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& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.


With reviews of books that cover these topics


The public’s understanding of this country’s recent wars is very imperfect. Often one feels that the Government is decidedly happy that it is so. There are two aspects of that understanding that struck me last week: the public does not realise the levels of danger endured by our troops, and secondly, the scale of personal grief caused by casualties is wide. I don’t mean the sometimes mawkish outpourings in Wootton Basset or now Carterton; I mean those directly affected by the death or incapacitation of a loved one.


The most recent British deaths in Afghanistan were the shooting of 2 members of 1 Gurkhas on October 30 by a man in Afghan Police uniform. Lt Edward Drummond- Baxter and Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar. D-B was a friend and former colleague of SODTM, and a very fine chap by all accounts. The death of every soldier who falls will create an engulfing wave profoundly affecting the lives of say ten close family, a smaller wave for say 25 wider family. Judging by this Facebook generation, he will have a wide social network, but say 80 friends who will feel his loss greatly.


Then there are of course the fellow members of his battalion. Bigger ripples at company level, fanning out to smaller ripples in the regiment. They will “crack on” for that is their duty; his family will find it harder to do so. So the next time you see a news report “the MOD regrets to announce the death of a British soldier….”, spare a thought for the large number of people whose life will be changed by that news.

Ripples of Grief

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