Copyright Heroes Past and Present

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Heroes Past & Present

Paul joined the Junior Leaders in the Army once he left school. He was in the Royal Corps of Transport. He had always enjoyed driving things like tractors and bikes so took the opportunity to be a driver in

the Army.

He thrived on being in a regimented environment and enjoyed having the structured way of life. However, at 16, a few of his colleagues found it incredibly difficult. They had gone in with an unrealistic view of how things would be and didn’t even realise there would be people there shouting at them. He has known people to go to extreme lengths when parents wouldn’t sign their discharge papers and even resorted to self harm to get out of the Army. He found the training hard – very hard but great fun.


In 1990 he was involved in moving tanks and equipment to Cyprus and then Saudi Arabia even before the conflict started.

At 18 he was deployed to the Gulf War. Being young, the fear didn’t kick in. He says “You just did it. If you had to put your respirator on you did it, if you were fired upon you return fire!”

They had a number of skirmishes and it was more the guerrilla insurgents that were the problem. People would pop up from behind dunes. In a population which carries weapons it was hard to tell who was the enemy. There were people with home-made petrol bombs. Even when the war was finished you still got that with pockets of resistance.

A lot of the Iraqis were very young and poorly equipped. But when they have a helmet on the same and they are shooting at you, you don’t see them as very young people but with hindsight some of them were very, very young.



More Reading

Paul Leigh

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Interviews with heroes

Gulf Personal Tales

This is a long video interview, but very engaging.

Steven McLaughlin

John Crighton