Bringing your work home

An Australian man and his British colleague working to map unexploded bombs have been killed in an explosion at their home in Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands.

Australian Trent Lee and Briton Stephen “Luke” Atkinson died when an unexploded ordnance is believed to have detonated shortly after 7.30pm on Sunday.

The blast, inside the men’s rented accommodation in Tasahe, in the west of the city, was felt more than five kilometres away: cries for help from inside brought rescuers and emergency services to the building.

The two men were employees of the NGO Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which maps unexploded ordnance across Solomon Islands, working alongside the police bomb disposal unit.

A reader or two here has the military background to explain this. My initial reaction is that we are all told not to bring our work home with us…..

Fair enough

Sensible even:

VJ Day: Armed Forces charities fear support for veterans will dwindle after Second World War passes from living history

That’s the last time an entire, generation had to turn out. Since then it has been much, much, smaller – and voluntary – forces. So, there’s less requirement for the aid and help that charities provide once that generation has doddered off into the grave.

Yes, yes, of course, there are jobs in the charitable bureaucracy to protect but…..

Giant Kielbasa Dongs

Not the phrase I would have thought of but it works:

With their own capital city at their backs, the Poles utterly demolished the entire might of the Soviet army during the “Miracle on the Vistula”, and they did it in the most badass way imaginable – by straight-on bayonet charging a superior force in the hopes of breaking their morale with one ultra-brave display of the Polish military’s giant kielbasa dongs.

The old military

Among his favourite postings was a two-year exchange with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (1954-56), although the rules stipulated that Joy was not able to join him until he had turned 25.

Ah, no, that’s not quite true.

They were both 17 and would often meet on the staircase, but it was not until they were 21 that she agreed to marry him.

The rule was that an officer was assumed not to marry before that age of 25. Which meant no married quarters before that age. Also, no rental allowances, no transport for anyone other than the individual officer. And actual military incomes were v low. It was marriage allowances etc that made life possible, those allowances that weren’t available for the under 25s.

My parents got caught up in this. Married at 23 then Pops was posted to Malta. Mum – along with another similarly placed naval wife – went by commercial boat. Rented in the private market. And had no aid or help from the Navy at all. Pops then posted off to the Pacific – Christmas Island for that test – and she had to make her own way back to England with babe in arms and 8 months pregnant.

She sat in the married quarters allocation office in Portsmouth until eventually, out of embarrassment, they gave her some keys. Next morning they came around and evicted her.

She still spits with rage about it today, 60 years later.

Joy could have joined him. It’s just that there would have been absolutely no help nor aid of any kind. And NZ wasn’t a cheap place to get to back then….

More than a bit odd

The Armed Forces must stamp out its “laddish” nature, the Chief of the Defence Staff has warned, as he revealed he found the military’s culture “really worrying”….

The actual point of all that training being to inculcate a laddish, pack, nature.

People don’t charge machine gun nests for Queen, country, democracy nor equality of any type. They do it because not to do so is to let down the lads. Thus the aim and intent of training is to get people into being part of that cohesive group of lass – of whatever race, gender etc – who will charge machine gun nests for each other.

Pity the CDS has forgotten this…..

66% of the public are morons

Why do they wish to bring back state slavery, helotry, for their children?

National Service should be brought back, two thirds of the public have said, as Boris Johnson and the Queen issue thanks ahead of Armed Forces Day.
While the period of compulsory service in the Armed Forces was phased out in the UK by 1963, two-thirds of Britons said that they would support its reintroduction, with many believing that it should be compulsory.

A more subtle point being perhaps that they think it will teach people the value of authority and all that. When the actual outcome of that 1950s was the explosion of sod all authority ‘n’ it can bugger off in the 1960s. nothing more likely to make people hate the state and its corporals than actually being subject to them for a couple of years.

There’s an old sci fi story

About the scientist who insists his new invention is terrific as it makes explosives not work. No More War!

The General wants to kill him right there and then. For no more explosives or projectile weapons means reversion to worse forms of war, not its extinction.

China has said it is moving 20 martial art trainers to the Tibetan plateau to train its forces.

No official reason for the decision has been given, but it comes after at least 20 Indian troops were killed in clashes with Chinese border forces.

Under an agreement dating back to 1996, neither side carries guns or explosives in the area.

Not wholly and not quite

Armed Forces suicide rate increases but remains half that of general population, MoD data show
The suicide rate for males is 17 per 100,000 in general society but in the armed forces the equivalent number is eight

There’s a definite difference over age isn’t there? Primarily young and old men? That is, the Forces rate is lower again that half given the age profile?

Military history question

Just a family conversation. Military records of personnel who served in WWII and before.

Any online resource? They all been digitised and made public? They available on paper but not online? Or it’s all still covered by privacy regs?

Dear Squaddie, you’re fired

There is what they were doing to be considered:

Two soldiers serving in the regiment that conducts ceremonial duties for the Queen carried out a string of armed robberies across south London, a court has heard.

