In my recent BLOG “TRADITION, LONG ESTABLISHED PRACTICE AND SEEKING THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE I described the strict order required to have British Army units and personnel permitted to partake in non traditional or unaccustomed activities. High up in the pecking order is a Major General, and above him the Silver Stick in Waiting to serve the Queen’s Pleasure. A man in the street could be forgiven thinking that the incumbent was a Field Marshal Dildo.
Anyhow, it seems that for some, an adherence to Queen’s Regulations is strictly for Big Girls’ Blouses, and real heroes practice BIG BOYS’ RULES. A book by that title deals with SAS activities in Ireland, written by Mark Urban, about whom you may consult Wikipedia, and for more informative details WIKISPOOKS.
I decided to look up General Sir Robert Ford who was in charge of all British Forces in the North of Ireland from July 1971 until early in 1973 and who was the senior officer on the spot, with the Rank of Major General,in the Bogside, when, according to the Aldershot Trust, some thirteen demonstrators “lost their lives” as if lives were gloves or handbags.
General Ford proved a very shifty and unreliable witness at the Saville Inquiry, in fact a coward. Lieutenant Colonel Wilford was three pegs below the Major General at the time and the decision that demonstrators would lose their lives had been taken by Ford in advance in cold blood. That’s clear from what you can find on the web. Ford died five years ago.
There’s an expression in Irish about a good person going “ar sli na firinne” the Highway of Truth when they die. It’d be a bold claim to say Ford kept on the straight and narrow. But the Deity is all merciful, and I suspect a bit hard of hearing as far as we Irish are concerned. Otherwise, I ask you, how did the British Army get deployed to Helmand?
Ford took over as Commandant of The Royal Military College, Sandhurst in charge of the creation of Officers and Gentlemen, and Spin Doctors who will tell you that people murdered on his orders “Lost their Lives.”
But above Ford playing the role of “Silver Stick in Waiting ” was General Sir Frank Kitson, who,arrived in Ireland late in 1970 and, in the name of counter- insurgency provoked aresponse where hitherto unarmed protesters became skilled and formidable resistance fighters and evolved into popular and skilled politicians who exposed British military and political posturing over thirty years into a trouble of fools. See Frank Kitson in “Northern Ireland and the British Way of Counter Insurgency” online HISTORY IRELAND Vol 22 Issue 1, in support of my comments.
But the evolution of Silver Stick in Waiting General Kitson, was merely to serve the Queen’s Pleasure as her Aide-de-Camp General from 1982-1985.
I do hope they both found satisfaction