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From Michael Yon's latest dispatch

Posted by Helen Thursday, November 29, 2007

I am intruding on my colleague's territory in that this posting is linked to defence matters. Nevertheless, I feel that our readers who may not see Michael Yon's dispatches regularly might like to read this passage from his account of action by 4 Rifles in Basra and the immediate aftermath.

The Smith of the tale is Pte Smith, driver of a Warrior that had been attacked, who had suffered severe burns.

Smith spent several months in the UK recuperating from his burns before returning to the war. Like the mechanics Burns and Miller, his courage under fire was unsung. As for recognition at home, the British soldiers say that it rarely happens, but they did tell me about one lady who gives them great moral support. They say she writes a handwritten letter to every wounded soldier in 4 Rifles. She writes a handwritten letter to every family of a soldier who is lost. She writes letters to the battalion often.

She is a wealthy woman who sends hundred-dollar bottles of scotch to wounded soldiers in 4 Rifles, and she will even present their medals on 14 December 2007 in the U.K. Who is this lady? She is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, wife to the Prince of Wales, the future King of England, and she supports 4 Rifles as their Royal Colonel. One soldier expressed the sentiment of many when he told me, “she’s so busy, yet finds time to handwrite all those letters to our wounded and families.” Another soldier told me that she even invited the families to her home.
My colleague will point out that none of that matters as much as getting the right equipment to the troops and I agree - up to a point. People doing their duty and doing it with charm and ease also matters.

Read Yon's account.