a blast in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province yesterday. The fourth serviceman also died in an explosion.

The British death toll in the Afghan campaign since 2001 is now 322.

Afghan troops trained by the British Army recently led a major operation into a Taliban stronghold.

It was one of the first operations organised by the Afghan National Army.

Regiment’s proud symbol of valour

The iconic kukri knife used by the Gurkhas can be a weapon or a tool. It is the traditional utility knife of the Nepalese people, but is mainly known as a symbolic weapon for Gurkha regiments all over the world.

The kukri signifies courage and valour on the battlefield and is sometimes worn by bridegrooms during their wedding ceremony.

The kukri’s heavy blade enables the user to inflict deep wounds and to cut muscle and bone with one stroke.

It can also be used in stealth operations to slash an enemy’s throat, killing him instantly and silently.

Further input from GongDonkey




View Article  Forces Pension Society eNewsletter 5 of 2010

FORCES PENSION SOCIETY

Fighting for the Forces and Their Families

E-NEWSLETTER No 5 of 2010

 

Dear Members 

AGM

Your AGM took place on 2 June in the Victory Services Club. Well attended by over 90 members and guests, it was a stimulating occasion. The Chairman's report to the Society, together with the full accounts for FY 09, is in our website members' area.

FPS Open Day

The first ever FPS Open Day took place in the National Liberal Club (near MOD Main Building) on Monday 7 June. We were accompanied by several of our affinity partners too. About 100 potential new members from MOD came to see us and several signed up on the spot. All in all it was a successful experiment and we will do it again next year, taking account of the useful lessons learnt.

House of Lords Defence Group

Another first. We briefed the HoL DG on Tuesday 15 June, accompanied by COBSEO and Veterans' Aid. About a dozen members of the group were present and we left a pack of information for them and for their colleagues who could not be there. It was an important occasion which helped us all raise our profiles with a very influential group.

Armed Forces Day

Recently the Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said: "As a nation, we should be flying the flag for our Armed Forces and recognising all the sacrifices they make to keep our country safe. These men and women deserve our support and I would urge people up and down the country to get involved with all the many Armed Forces Day events that are taking place this week. They stand up for us; we must stand up for them." Your Society had a stand at the splendid national event in Cardiff on Sat 26 June. This was a tremendous (and blisteringly hot) occasion and Cardiff did the Armed Forces proud. The Prince of Wales was amongst the many visitors to our stand and we explained to him what we did.

RPI / CPI

As you know, Armed Forces pensions used to increase in April by the headline RPI of the previous September, but it was announced in the budget that they will now rise by the CPI of the previous September. Currently the CPI is 1.4% lower than the RPI, and this difference is likely to increase as/when interest rates rise. Hence our future pension increases are likely to be lower than was once the case, although if they had risen by CPI and not RPI this year we would have done better. Yer win some, yer lose some.  

Norton Fitzwarren Remembers

A member tells us that Norton Manor Camp is the home of 40 Commando RM, currently deployed in Sangin. At the time of writing they had taken 5 fatalities since April (since increased). In All Saints' Church a peace candle is lit at every service, as well as in other churches around Taunton. With every Marine's repatriation, the tower flag is half masted and a candle-lit vigil is held attended by representatives of every military and civilian organisation in town plus families, relatives and friends of 40 Commando. A eulogy is read whilst "Thou whose almighty word" is sung by candlelight. The service is recorded by local ITV and BBC TV.

Lancashire Remembers

A member tells us that the village of Myerscough & Bilsborrow in North West Lancashire flies the appropriate Service ensign/flag at half-mast for 24 hours to observe any Service death. Sadly the pole is rarely bare. It is sited at the war memorial alongside the A6 so passers-by are aware of the sad news.

Drivers Remember

A member tells us that he saw a cortege from Wootton Bassett making its way towards Oxford. He pulled off the very busy road to pay his respects and wondered what the traffic going the other way would do. When they saw the approaching out-riders everyone stopped and all drivers got out of their vehicles. This was reciprocated by the cortege which slowed to a crawl whilst it passed those stopped.

309 Remembered

As I write, we have suffered the 309th tragic loss of life in Afghan'. To this sad figure must be added the many wounded and the even larger number of bereaved and affected next of kin and families throughout out land. We must always remember all of them.   

