An Ordinary Soldier Book Review

Doug Beattie was born in Northern Ireland and joined the British Army at 16. A boy soldier who at 15 had accidentally shot his best friend in the head. His friend survived however Doug needed to get out of Northern Ireland. Following in family foot steps Doug joined the Royal Irish Regiment and throughout training was subjected to intense bullying. Quickly recognised for his soldiering skills Doug was promoted through the ranks to Regimental Sergeant Major and then commissioned. As a Captain in the Royal Irish Regiment he was sent to Garmsir, Afghanistan as part of a Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT).

Ordinary Soldier

Doug was part of a small contingent of British Forces sent to to recapture Garmsir with the help of member of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP), whilst this was supposed to be a 48hr operation it ended up over a week long with British and Afghan casualties. They were up against a determined enemy with a small amount of forces, Doug leading from the front came close to losing his own life on numerous occasions. JTAC Sam New and Doug fighting from the front on regular occasions bringing in fast air strikes within 60 metres of their own position, well within the safety guidelines.

The silence was broken by a burst of fire from the first building on the left, which was still only just emerging into view. The earth in front of the Danish sergeant erupted into little fountains of dust. Then more bullets came my way, zipping and fizzing through the air, scything through the crops. Instinctively I ducked even lower and pulled my trigger, spewing ammunition towards our attacks.

Doug Beattie, MC – “An Ordinary Soldier”

Doug left Garmsir on R&R and only took 48hrs to get back to his wife and family in the U.K. No one at home could imagine the ferocious fighting he had been through after all he had stabbed an enemy fighter through the throat with his bayonet, fired on and slotted a number of enemy as well as bringing 500lb + bombs down on groups of fighters dismembering bodies.

He saw through his own two eyes like so many other soldiers around the world. He was invited to go back to Afghanistan even though he was determined to leave the Army however he had to do something first. He had to write about his experiences to help him deal with what had happened, he had to write “An Ordinary Soldier”.

He pulls no punches and doesn’t look for forgiveness for what he made decisions to do, he has enough time answering the questions he asks himself. It’s a terrific read and constantly keeps you engaged throughout the entirety of the book.

Seven Troop Book Review

Seven TroopAndy McNab, a British Army and SAS Veteran. One of the guys who didn’t get away and had to suffer day upon day of torture at the hands of his Iraqi captors during Gulf War One. Andy started his military life in the Royal Green Jackets where he stayed for 8 years before heading off to selection for the Special Air Service (SAS). One of Andy’s first books, Immediate Action, was his account of his life going for SAS selection. It is an incredible read. Now he writes another personal account of his life following on from the days of selection, his first days in his new regiment, his new troop and his new life. He made friends and lost them and details everything in Seven Troop.

Immediate Action was about Andy McNab going for SAS selection from his Green Jackets regiment, it was his personal account of his life whilst trying to get into one of the most renowned special forces regiments in the world.

Back in 1983, Andy McNab was B Squadron of the SAS. This was one of the four squadrons of the SAS. He was picked to be in Air Troop which is also known as Seven Troop. Andy McNab joined a group of men who over the years would become his closest friends. After becoming the freshly badged SAS Trooper he headed out to the Malayan jungle and met up with his new troop. Each member of the troop has a place in the book, some more prevalent than others.

Seven Troop

This book is a sad story of loss, losing friends who were never meant to go. From Al Slater, one of the training staff in the 1980’s program “The Para’s”, to Nish and Frank Collins, Andy has lost a lot of people and friends to a variety of reasons.

Beyond all of that Seven Troop is a huge account of ten years in a secret service with details of some never-before-revealed operations. Drama, action and thrill had me enthralled for the 3 days Seven Troop took to read. I never wanted to put the book down.

Seven Troop is a reflective look upon the armed forces and the underlying problems that occur when back home, post traumatic stress disorder is an illness which is frequently published about in the media however when McNab was in the service it wasn’t one of the things which you talked about. Even the tough SAS lads have trouble dealing with the jobs they’ve been tasked to complete.

I don’t want to give too much away as it is such a good read.