Shat Al Arab Hotel,
14th Oct 2005
I know it is late on Friday, so either have a good weekend, or I hope you had a good weekend if it is now Monday.
As the one man in charge of moving my entire regiment from Basrah to England, you would have thought I could have got this tied down earlier. Up until about ten minutes ago, I had it tied down pretty well, and was even coming home on Wednesday night and was planning on a “surprise” return a day early.
My Commanding Officer has noticed that being the only person who has “the depth of knowledge” about the most complex move we have undertaken since our arrival it is a little silly to have me leave on the first flight.
I am now flying out of this godforsaken hell hole on the 24th, arriving in England on the 25th. As you can imagine there has been a certain amount of foot-stamping and bottom lip quivering from me, but sadly to no avail.
I made some plans with many of you for next weekend, I was supposed to be going to various parties, lunches, dinners and even moving into my new flat. I am afraid I am no longer going to be able to make any plan I have made until the 25th.
I am furious and quite upset. Believe it or not, I was quite looking forward to getting out of here and seeing you all.
Aside from that and the obvious excitement of rescuing Soldiers from the Police, Riots, and the now increased quantity of attacks onto the hotel, life out here has changed very little. For some extraordinary reason our clocks changed back an hour this weekend, apparently, we are now in winter. Its 45 degrees outside, the coldest it has got so far is at 5 o clock in the morning when the temperature drops to a bone trembling 28 degrees!
See you all eventually.
I promise I might be home for Christmas.
All my love
The letter above is part of a series of letters I sent home from Basrah, Iraq in 2005 republished here for the first time since they got sent exactly 15 years ago (I will try and sync them with the real dates sent)
I suppose this was my very first attempt at blogging, before blogging was ever a thing!
I was a Captain in The British Army at the time and was in the middle of an unremarkable 7 month posting to Basrah surrounded by the remarkable men of the Coldstream Guards, my regiment for 7 years. I loved and adored my time in the Coldstream and look back at all the fun and silliness with incredibly fond memories. I hope these letters go some way to show the amusing side of our tour, they are not designed to be a factual representation of the hard work, pain and suffering that so many endured. They do not talk of the ultimate sacrifice made by too many of our soldiers during that extraordinary year.