 Unique Nature of Military Service

We have distributed many 1000s of DL leaflets describing the unique nature of military service. The leaflet will soon be given to (inter alia) all parliamentarians in both Houses, and they are available for members who may like to distribute them too. The text is also on our website (click the link on our home page).

Independent Public Sector Pensions Commission

John Hutton has been appointed Chairman of the IPSPC which will produce an interim report in September 2010 and full report in time for the 2011 budget. He will include the Armed Forces Pension Scheme in his review. Existing accrued pension rights will be protected.

Falkland Islands 14/6/82 - Thanksgiving and Remembrance

The annual service took place at the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel on Sunday 13th June. It was a truly impressive, moving and uplifting occasion, held in a beautiful setting, and attended by over 600 veterans, relatives and friends.18 Elizabeth Crosses were presented including one to Sara Jones, one of our Vice Presidents. I very strongly commend a visit to the chapel at Pangbourne College to anybody with (or even without) connections to the Falkland War. It is always open. 

COBSEO on the March

COBSEO is seeking to recruit an office manager. Initially part time but potential to increase. Central London. £22K - £24K pro rata. This will be an exciting role as COBSEO is developing fast. Visit www.cobseo.org.uk or call Lt Col Mike Bray the Secretary on sec@cobseo.btconnect.com . Closing date Fri 30 July. Interviews late August.

KartForce - Karting for Injured Troops

KartForce has been set up by disabled ex-Servicemen, Dave Player (Royal Engineers) and Phil Armes (Royal Navy) to facilitate karting events with hand controls that have been designed by KartForce. These unique controls can be fitted to any kart and operated by one hand (left or right) or both hands, so team events can be organised for different units where injured troops compete on equal terms with serving and ex-serving personnel. The inaugural event to launch KartForce is 12th & 13th Aug at Whilton Mill Kart track near Daventry, and many other events are planned all over the country, including a possible international against injured troops from USA, Canada, France, Russia and Israel. See www.KartForce.org . Show support by joining the KartForce Facebook page.

Malta

A member advises that to renew your British passport in Malta you must forward the application, with relevant documents, to the British Consulate General in Paris (oui - dans La France), but if you get it right first time it only takes about 10 days.

Cyprus - Little Red Book

Further to my last, I am informed that the correct name for the Little Red Book is the Electoral Booklet and it is also required when voting in EU elections which expatriate residents are entitled to do.

Far East POW Remembrance Service

Sunday 15 Aug at 1300, at Christ the King Church. 78 Queens Drive, Childwall, Liverpool, L15 6YQ. Led by Rev'd John Williams (ex RN), followed by parade at 1400 and buffet at 1430 in Christ the King Parish Centre, Score Lane, Liverpool, L16 6AW. Tickets £10. Please purchase by July 25th by visiting www.nesa.org.uk.

Flying Boats

In 1942 or '43, French aviators from West Africa were trained on the Sunderland Flying Boat at RAF Pembroke Dock by No. 308 Flying Boat Training Unit commanded by Wg Cdr Derek Martin OBE (President No.210 (Flying Boat) Sqn Assoc). They were then given new aircraft to form a squadron which returned to French West Africa to escort convoys between South Africa and UK. If anyone knows what happened to them after they left UK, Derek would very much like to hear from you at 01753 682 706 or b.martin123@btinternet.com

Tax

Too many members to list have told us about the shambolic, inefficient and dysfunctional manner in which HMRC has mismanaged their tax affairs. You have been warned !! 

The Final Escape

Raise your glass for bomber pilot Jack Harrison, who has died aged 97, the last survivor of the Great Escape from Stalag Luft 3.  As a camp gardener, Jack helped dispose of dirt excavated from the escape tunnels. He was 98th of 200 inmates designated to escape on 24 Mar 1944, but only 76 got away before the breakout was detected, which was celebrated in the 1963 film 'The Great Escape' starring Steve McQueen. Only 3 reached safety. Hitler had 50 escapers murdered, and 23 others were returned to custody. God bless them all.

