All Blogposts contain only personal views and are published in an entirely personal capacity. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment unless I have refused to delete the comment following a valid complaint. Any complaint must set out the grounds for the deletion of the comment. I also reserve the right to delete comments that - in my opinion, are offensive or make unsubstatiated accusations against persons or groups. Like the BBC, this Blog is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. (with thanks to Valleys Mam's blog where I nicked most of this from).


14 May 2011

The FA Cup Final & The Long Reach Of Afghanistan

Cpl Mark Ward MC,  1st Bn (Cheshire) The Mercian Regiment

Presenting the FA Cup to today's winning finalist will be Cpl Mark Ward MC, 1st Bn (Cheshire) The Mercian Regiment.

Cpl Ward MC (27) serves in the Regiment I had the honour of serving in - the same Regiment that  won the The Sun's 'Millie' Award following their sacrifices in Afghanistan last year which saw more than a dozen of them killed and more than 50 injured from a Regiment of 600.  Amongst the fallen was the son of one of the soldiers I served alongside who I knew briefly during my final years and his early ones when he was a young soldier fresh from training.

For those of you who wonder what these young men (and some women - Combat Medics from RAMC, war is an Equal Opportunities employer) went through during that summer of 2010 please watch the following Youtube clips  Clip 1  Clip 2 for a very brief and understated idea.

Cpl Ward MC's story can be read here. A brave young man, a leader and a credit to his Regiment.

So 'Wardy',  enjoy the match mucker - you've earned it and to those of you who never made it home - both  from my Regiment and all the others, in this conflict and all before it -  none of us who wore the 'green suit' will ever forget you.

‎"Of battles fought at long odds, without fear as without support;
of hospitality catholic as an Arab's;
of friendships deep as the sea and steady as the fighting line;
of honour won by hard roads for honour's sake;
and of instant and unquestioning devotion to the Regiment — the Regiment that claims the lives of all and lives forever."

Stand Firm, Strike Hard

(As an afternote  for those of you that don't know,  the British Infantry of the Line consists of 'family' Regiments each recruited from specific areas.    Many of the soldiers within each unit are related,  father follows son for generations, many marry each others sisters, they join together from school etc etc. One of my cousins was in the Regiment at the same time as me along with several soldiers I knew from school.  They live together, eat together, go home on leave to the same towns together, fight together and if needs be die together - not for their Queen,  not for their country,  for something far simpler and far stronger. Each other.   I served alongside Cpl Ward MC's uncle.  The soldier shot in clip one - who I met at the funeral of another soldier, I served alongside his uncle and older cousin.  The funeral we were at was of the soldier I mentioned above who I served alongside for a couple of years and who's father I served alongside.  It is that sense of belonging, that bonding, sense of identity and lineage that creates what are probably the finest Infantry on the planet.)

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