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Operation Certain Death

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You're so focussed on what you had to do, you didn't have much time to think about the other aspects of war." Although that offer was politely declined on behalf of the aircrew by the British Embassy, they did face the world's media.

British forces were deployed to Sierra Leone in May 2000, initially for a non-combatant evacuation operation under the codename Operation Palliser, in which they were tasked with evacuating foreign nationals—particularly those from the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth countries, and others for whom the British government had accepted consular responsibility. As part of the mission, British forces secured Sierra Leone's main airport, Lungi. Having secured Freetown and Lungi, and evacuated the foreign nationals who wished to leave, the initial forces left and were replaced by a "Short Term Training Team" (STTT), whose mission was to train and rebuild the Sierra Leone Army. The STTT was initially formed from a detachment from 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, who were replaced in July 2000 by 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R IRISH). [8] The SAS located the captive British soldiers from the latter's shouts of "British Army, British Army!", though Bangura had been held separately and proved more difficult to locate. He was found in a squalid open pit, which had been used by the West Side Boys as a lavatory, [37] and had been starved and beaten during his captivity, and thus had to be carried to the helicopter. Less than 20 minutes after the arrival of the SAS, the remaining members of the Royal Irish patrol, including Bangura, had been evacuated from the area. [36] I felt something of how a condemned man must feel in the hours before his execution; the minutes seemed like hours.

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An investigation into the capture of the patrol was launched by Land Command and a senior officer was despatched to Freetown to debrief the members of the patrol. The report was critical of Marshall, stating that he "made an error of professional judgement in diverting from a planned and authorised journey to make an unauthorised visit to the village of Magbeni." [55] This is the point in the operation where dog sees rabbit, and dog is most definitely going to go for it. It is at this moment that Operation Certain Death has become Judgement Day for the West Side Boys.’

That night they were flown to Santiago and even invited to spend the night at the General's palace. Well-told of a successful SAS rescue mission in Sierra Leone. Multiple points of view and roughly straight timeline increases drama. American readers are reminded that other parts of the world are in crisis and other major powers are doing something about it. Other nations, especially UN peacekeepers, don’t come off so well.

You haven’t seen these people in action. I have. Believe me, if British forces have to come in and rescue us, this place is finished. There won’t be a building left standing.’ ‘Then that, Major, will be a very good thing.’

Fowler, William (2004). Operation Barras: The SAS Rescue Mission: Sierra Leone 2000. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 9780297846284. But our fate is in the hands of a man who has his own demons to face. And they might just push him over the edge . . . Flying like that was not conducive with the sort of missions we had to do inserting special forces patrols into the Falkland Islands but the night vision goggles enabled us to fly right down to ground level at high speed and enabled us to navigate very accurately to the required drop off point." Nocturnal creature Once the helicopter was destroyed, Richard and two of his crew had to remain uncaptured for eight days. The West Side Boys derived their name from New York gang culture and were known to themselves as the "West Side Soldiers" or sometimes the "West Side Niggaz", which they changed to "West Side Boys" as the latter would not be acceptable for use in news reports. [6] [2]


Confirmed to have died in the operation were 25 West Side Boys, although the true figure is probably higher, possibly as many as 80. The gang's resistance was stronger than expected and there was speculation that more bodies lay undiscovered in the jungle. [47] [48] Several other West Side Boys were captured, while others fled into the jungle. Many of those who fled later surrendered to Jordanian peacekeepers. The Jordanians had received 30 by the end of the day, and 371—including 57 children—had surrendered within a fortnight of Operation Barras, to which Julius Spencer, Sierra Leone's Minister for Information, declared that the West Side boys were "finished as a military threat". [44] [49] Collins, Tim (2005). Rules of Engagement: A Life in Conflict. London: Headline Publishing Group. ISBN 9780755313747. Tries too hard to render the dialects. Diminishes readability without improving the atmosphere. Four different spellings for the f-word. We know many soldiers cannot communication without liberal profanity but it’s too much. COBRA is a British government committee convened to handle national crises. The committee is named after the room in which it meets—the Cabinet Office Briefing Room—and usually known as "COBRA" or "Cobra" or sometimes "COBR". Similarly to the SAS, COBRA first became known to the public during the Iranian Embassy siege. [29] [30]

A powerful tale from an author who knows his stuff. Addictively compelling, you’ll be reading into the small hours’ Alan McDermott, author of Fight to Survive But after holding the five for 17 days, the rebels stepped up their demands and insisted on a new government.The three of us managed to get past this base and we were about to walk around the corner of this quiet side street when a car pulled up alongside us," said Richard. Breathtaking. Kim Hughes is the man who stands between us and oblivion' Andy McNab (author of Bravo Two Zero) It's now or never,' exclaimed Pete, a poignant remark which was met with a muted response. In a way, Pete had hit the nail on the head. We had only four Sea Kings with which to insert the Special Forces patrols, if we lost any of them and/or the air, on day one of the operation, it would have had a devastating impact on the conduct of future operations." Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (2009). Who Dares Wins: The SAS and the Iranian Embassy Siege 1980. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781846033957.

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