Raising Funds

Great work goes on by all COBSEO member charities all over UK; meanwhile a Society member has asked us to remind you that The Royal British Legion spends some £6M per month on welfare support and that there are some 9.5M people who are eligible to call on that support. These are big numbers but the need is great. Let us remember too that great band of regimental charities and Service associations, both general welfare and for specific need, all of which continue their own work so diligently all over the country too.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, Fourth

The Fourth Afghan War is now in its 9th year. When the initial estimate was drawn up did the allied military and political strategists pause to reflect on our previous 3 Afghan Wars (1839-42, 1878-80 & 1919); none of which ended in glorious clear-cut victory. The Defence Secretary informs us that "most Afghans live in the 13th Century", but were the Americans truly mindful of our imperial history before the start line was crossed. Had the then Defence Secretary read of our history (and the more recent Russian experience) when he made his fatuous comment that he hoped we could get out without a shot being fired? And now President Obama sacks his General. Santayana had a view on all this with his law of repetitive consequences.

 (Royal) Tournament

ABF The Soldiers' Charity is reviving the (Royal) Tournament at Earl's Court on Dec 4 and 5. It will largely be an Army event but a junior version of the RN Field Gun race will be there too. See www.britishmilitarytournament.com .

Vuvuzela

O praise thy footie team upon the loud vuvuzela: praise it upon the high sounding vuvuzela. It didn't do us any good but the World Cup has introduced a new word to the Anglo-Saxon lexicon and a new sound into our musical experience. Don't you just love it? You can cheer on your Morris Dance side right merrily this autumn to the dulcet baaarp of the plastic vamping horn.

Social Advance

Somalia leads the way again in social development. Islamic militants banned people watching the World Cup because ".you will not get any experience watching mad men jumping up and down". Was he talking about the England team? 

H4H - BZ

Many congratulations to Bryn and Emma Parry for being appointed OBE in the Birthday Honours list for creating and leading Help for Heroes. How many other husband and wife pairs have both received the same award at the same time for the same reason?

Caveat Emptor

Be careful what you buy in Italian markets. Someone was fined ?1,000 for unknowingly buying a fake handbag (buying it not selling it !!) in a street market in Jesolo.

SPVA

Members continue to recount unhappy exchanges with SPVA. We most certainly do not engage in SPVA-bashing but it is only fair to point out that not all the information you receive from SPVA may be wholly correct and you should always check with us too. For example a member says... I have just received a reply from SPVA in which they quote that the service they used in the forecast was incorrect..... You are quite welcome to highlight this in the next newsletter that they are not to be trusted at face value and individuals should check and challenge if necessary.. Many thanks for your help in this matter and please keep up the good work on the behalf of all members of the Society.

Sailors' Families Society

A new member of COBSEO. The Sailors Families Society, formed in 1821, provides assistance to children of seafarers throughout UK. They provide financial, practical and emotional support to families who are on means tested benefit from RN, MN and Fishing Fleet backgrounds. They support one parent families and those where one is too ill or disabled to work and the other acts as full time carer.  They also support grandparents bringing up grandchildren. Call 01482 342331 or email info@sailors-families.org.uk

National Botanic Garden of Wales

The NBGoW is 10 years old this year and is holding an Armed Services Day on Sunday 18 July to say 'thank you' to the Armed Forces and offering free entry to all Service personnel and families that day. See www.gardenofwales.org.uk.

Beating Retreat

Apologies for not reminding you of the Household Division Beating Retreat on 9/10 June. It was a wonderful occasion as you would expect and Ye Drumme Major did advertise by beate of drum those required for watch. If you despair of telling which guardsman is which by his buttons, try this (ye foote soldiers know this well so may stoppe here). Consider the map of UK. Start in England and count anticlockwise. Ones (Grenadier): twos (Coldstream): threes (Scots): fours (Irish): fives (Welsh); which is also their order of precedence so what could be simpler? You only need one hand and remember to go anticlockwise.

Another Female First

No military connection here but a truly heroic effort. On 3 June, 22 year old Eilidh Macdonald, a vet's daughter from Tadcaster, swam the Little Minch in 9 hours 33 minutes. The Little Minch is 15 miles of icy water with stronger currents than the English Channel, and no one had ever done it before. A world record. What a star.  

FPS Benefits

Are you maximising the benefits of your membership of the FPS? Check out our exclusive health insurance scheme, our overseas money transfer scheme, our travel insurance scheme, and all the other attractive benefits of your membership - all on our website. Let your mouse do the walking.  

