As January 2016 leaves just quickly as it arrived, so too does the 25th anniversary of the Gulf War. To mark its anniversary and tell his story, John Dingley has written a book, called Challenging the Beast, about his time as 2nd Troop Leader, B Sqn, 14th/20th King's Hussars.
In 1990, the 14th/20th King's Hussars were part of 4th Armoured Brigade (known as the forgotten brigade) and had to look on from Longkesh Camp, Northern Ireland, as the 7th Armoured Brigade deployed to the Gulf. Upon their return to York Barracks, Munster, B Squadron, 14/20 H, found all of its tanks had been cannibalised for spare parts by the 7th and that seemed like the last nail in the coffin of non-deployment. However, just before some post-NI leave the Squadron was told that it would be joining 7th Armoured Brigade in the Gulf after all and that new tanks would be delivered in due course.
John never kept a diary during the campaign, but instead has written his book using his notebooks from orders groups, his photographs in the scrapbook he made in 1993, and his Squadron Leader's account of the battles in which they took part. At the time of the Gulf War, B Squadron Leader was Major Richard Shirreff who is now, General Sir Richard Shirreff KCB CBE, the Regimental Colonel of the KRH.
John said that he 'wanted to write [his] story so that it could be shared with soldiers and families in future generations. It also does a little to highlight the imbalances between 7th Armoured and 4th Armoured brigades both in equipment but also news coverage and eventually awards.' He also hopes that troop leaders of today and in the future might find it a useful account about the rewards and challenges of tank troop leading.
While the book is a way to keep the memory alive of those who have "passed off the square too early" such as Cpl Lythgoe and SSM Skip Rae, John hopes that it will remind those who served in the Gulf with him of the various personalities of B Squadron, the 14/20 H, and educate and entertain those others who are interested.
If anyone would like to buy the book it is currently only available from the Amazon Kindle store. You can go to purchase it using this link and if you think it worthy, John would be grateful for a review: CLICK HERE.
KRH Association and serving members of the regiment.