Belfast The Young Lad

The Truck left the camp its load was Cement,  the 23 years old lad with 4 years srvicein the army was dressed in denim jeans and t shirt he was dressed like this as to not give away he was in the British Army and to to Blend in with the Irish Public.

The Driver was young to and they both had a Browning 9mm Pistol with 13 live rounds in it. The pistol was down the waist of the jeans for quick response to any trouble.

The briefing they got was Escort the truck to a place in Belfast through Catholic and IRA known towns.

So at 23 with 4 years service I was sat in a truck waiting for something to happen, every time we stopped at a junction or traffic lights looking waiting for the Attack.

Maybe now years later I understand how it could have played out. But the biggest question I ask myself is what would I have done if confronted by men with Black Hoods bent on killing a British Soldier a prize that would give the Terrorist credibility.

I ask myself would I have had time to make a quick decision, would I have reached for my Pistol Cocked the pistol ready and would I have fired it to Kill to save me and the driver.

Or would there have been time to do anything, the Terrorist always had the advantage of being local to his teratory and street wise, where to Ambush the truck and having the element of surprise.

There was no media, no Phones other than a Phone Box. So the British public never heard of any Killings that happened everyday.

The British Army were supposed to be my safe haven look after me when I signed the Dotted line and swore I would defend the Crown. I really wonder now if the higher ranks that sent us out had any thought for our safety.

The camp was in Whiterock near the Falls Road, it had a threats of Rocket RPG and Sniper attacks. I had been in 2 incidents in 3 months, the worst being blocked in the road by petrol and other self made devices. Barriers set alight so we could not go any further then hailed with slabs of rock, paving stones and metal bolts.

I had been stopped in my convoy on the Shankill Road asking for help as the Post Office was taken over by Para military and that they were going to shoot the owners.

After these incidents I was just told to escort the truck throughout Belfast and back with no clear instructions.

Shortly after leaving Ireland 2 soldiers just like me and the driver were making there way through Belfast when they took a wrong turn. They were confronted by a crowd who dragged them from their vehicle put them into Black Taxi cabs and drove to an alley and executed both of them.

That’s how Dangerous it was.

5 incidents and to leave unharmed is something I think about a lot.

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