On Yer Bike

Our members get about: one recently emailed thus: Thanks for the e-mail - just picked it up here in Almaty, Kazakhstan, having spent four years cycling across Europe (done), Asia (half way), Australia, the Americas, and Africa. Perhaps members might be interested in how I've put my pension to good use? - see www.acrosscontinents.org .

Brampton Area Meeting

Numbers still looking a bit thin for this meeting on Wed 28 July - please sign in with Beverley on 0207 5820469 if you are able to come along.

                                                                                                                                                                                              

Malcolm Farrow OBE FCMI

Captain Royal Navy

Assistant General Secretary

Forces Pension Society

www.forpen.co.uk
T: 020 7820 8225
F: 020 7820 7583



View Article  Violence Flares At Homecoming Parade
Violence Flares At Homecoming Parade


Muslim extremists have bombarded our soldiers with abuse at a homecoming parade — calling them 'Butchers' and 'Baby Killers'.

Violence erupted as more than 200 heroic members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment marched through a town centre after returning from Afghanistan to vile taunts and jibes.

A new group of fanatics — who call themselves Muslims Against the Crusades — branded our brave boys "the death squad" and chanted "go to hell".

Incredibly, the extremists were allowed to protest at the same time, and in the same street in Barking, Essex, as the soldiers' welcome home parade.

Trouble flared as they waved placards which read: "return of the butchers", "baby killers" and "what are you dying for?18k."

They chanted "wicked soldiers go to hell", "murderers, murderers" and "sharia for UK".

Riot police were forced to step in as they clashed with angry locals who draped themselves in England flags, belted out the national anthem and retaliated with chants of "scum" and "we pay your benefits".

Eggs, glass bottles and pork sausages were also thrown at the group of around 40 protesters.

The girlfriend of a brave Royal Anglian soldier who was killed in Afghanistan said the extremists' outrageous protest should have been banned.

Lance Corporal Scott Hardy, 26, from Chelmsford, Essex, was killed in an explosion near Musa Qala in March just two weeks before he was due to return home. He was one of five soldiers in the regiment to lose their lives.

His partner Charlene Byrne, 24, who works in a solicitors' office, was shocked to see the Muslim protesters at what should have been a heroes' welcome.

She said: "It's absolutely disgusting. I know this kind of thing has happened before but I don't understand how it has been allowed to happen again.

"They should have been banned from attending. They should never have been allowed to hijack this. If the Government knew what this group was planning they should have put a stop to it.

"It's terrible these extremists have got away with it. Obviously not everyone supports what's happening in Afghanistan, there are people who are very angry about it, but they shouldn't take it out on the soldiers."

She added: "The lads who go out to Afghanistan don't care about the politics, they care for each other and they are doing a very difficult job trying to help the people of their country.

"I feel so sorry for them for having to put up with this abuse. They were doing their jobs and deserved a real heroes' welcome.

"The Muslims Against Crusades are calling them cowardly but our lads are out there putting their lives at risk for their country. I don't think that's cowardly."

Head of the fanatics' group, Abu Assadullah, 20, said: "We are quite disgusted by the fact these murderers that raped our people are coming back and they are being honoured for doing something wrong.

"These people have been killing and raping and pillaging in Islamic countries and they should not be welcomed home. As Muslims, we wanted to make a stand."

He said: "The families of the soldiers are not the only ones with feelings. We also have feelings, our fellow Muslims are being butchered.

"Islam is not a violent religion but we will use violence if necessary to defend ourselves. Democracy is failing, that was clear as this year we had a hung parliament. Islam is the alternative.

"People in this country are very patriotic. They support Britain even if the country has done something wrong. We want to show that there is an alternative. Sharia law would provide an alternative, it would provide balance in the UK."

Disturbingly he added: "People say 'don't take it out on the soldiers, they are just doing their jobs'. But how it when Osama Bin Laden blows up a plane or a building he is a terrorist. It is not that he is just doing his job - this is a double standard. They are both killing."

The hour-long parade was delayed as the vile extremists clashed with members of the far-right English Defence League.

Moments after the soldiers passed tensions reached boiling point and they charged through a police barricade to exchange punches with the Muslim group.

