Welsh In Maysan Anything But Quiet

The Welsh in Maysan: Anything but Quiet

This article from last week was published obscurely but it is eloquent about the claim that the “problem” of insecurity is “only in four provinces.” Solidly Shiite Maysan, inhabited to a large extent by displaced Marsh Arabs, would be on no one’s list of the top security problems in Iraq. But a Welsh unit stationed there for half a year came under daily rocket fire. One Iraqi who thought I was too hard on the British wrote me to the effect that “the people in Maysan don’t like outsiders; they don’t even like other Iraqis coming in to their territory.”

Wales on Sunday

September 25, 2005, Sunday, p. 4

The Welsh Guards witnessed bloody fighting on the front-line in Iraq.

About 60 per cent of the regiment’s 550 soldiers witnessed heavy action in the Maysan region, close to the Iranian border in southern Iraq, while the rest served in Basra.

Welsh troops came under constant gun and rocket fire on arriving in Iraq last October. They remained there until April.

Lieutenant Colonel Ben Bathurst, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said: ‘Rockets were constantly fired at our camp.

‘There were numerous engagements with the enemy. They were not of the intensity that our predecessors or successors witnessed, but it would be wrong to say it was quiet.’ . . .

This week, a coroner criticised the hours that soldiers are expected to work in combat operations.

Oxford coroner Nicholas Gardiner said sleep deprivation was likely to have played a ‘major part’ in a crash that killed 22-year-old Royal Welch Fusilier Stephen Jones in a car crash while serving in Iraq.

He said Fusilier Jones, from Denbigh, was unlikely to have had any proper rest for two days when the Land Rover he was driving left the road south of Al Amarah on September 10 last year.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Gardiner added more could have been done to relieve Fusilier Jones. ‘

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