Saturday, 29 September 2007

Welcome home

This afternoon my brother-in-law, N, left Iraq for the UK at the end of his tour of duty there with his tank regiment. My sister was with me when she got the call from him earlier today to say that he was ready to board the plane and leave, and we have been celebrating ever since.

When N left for Iraq I knew it would affect my sister, but I didn't expect it to affect me as much as it did. Suddenly every time I woke in the morning to hear on Radio 4 the words "A British soldier has been killed in Iraq..." my stomach lurched and my heart thumped until I heard the name of the regiment.

We had to explain to C & O the realities of what their uncle serving in Iraq meant. They listened quietly to my explanation and at the end O calmly said what none of the rest of us had dared speak out loud, "Well I'll keep my fingers crossed that Uncle N doesn't get deaded then".

Over the past six months I have learnt many new things about the British Army, and the life of its soldiers and their families, that I didn't know before.

  • soldiers in Iraq sleep with walls of breeze blocks around their beds to protect them in case of mortar attacks during the night
  • a parcel of haribo sweets boosts morale
  • you can upload photos to your Facebook profile from the Iraqi desert
  • wives and girlfriends of soldiers serving in warzones have their mobile phones with them all the time - even in the shower
  • letters from home mean more than you could ever imagine - even a glitter covered drawing of a pony from your niece is a good thing to receive
  • soldiers are still equipped with bayonets
  • when your soldier tells you he is stuck behind a desk at base doing boring admin, he is doing anything but
  • you don't pay any postage when you send a parcel to a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan
  • soldiers in Iraq still get to watch rugby world cup games

N, we are all so proud of you and delighted to have you home. When O heard you were coming back she grinned and said "Good! He didn't get deaded then!"



  1. Good grief- you have given me goosebumps woman! Having a brother who has also 'done his duty' I did know most of these things...but the best thing of all, is as you say, knowing that they are on their way home safe and sound. Happy Days.

  2. I'm so glad to hear that your brother is coming home! This was a beautiful post and it gave me goosebumps just like garden girl. My husband was also in Iraq and thankfully he and the other guys came home safely, if not on time.

  3. oh i'm so glad that he has come home! it's eerie to me, these realities of war. i know your sister is relieved!


  4. Came across a very interesting site today:

    They are doing a parcel appeal for Christmas, so along with our Shoebox appeal, we'll be doing our bit for them too!


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