Police piled into the mob to separate them. One man was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and led away as the police surrounded the extremists.

Assadullah claimed the officers were more "heavy handed" with his followers but onlookers were left stunned as police circled the fanatics protecting them from angry bystanders.

Dee McEvoy, 50, from Barking, stood in front of the protest group waving two union jack flags as the soldiers passed.

She said: "I'm here for the army and the British forces. The protesters are entitled to their opinion but they are taking it out on the wrong people. They should be taking it out on the Government. This is not the reception these boys and girls deserve."

In a video message on YouTube a Muslims Against the Crusades spokesman says the devastating 7/7 and 9/11 terrorist attacks were justified because of the Americans and British "occupying our lands, and going to rape, kill and murder".

Abu Amanah adds: "There is a battle taking place. What do you expect? When you throw a brick at somebody's house you should expect a brick thrown back at you.

"As long as you occupy our land and steal our resources and prevent us from implementing Islam we will stand up."

The extremists had earlier passed out leaflets featuring British soldiers along with a bloody puddle in the shape of a skull calling the troops "death squads". They called on Muslims to "rise up and condemn this sickening parade".

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Liam Smith wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May asking her to ban the protest fearing there would be violence.

But his pleas were ignored.

Emily Penson-Clark took the day off work to watch the homecoming parade with her young daughter and parents.

She said: "I think the protesters are filth. I'm here to support our troops. They put their lives on the line for us.

"Our boys are out there dying for us, there's no comparison between this lot and our soldiers. We are losing our sons in Afghanistan, I took the day off work today, that's how important this is. It is so important to show our troops what we think of them."

The soldiers marched proudly through the town centre undaunted by the sickening abuse, with fixed bayonets and accompanied by the Minden Band.

Colonel of the Regiment and current NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir John McColl, said: "The Vikings made considerable progress in Afghanistan of which they can be very proud; and as a result of their efforts, Helmand Province is a safer and more secure place.

"But it was not without the cost and they have lost five brave young men, with many more injured."

Foxnwolf comments;

Make your voice heard. This violence & intimidation has to stop now.......

Home Office enquiries

Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Home Secretary
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone number: 020 7035 4848

Telephone number for immigration enquiries: 0870 606 7766

Westminster

Rt Hon Theresa May MP
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 5206
Fax: 020 7219 1145
mayt@parliament.uk

Constituency

Maidenhead Conservative Association
2 Castle End Farm
Ruscombe
Berkshire
RG10 9XQ
Tel: 0118 934 5433 or 01628 604 961
Fax: 0118 934 5288

View Article  12 people killed and 25 wounded by cab driver in shooting spree in UK

12 people killed in shooting spree in UK


Cab driver; Derek Bird

A taxi driver has gone on a shotgun rampage, killing 12 people and wounding at least 25 before turning his weapon on himself.

Divorced father-of-two Derrick Bird, 52, shot several colleagues in Whitehaven in Cumbria, then drove his cab through the countryside of the Lake District blasting other victims apparently at random.

   

Following a frantic manhunt, police found his body 20 miles away in woods near the hamlet of Boot three-and-a-half hours later.

Cumbria Police said there were 30 separate crime scenes.

Witnesses spoke of their terror as Bird drove through Whitehaven with the shotgun hanging out of the window of his taxi.

Police said that, after leaving the town, the gunman travelled south along the coast, shooting people in Gosforth, Seascale and Egremont before turning inland and ending up in Boot. Officers later recovered two weapons.

Rod Davies, landlord of Gosforth Hall Inn, said the close-knit Cumbrian communities were shaken by the tragedies.

"There's a lot of very strong feeling of absolute shock. There's a lot of fear - a lot of people are expecting to hear names of people they know," he said.

Bird was said to be close to a fellow taxi driver he killed in Duke Street, Whitehaven, as he started his rampage at about 10.30am.

Glenda Pears, boss of L&G Taxis, said: "We just don't know what's happened. The lad that's been killed was friends with him. They used to stand together having a laugh on the rank."


View Article  Don't be tempted to raise your voice .........
Don't be tempted to raise your voice when talking to those nice men from the Taliban roadside assistance companies.
If you do, you may have to stand on the "naughty step" with extra homework because that nasty Head Teacher in Westminster might get angry with you.

