Rothesay man looks back at Afghan war experience

Taken inside an RAF Hercules transport plane, this picture shows a group of Afghan warlords being taken to a meeting to try to persuade them to stop growing opium.
Taken inside an RAF Hercules transport plane, this picture shows a group of Afghan warlords being taken to a meeting to try to persuade them to stop growing opium.

Following the withdrawal of the last UK combat troops from Afghanistan this week, a Rothesay man who served in the RAF in the early days of the West’s military operation has shared some of his memories of the experience.

Hugh Moodie, then a junior technician in the RAF Weapons Technician trade, was deployed on operations in the country in June 2002, with just two weeks’ notice and with three weeks of pre-deployment training squeezed into one.

Hugh, who was promoted to the rank of corporal shortly after his arrival, was part of a team responsible for weapons and armament engineering for the RAF Hercules detachment in support of UK Special Forces during Operation Fingal.

In an article to be published in the October 31 issue of The Buteman, Hugh says: “Immediately on arival into Kabul, after a 14 hour journey on board an RAF C130J Hercules transport aircraft, I was given a brief on local customs and rules that had to be followed.

“One of the rules was particularly shocking: it involved body armour. There just was not enough, and what was available would have to be shared in eight-hour rotations. Immediately it hit home just how unprepared the UK’s forces were for the conflict in Afghanistan.”

* Read more of Hugh’s recollections from Afghanistan in the new issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, October 30.