Grenadier Guards Kristopher James-Merrill, 20, and Dillon Sharpe, 23, are alleged to have raided seven convenience stores with their friend Marlon Wright, 25, between July 24 and 26 2018.

Their regiment is one of the most senior in the British Army with soldiers recognised by the scarlet tunic and bearskin uniforms they wear while on ceremonial duty at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

They’re supposed to be aiding Cabinet Ministers in the bushes of course. But then there’s also the efficacy:

But four of the attempted raids failed and Sharpe left empty handed after workers fought back.

If a couple of squaddies can’t hold up a corner shop then do we actually want them as squaddies?

Slightly missing the point

But their individual sacrifice is a silver lining common to many first world war movies: in the absence of a larger and nobler purpose, the best soldiers can do is fight for each other, and hope to spare a life or steal a little bit of dignity and humanity.

The fighting for each other bit. That’s always what soldiers do. That’s why armies are set up the way they are, in sections, platoons, companies. To engender that community which is what is being fought for.

Never been quite sure whether the Spartan hoplites all fighting alongside their gay partner was true or not but it’s the same idea. Very few indeed will risk their lives for King and Country but set it up right and many will for the band of brothers.

This is rather a big change

Radakin has also ordered an end to the job for life culture among middle ranking officers, with new employment rules for more than 200 captain-ranked officers — equivalent to army colonels and RAF group captains — being brought in.

Previously they could serve automatically until the age of 55. In future they will have to retire if they are not selected for a new job after completing two three-year postings.

Up or out has long been true for above captain ranks.

Bringing it down a step is a pretty big change though. And, OK this is from memory, but I thought it also applied to Commanders – Majors in the Army.

If you don’t make Major then you’re out – don’t make Commander then off you go. But if you do then OK to 55. And if the rules only change for Captains then you’ve an absurdity, that Commanders can stay in and Captains not.

And there is a certain problem here too. Someone who is good enough to make Captain RN is pretty good. And the career certainty is to last only until they are perhaps 45, 46? That’s going to have a knock on effect back down to recruitment into Dartmouth…..

This is also something easy to get wrong:

….the new defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has lambasted navy chiefs for the number of ships and submarines stuck in harbour awaiting repairs or lacking crews.

This is something that has played out many times over the centuries for the RN. The entire point of having the thing is that you can go fight when you need to. Which implies a certain amount of redundancy when you’re not fighting. And so complaining about redundant capacity when you’re not fighting is to rather miss part of the point…..

We are surprised are we?

United Nations peacekeepers fathered hundreds of babies in Haiti then abandoned young mothers to lives of single parenthood and poverty, the academic leading a research study has told The Times.

Thousands of young men, far from home, controlling the resources the poverty stricken need to survive.

We’re surprised, are we?

Is there actually an historical record of an army going anywhere and this not happening? Other than Genghis, in those towns where all were wiped out?

Fun fact

Not sure I believe it but fun fact:

The V2 was more sophisticated, but was never mass produced: only 3,000 were launched, and more Nazis were killed as part of the development of the rocket than Brits by their launch.

This seems perfectly reasonable to me

The Chinese orienteering team was disqualified from the Military World Games, which China is hosting, after its troops took first, second, and fourth for women and second for men in the middle-distance competition on Sunday.

The event tests runners on their speed and map-reading abilities by navigating unknown terrain equipped only with a map and compass.

But it later emerged the runners had received illegal assistance from spectators and used previously prepared markings and paths that only their team knew about.

Isn’t the first military rule “know the territory”? Therefore the Chinee won fair and square.

Yes, I know about the movie

But who knows with storytelling, eh?

He had four sons, three of whom served in the Second World War.

Philip Curtis, who also served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (now the Green Jackets) was killed by a land mine in Italy in 1943.

Richard Curtis was an RAF fighter pilot who was shot down and killed over France in 1944.

To his anger, Brig Peter Curtis was posted to Scotland at the time of D-Day, so not to risk a third son from the same family being killed, though he later went on to serve in Africa.

There is also that story of the woman with x number of sons who wrote to the War Office – “You’ve had six of mine serving, you’re not getting the seventh” to get the reply “We quite agree with you Madam”.

An interesting question being, well, how much effort was made to ensure that entire families weren’t wiped out. Was this, for example, something more common in the officer class?

Yes, I know the movie’s about a Private but……

This is rather fun

The Army could phase out petrol and diesel vehicles in a bid to attract ecofriendly recruits, the Chief of the General Staff has said.

Gen Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said today’s military equipment would probably be the last to be “dependent on fossil fuel engines”, and that a move toward clean energy would be beneficial logistically and put the military “on the right side of the environmental argument”.

Fun in an appalling manner, of course.

We can all see the logistical benefits of not having to have tankers of derv or LPG following the tanks around. But there might be that slight worry that trucks of batteries aren’t going to be much better. And fill up times, well, there’s a problem.

But that an actual General is talking about the environmental argument, when did that happen?