News Round-Up – September 2nd 2017

British army afghanistan

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.

General News

PM calls for closer defence ties with Japan following North Korea threat
(Forces Network)

Bahrain to get ex-RAF C-130Js
(IHS Jane’s 360)

Miami murders: Court orders release of MoD and PSNI security files
(BBC News)

British Army News

UK special forces to join Trump’s Afghanistan troop surge
(Press TV)

Dramatic footage shows moment British Army paratrooper jumps from dizzying heights
(Evening Standard)

British Army Gurkha ‘super-tracker’ hunting poachers in Gabon to save last remaining elephants

Army bomb team disposes of historic hand grenade in Dublin
(Newstalk 106-108fm)

Photograph capturing the spirit of the British Army nominated for National Award
(Forces Network)

Family members who had relatives killed by British Army during Troubles stage sit-in protest at Museum of Free Derry
(Derry Now)

Royal Air Force News

RAF’s close combat unit opens to women for the first time
(BBC News)

RAF Typhoons and Tornados take out ISIS jihadis travelling in a truck in Iraq
(Daily Mail)

RAF fighters reinforce NATO Baltic air policing in Estonia
(IHS Jane’s 360)

Wreckage of WWII RAF plane that helped drive the Nazis from Norway is found by cable-laying boat at the bottom of the North Sea 70 years after it vanished without trace
(Daily Mail)

The RAF Photographic Competition 2017, in pictures

New home to save RAF Museum of Firefighting in Lincolnshire
(Lincolnshire Live)

Royal Navy & Marines News

Ministry of Defence names head of Trident nuclear submarine programme
(NW Evening Mail)

Royal Navy sends just one (casualty) ship to showpiece sea and air event

“Lessons have been learned”: Royal Navy’s second aircraft carrier prepares for big day
(The Courier)

The Royal Navy’s next ‘frigate’ is not a frigate
(War Is Boring)

Ocean life inspires new Royal Navy submarine concepts
(The Engineer)

Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.


Operation Motorman


Operation Motorman was a military operation carried out by the British Army in Northern Ireland. It took place on the morning of the 31st July 1972 and involved the use of Centurion AVRE tanks to break down barricades erected in Belfast and Derry. The barricades were erected to segregate Nationalist (Catholic) and Loyalist (Protestant) communities. The first barricades were put up in 1969 around an area of Derry where there were large numbers of Nationalists living in what became known as “Free Derry”. The barricades were put up to stop Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) patrols and this lead to a three day clash between both sides in what is now known as the Battle of the Bogside.

The barricades of “Free Derry” were taken down but it set a tone for the future as more areas in Belfast and Derry erected barricades and by 1972 there were 29 of these segregated areas that were effectively under IRA and Nationalist control. Both factions of the IRA (provisional and official) patrolled these areas and enjoyed widespread support. For London the situation was intolerable and the Army was instructed to destroy the barricades and regain control.


Seven Centurion AVRE engineering vehicles and upto 100 armoured vehicles such as the Saracen 6×6 APC were involved in the operation. The operation was carried out swiftly so as to limit the ability of the Nationalists to respond. A battle was not wanted by either side as this would no doubt cause horrendous civilian casualties; the British Army were still smarting from the “Bloody Sunday” tragedy and didn’t want a repeat while the IRA didn’t want to risk their own people’s lives and possibly suffer their own backlash from a high casualty rate. The IRA dispersed while the British Army took down the barricades with the only resistance being the odd rock or bottle thrown at the vehicles.

Sadly, what could have been a relatively bloodless end to this chapter of the history of Northern Ireland was not to be as a fifteen year old boy and his cousin were shot as they climbed a wall to watch the tanks demolishing barricades in Derry. The boy was killed while his cousin was wounded. One IRA member was shot and died a short time later while numerous arrests were made by the RUC in Belfast and Derry.