Click Here
View Article  Marine Sergeant Hits Back
A Royal Marine fired for whacking a Taliban bomber with a welly boot said last night "This can't be justice."

Comment on the courts decision here;
(thanx to stephen prior for this info)


The Office of the Judge Advocate General
9th Floor
Thomas More Building
London WC2A 2LL
Telephone: 020 7218 8089
Fax: 020 7218 8094
jennie.pooley@justice.gsi.gov.uk

Sgt Mark Leader, 34 - who had 18 years' service - hit Mohammad Ekhlas, who he thought was trying to escape.

Ekhlas had been caught with a team of Taliban "digging in" a roadside bomb in Helmand province. He was later released by Afghan authorities.

Mark was convicted of assault and dismissed from the Forces in a court martial at Bulford Camp, Wilts, earlier this month.

He said: "I've lost my whole career - my life is in ruins - but the Taliban bomber who was caught laying IEDs to blow up our lads was let free."

Nearly 50,000 Facebook users are demanding justice for Mark.

Support this Petition as well, click here it all counts
View Article  Cherie Blair accused of 'profiting from plight of Gurkha veterans'
.......
Cherie Blair has been accused of making money from Gurkhas by Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen's Organisation president Padam Bahadur Gurung, right



Mr Gurung claims that Mr Shiner has now billed Gaeso over £147,000 for the rest.

He hit out after Defence Minister Kevan Jones accused groups like Gaeso of 'exploiting' Gurkhas by charging them £500 for needless advice before they fly to Britain.

Mr Gurung denounced this as a 'smear', claiming the MoD and a former legal adviser to the organisation, Gopal Siwakoti Chintan, had vilified the organisation and Joanna Lumley, who has links to Gaeso, to prevent it from continuing to fight for Gurkha rights.

He said: 'Gaeso has remained silent in face of severe and unsubstantiated criticism prompted mainly by the MoD and Siwakoti. We are now ready to expose these lies.

'The only time Gaeso raised money from its members was for the Gurkha pensions case.

'Siwakoti orchestrated an arrangement with Phil Shiner and Cherie Booth for the case, even though it was supposed to be funded under legal aid.

'Gurkhas were still required to pay Cherie Booth, Phil Shiner and Siwakoti's legal fees.

'Indeed, there is a letter from Phil Shiner which states that Gaeso were required to pay an outstanding £147,230.78.'

A spokesman for Cherie Booth at Matrix Chambers referred Mr Gurung's allegations to Mr Shiner.

Mr Shiner,  from Public Interest Lawyers which has pursued a number of high-profile cases against the MoD,  said: 'To imply that I have been involved in some kind of conspiracy with the MoD against Mr Gurung and Gaeso is ridiculous.'

He acknowledged that he had charged the organisation money, but explained: 'Although we did get legal aid funding, the ruling was that Gaeso should themselves make a part-contribution towards the cost.

'I continued working for Gaeso on other cases afterwards, and what I charged them related to those matters as well.

'Every single pound, every single penny, was accounted for.

'To bring this up now is an attempt by Mr Gurung to muddy the waters. I gather that he is facing some pretty serious allegations himself and he seems to be trying to deflect focus from that.'

Last month Defence Minister Kevan Jones ordered an inquiry amid claims that Gurkhas were being 'conned' into making the 'voluntary' £500 donation to Gaeso.

It came after MPs were told that Gurkhas hoping to move to Britain are being tricked out of their savings by 'unscrupulous' groups claiming they can help them settle here.

It has meant many former soldiers have ended up here facing poverty, homelessness and unemployment having spent their savings or borrowed money for flights and visas.

Miss Lumley spearheaded the campaign that saw the Nepalese soldiers who had served in the Army granted the right to live in Britain.

As a gesture of thanks, Gaeso took the actress on a victory tour of Nepal last year.

A MoD spokesman said: 'The MoD and Army are working closely with the Gurkha Welfare Trust in Nepal to ensure ex-Gurkhas make informed choices about coming to the UK.

'We have opened a Gurkha Settlement Office in Nepal which is offering ex-Gurkhas education about life in the UK and free help with visa applications.'

