Another line from sunny Spain as the heat of the summer suddenly becomes more bearable. Coming up to my seventh month of being adrift over here, the fourteen-day quarantine period has again defeated my efforts to get back to blighty. I have tried to put the time to good use though, the third book is in the rewrite stage and I’ve also hooked up with Chris Thrall again on a live podcast about the interesting subject of the roots of what was known as Special Duties in Northern Ireland.
The 1970’s were strange times in the UK, it was a greyer, harder place then. and if you’ve ever watched an old episode of The Sweeny you’ll soon get the drift. Society was different, the rules were different, and in the 1970’s the British Army was in the middle of civil war, and like all other members of 39 Brigade, the Royal Marine Commandos of 40,41, 42, and Four Five were rotating on 4-month deployments while holding the dangerous middle ground in West Belfast and in South Armagh. Things were getting worse and soldiers and civilans were dying, enter a guy called Brigadier Frank Kitson MC, who as the commander of 39 Brigade had the job of sorting it out.
General Kitson was an acknowledged expert in counter-insurgency and had fought against the Mau Mau in Kenya and the communist insurgents in Malaya. He arrived in Ulster at a time when a new approach was needed and brought his out-of-the-box thinking with him, as outlined in his books including Gangs and Counter Gangs and the classic and still read, Low-Intensity Operations, Subversion, insurgency, and Peacekeeping. The podcast openly discusses how this panned out back then. If you are interested in modern military history you might find it interesting.
History, it seems is constantly being revised and dismantled by modern left thinking revisionist historians. Some of the units have been thoroughly slandered by the usual suspects on the altar of political correctness and this podcast is my personal perspective of how things were at the time.
An interesting quote from George Orwell from his book 1984.
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
This podcast is just a preemptive strike against those who seek to engineer our history to suit their sensibilities. I was proud to have served in such a unit and the difference between me and some lefty historian is “I was there!”