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Sapper July 2003 8/7/03 12:36 pm Page 206
The gap was a 10 metres wide, four metres deep ditch running the length of the Kuwait/Iraqi border. The bridge went in
quickly with no hitches; it took 45 minutes from the first bridging vehicle arriving on site, to the first Warrior FV crossing
the bridge. Everyone put in 110 per cent and gave their all. Cbt Sp Tp, 2 HQ Sqn had the honour to lay the first General
Support Bridge in an operational role, during the conflict.
Shaibah Airfield “St James’ Park” Stadium
By: Cpl Gerard Chadwick
aj John Thompson, the OC 65 Fd Sp Sqn, is an avid fan of Newcastle United so he thought he would take his mind off
their current bad form (“ a slight hiccup in Bobby’s plan” he would call it), and build his own little St James’ Park at
Shaibah Airfield. Having found himself a nice little spot, he called on MPF WO2 McCarthy and his troop of POMs to con-
struct the stadium of his dreams, “materials permitting”.
Wanting to make the dream a reality, SSM Eugene Austin arranged a football match against 29 Fd Sqn. The rules were
simple; it was to be an all age, no standards, 7 a-side match with as many substitutes as could be mustered. Sounded like it
was time to fit the shin pads.
Being team captain and manager I went for a 2-3-1 formation, with 29 Sqn going for 2-2-2 for the first half. Their tac-
tics proved the way ahead and they went in at half time leading 3-2. I gave the team a pep talk and changed the formation
for the second half. Both halves were evenly fought but we pipped it at the end, the final score being 5 - 4 to 65 Sqn. All
who turned up played. The star of the match was a young 38-year-old, Sgt Dave Paling who scored a hat trick. The winning
goal was scored by LCpl Brian Cooper. With lots of friendly banter and fair play (apart from the 29 Sqn broken finger), and
plenty of encouragement from a well-behaved crowd, the game was a great success, concluding with a long cold drink of
water and the presentation ceremony.
Op Telic or Op Fresco?
hen 32 Engr Regt were stood down from Op Fresco and Op Telic loomed on the horizon, we never thought we would
still end up fighting fires. However, Saddam had other ideas, and lit large oil fires all over his country. Some of them
impeded the view for the battlegroups, so 1 RRF BG called upon 39 Armd Engr Sqn to once again become fire fighters.
After re-allocating vital resources from Basra International Airport in the form of two bright yellow fire engines, the team
was ready. We proceeded to the site and on arrival, we found a large trench had been dug, filled with oil, and then set alight.
The more astute of you out there may think, “Hey, why not just let it burn out?” but we found that Saddam had the cun-
ning plan of constantly feeding the fire via an underground pipeline. After trying unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire with
our newly acquired appliances, Plan B was implemented – follow the pipeline and try to cut it off at source. Finding the gen-
eral location of the shut off valve was the easy, but actually finding the valve in a rather deep pool of crude oil proved to be
a completely different task. A willing volunteer (Spr Tom Smith of 23 Sqn), stood on the pipe above the oil pool and and
tried to shut off the valve. After a couple of attempts, he started to feel dizzy, so was removed to breathe fresh air before
attempting it again. He then fell into the pool. The rest of the team jumped to his rescue and pulled him out and the opera-
tion was aborted for the night. Not to be defeated, next day it was back to the fire to have another go. This time the plan was
to drain the oil pool before trying to turn the valve off. Our two POMs started to dig drainage ditches. These proved to be a
complete success and the valve was turned off, the pipe removed and the fire left to burn out. So for all you fire-fighters out
there, 32 Engr Regt can fight fires as well as fight wars, in fact we can do both at the same time!
206 The Sapper
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