Foxnwolf comment;

This is turning out to be a bigger nest of Vipers than originally thought

View Article  After 44 years, remains of Aussie soldiers on way home
Two Australian soldiers, lost during a secret mission in Indonesian Borneo 44 years ago, are on their final journey home to be buried with full military honours.

In a ceremony conducted at Halim, Indonesia, the remains of Special Air Service Regiment Lieutenant Kenneth Hudson, 30, of Brisbane, and SASR Private Robert Moncrieff, 21, of Newcastle, were officially handed over to Australian authorities.

That ceremony was attended by families of Lieutenant Hudson and Private Moncrieff, Veterans Affairs Minister Alan Griffin, Special Operations Commander Major General Tim McOwan and former special forces soldiers.

Major General McOwan said the ceremony marked the beginning of Lieutenant Hudson and Private Moncrieff's final journey home.

"Today we bring home two SAS patrol members who rested in the soil of another land for 44 years," he said in a statement.

"The return of these men to Australia closes a chapter in the Special Air Service history.

"The SAS is a family and now two of our brothers are coming home. Their Regiment and patrol mates have never forgotten them and for 44 years they have been living with the pain of leaving their mates behind."

Lieutenant Hudson and Private Moncrieff were lost on March 21, 1965, when swept away as they and two other soldiers attempted to cross a flood-swollen river while on a covert mission inside Indonesian territory.

This was the time of "confrontation" when Indonesia's President Sukarno had threatened to obliterate the new Malaysian confederation.

Australian and Britain had despatched forces in response to Indonesian military incursions into Malaysian Sarawak.

Recently the bodies of the two soldiers were found by Indonesian villagers who helped a joint Australian-Indonesian team find where they had been buried.

Mr Griffin thanked the Indonesian Government and military for their assistance in recovering the remains.

"These two soldiers, who paid the ultimate price while serving our nation, are being returned to their country, their family and they will finally be laid to rest with full military honours," he said in a statement.

Mr Griffin said a RAAF C-130 Hercules would fly to RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia, where the remains would be received by family, friends, current and former serving members of the Special Air Service Regiment.

Private funerals will be held for the returned patrolmen in Perth and Brisbane.

View Article  Firm confirms Carling Cup soldier's payout review

An insurance firm has confirmed that it is reviewing a claim made by a wounded soldier who carried the Carling Cup onto the pitch at Wembley.

Abacus said it asked for "clarification on the medical situation" of Pte Dave Tatlock, of 2 Para, after the match.

His claim was already under review at the time but other "very significant" payments had been made, the firm said.

Pte Tatlock, of Manchester, was hit by shrapnel from a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan in July 2008.

The 20-year-old, from Gorton, took the trophy on to the pitch in February after extensive rehabilitation.

Solider 'angry'

He lost the use of his calves and has severe nerve damage. He has no use of his left foot, wears a splint to walk and can only move his right foot slightly.

Pte Tatlock took out £56-a-month private cover with Abacus before being deployed to Afghanistan, and said he was in line for a £25,000 payment for losing the use of his left foot.

He told the BBC the first time he heard it had been placed under review was about a month after his appearance.

"Some jobsworth somewhere has seen me walk out on to the pitch," he said.

Pte Tatlock's walk onto the pitch unaided did prompt contact with his rehabilitation social worker for clarification on the medical situation
Abacus insurance

"He's seen me walk out with the cup without my stick and thought: 'Well, he's lying', which was pretty hard to understand.

"I don't know why they have tried to do it... words cannot express how angry I am."

In a statement published on its website on Wednesday, Abacus confirmed that it had contacted the soldier's social worker after his pitch side appearance.

"At the time of the Carling Cup final at Wembley, Private Tatlock's claim was under review pending further medical information," it said.

"Parts of his claim had already been settled and very significant payments had already been made. One part of the claim remains subject to further review.

"Pte Tatlock's walk onto the pitch unaided did prompt contact with his rehabilitation social worker for clarification on the medical situation.

"The update given was that further medical investigations were due to be carried out. This enquiry did not alter the standing of the claim."

Abacus said the outstanding part of Pte Tatlock's claim remained under review pending further medical advice.

Foxnwolf Comments;

Please contact "Abacus Insurers" and let your feelings be known.......

