One of my sons has signed up for the army. He’ll be joining REME and will be training as a helicopter technician – but as he is in the army, his first priority will be as a soldier. That means going to Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever else the closet dictators in number 10 deem to start the next war. It will mean servicing helicopters in those theatres of battle – but it will also mean going out on patrol....
I am not too happy about it at all. Fighting to defend your own country is one thing – but putting your life at risk in a God forsaken desert village to preserve Tony Blair’s flawed credentials is quite another. The problem is, there is nothing else to do around where we live – his previous job was working part time at Tesco.
All the labouring work has been taken by Poles, all the farm working jobs are being done by Latvians and all the engineering and production jobs that used to abound round here have all gone to China......
So there seems not a lot of choice if you cannot afford Uni' and are not interested in IT - so he has decided that the army is his chosen career move. And last week, the risk that is run when you join up was brought home to us in the most brutal of fashions... Sarah Bryant was killed in Afghanistan, courtesy of a roadside bomb. She was the first British woman soldier to die there.
Sarah and her Dad, Des Feely on her wedding day.
Although shocked, with the daily inevitability of casualties, I did what millions of others do when we heard the news. We tutted, we cursed Blair for getting us involved in the first place, we cursed Brown for stripping the defence budget to the bone..... But essentially, she was just another casualty of a pointless war..
And then last Thursday, I picked up our local paper and clocked the story about the tragedy in Afghanistan. It transpired that Sarah Bryant had actually been born in our village. She was the only daughter of Des Feely, the then landlord of the Red Lion public house, situated not half a mile from our house.
The Red Lion was my local, we used to go there around twice a week for a natter with Des. Sometimes he would organise a lock in and we would stagger out around 3 in the morning. Des loved the life, but then, his wife delivered him a daughter and suddenly his priorities changed. A pub was no place to bring up a child – so around 20 years ago, they sold the pub and Des took a desk job in a brewery. That was the last time I saw them, we had a right good knees up on his last night and wished him and his family all the best for the future.
And now his life is in ruins. His only child blown to pieces in a ‘snatch’ landrover (code for having very little armoured protection).
What a waste.