An Ordinary Soldier
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15th November 2010

For the past three months Doug has been living and fighting in the Nad-e-Ali district of Helmand. Based in the Saidebad area, he is once again in the thick of the action.

Tragically one of his men - a young ranger - was killed over the weekend by an IED. Just before the incident Doug had penned an article for The Times describing what the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month means to those on tour in Afghanistan.

25th July 2010

Doug gets a mention from Max Hastings in the Mail on Sunday. In an article titled 'Why we should salute Britain's warrior class' the journalist and author says of Doug:

"Compare and contrast Chappell’s misery with the words of Captain Doug Beattie of the Royal Irish Regiment, who won a Military Cross in the fight of his life in Afghanistan in 2006.

‘The truth is, I went to Lashkar Gah because I wanted to,’ he said.

‘I happily accepted the challenge. I wanted the chance of some glory, the opportunity to take the fight to the enemy…

‘In the heat of the battle, when I was consumed by fear, when all I wanted to do was turn away, I made my choices and I got the job done.’

This is the authentic voice of a professional warrior — which is, of course, what the men of today’s British Army are.

Strange as it seems to many civilians in our risk-averse society where health & safety rules, some young men choose a life of adventure in uniform — and accept that it may cost them their lives"

1st June 2010

Doug defends the British mission in Afghanistan in an article penned for The Times.
13th April 2010

"The lure of Afghanistan is too much to resist for Captain Doug Beattie, the decorated veteran, who plans to return to Helmand as a reservist less than two years after quitting the Army."

This is how The Times announces Doug Beattie's decision to return to Afghanistan for a third tour, this time as a TA soldier.
4th November 2009

Following the killing of five British soldiers by a rogue Afghan policemen Doug, writing in the Guardian, describes his experience of mentoring the ANP and how the Taliban have infiltrated the organisation.
19th May 2011

The Queen's visit to Ireland - a perspective:

"For an Irishman 1916 is synonymous with one event – the Easter uprising during which courageous and determined men fought to throw off the shackles of the British Empire. At the time another group of equally courageous and determined men in arms was fighting for the British Empire. Amongst the blood and filth of Belgian and French battlefields a succession of volunteers – for there was no conscription in Ireland – risked their lives for King and Country.
"Many were members of the Ulster Volunteer Force, a now-proscribed organisation. On 1 July 1916 thousands of them lost their lives on the Somme as members of the 36th Ulster Division struggled through the mud towards German positions; soldiers of the 16th Irish Division perished elsewhere along the front: men from both sides of what is now the Irish border, fighting for what they believed in, an ideal of a single great Kingdom. Yet for those lucky enough to eventually return home there was far from a warm welcome. They had come to represent the worst of an oppressive regime.
"Many of the regiments that fought during the Great War have disappeared from the military landscape: the Connaught Rangers, Dublin Fusiliers, the old Irish Regiment, but their sacrifice – and that of those from Ireland who served with the British Army during the Second World War even though their nation remained neutral - continues to be recognised and remembered.

"During the Queen’s landmark visit to Ireland she lay a wreath in memory of Ireland’s war dead. But her actions were not without current significance for even today, ninety odd years since independence, men from the Republic fight in Her Majesty’s name. In my regiment – the Royal Irish – there are well over 100 men from south of the border serving. Most have recently returned from Afghanistan, putting their lives on the line for a British Monarch.

"They hold dual nationality - possessing both Irish and British passports - and they are an integral part of our history and our flavour. The treacle accent of a man from Belfast can be heard beside the sweet sound of a Dubliner, both men serving together, living together and fighting together. The conflicts of the past, the hurt and injustice, are absent from the relationship.
Watching the Queen’s visit I am proud to say I am an Irishman from Northern Ireland. I can also say I am a British citizen and proud to wear the Queen’s uniform. For me, as for the majority of my Royal Irish colleagues, there is no contradiction."
30th April 2011

Doug Beattie calls for battle honours to be awarded to military units that fought in the Helmand campaign. His comments are reported by the Press Association and widely covered in the media including by the BBC.

Doug said that more than 50 Royal Navy ships, Army regiments and RAF squadrons received honours approved by the Queen for their involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but the fighting in Helmand in southern Afghanistan was more worthy of official recognition because, at its worst, it was far fiercer than anything seen in the initial phases of the Iraq war.

"It's quite strange, to a degree. They don't give out battle honours for things like we're doing in Helmand.

"Should they give out Helmand as a battle honour, particularly for those who served there in 2006? Yes, because it's clearly the hardest fight we've had for the past 30 or 40 years."

Battle honours represent official acknowledgement of the part played by ships, units and squadrons in a successful campaign or engagement, and become part of their historical record. They are separate from the campaign medals awarded to individual servicemen and women who deploy on operations.
30th March 2011

Watch Doug tell of his latest experiences in Afghanistan - his 13th operational tour - on BFBS. 
20th March 2011

Having completed his third (and final?) tour of Afghanistan Doug has returned to the UK.
4th March 2011

"The Taliban marksman was off his game. The bullet landed short at the feet of a young soldier it was meant to kill." Doug writes his latest dispatch from Helmand for the Channel 4 News website.
28th February 2011

"A giant of a man."

These are the words used by Colonel Bob Seddon, the former commanding officer of Staff Sgt Olaf Schmid, to describe the bomb disposal expert killed in Sangin whose inquest has recently been held.

It is a fitting tribute to a fiercely brave man.

But for every one or two Improvised Explosive Devices - so called roadside bombs - found by specialist high risk teams several more are unearthed by the skill and concentration of the ordinary soldier, says Doug writing for the Channel 4 News website.

10th February 2011

As the war in Afghanistan approaches a milestone, Doug writes from the Helmand frontline on how progress only comes with a price paid by both soldiers and the local population.
18th January 2011

For British troops in Afghanistan - and soldiers everywhere - the first battle to win is with themselves. Doug writes again for Channel Four News.
23rd December 2010

As the war rages in Afghanistan Doug writes from the frontline for Channel 4 News on how efforts to provide basic necessities for the local population affect the success of the insurgency.
23rd December 2010

The Afghan tour of 1 R IRISH in pictures on the Channel 4 News website.
1st December 2010

Doug has been asked to start contributing to the Channel 4 News website. His first piece explains the difficulty of leaving behind family and friends for a tour of duty.

copyright Doug Beattie 2008
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