Abacus Insurance details as follows;

Address:

Abacus Limited,
Queen Isabelle House,
Kingsclere Park,
Kingsclere,
Newbury,
Berkshire,
RG20 4SW

Phone Numbers:

Tel: 01635 299591
Fax: 01635 299516

Email:

"Click Here"

PMPT & Semper Fi.......



View Article  British Armed Forces Pay Rates 2009 - 2010
In 2009 there is an uplift of 2.8, the basic military and naval salary for officers and all other ranks, as stipulated by the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB).

In addition, the rates of Specialist Pay (Flying Pay, Submarine Pay and Diving Pay) will also increase by the same percentage.

The Government has also accepted the AFPRB recommendations, which includes a pay increase on promotion to the rank of Sergeant and Petty Officer of five per cent and a reduction in the qualifying period between each level of Longer Separation Allowance.

Ministry of Defence Chief Mr Hutton said:
“The 2009 Report of the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body has now been published. I wish to express my thanks to the Chairman and members of the Review Body for their Report. I am pleased to confirm that the AFPRB’s recommendations are to be accepted in full, with implementation effective from 1 April 2009.”

“This pay rise is welcome and appropriate acknowledgement of the burden our people are carrying on behalf of the nation, and of their remarkable achievements in the face of great adversity.”

As a result of the increases, a Private soldier deploying on operations will now receive:

* Basic pay between £16,681 – £25,887;
* A minimum of £1,194 in Longer Separation Allowance over a six- month tour;
* £2,380 tax-free Operational Allowance over a six-month tour.

The are further increases to the Longer Separation Allowance, which will also increase by 2.8 per cent.

The senior ranks of the Armed Forces (from the Army ranks of Major General to General and their Navy and RAF equivalents) have also been awarded a 2.8 per cent pay increase today. This follows an announcement from the Cabinet Office that they have accepted the proposals of the Senior Salaries Review Body, which recommends pay levels for senior public sector workers including military chiefs, senior civil servants and judges.

UK Armed Forces Pay Rates for all Services: April 2009 – April 2010

See the previous pay rates for comparisons: Pay Rates for all Four Services between March 2008 – March 2009


View Article  Jack Wong Sue "RIP"
View Article  PM welcomes creation of Elizabeth Cross


The Prime Minister has welcomed the creation of a new medal for the families of British Service personnel killed while serving their country.

Earlier today, the Queen announced the creation of the Elizabeth Cross, which will be granted to the next of kin of Armed Forces personnel killed on operations or as a result of terrorism.

Gordon Brown said the new medal would be a “special and fitting tribute” to those who lose their lives serving the country.

He said:

“The British Armed Forces are the very best in the world. It is right that the sacrifices they make for the security of our country, and for stability abroad, are properly honoured. Her Majesty The Queen’s announcement today of the Elizabeth Cross for all the families of those who die on operations or as a result of terrorism is one I warmly welcome.
“It will be a very special and fitting tribute for the great debt we owe to those personnel, as well as for the enduring loss felt by their families.”

The Elizabeth Cross is the first new award to be created using a reigning monarch’s name since the George Cross was instituted in 1940 by King George VI.
View Article  Gurkha Tribute Song
Chers amigo. I had the idea on Thursday. Got 2 untrained but supportive mates to
do keyboard (Diane, Moray Council Care Worker) and guitar (Ivan , a big  Geordie
who works offshore as a plater/welder) on friday, quick rough practice for an hour,
wrote the words friday night in the pub. Borrowed guitars and amps and a keyboard
from a Shaminic Sound Engineer (I`m not making this up). Got everyone there saturday
afternoon at 2pm. Bullied Lindz(56yrs old part time chef) and Nichola (16yrs old -
college doing child care) both desperately shy but "up" for helping the cause. I`ve
got several versions on the video (borrowed the video camera from an ex RAF chap who
frames my pictures)  - we just kept doing it from 2,30 till about 5. We got the room
in the Hostel for free (ex pongos on committee). The drummer is the blind since birth
chap i take to pub on fri and sat nights. Hasn`t played for 20 years. Bless his heart.
See his left hand shaking? I Never want to ever do anything like it again. i cant sing,
dance or play guitar - nor, indeed, would I ever want to.

Regards to all.......Keir Hardie ex RM (Bass Player for "outoftune")