Saturday, 28 February 2015

Rwanda again

Just a few days ago I posted

I got a reply, and after an email chat this is the summary I was sent

I saw your blog by accident whilst researching some facts about the tour of duty we did.
I was with the Infantry Unit (2 PWRR) that supported 23PFA during the deployment. I remember they had several field Ambulances with them.

We also had some 4 tonne Bedford's which were left behind and given to the local authorities. I think some vehicles were returned home afterwards either by airfreight or via boats, but cannot be sure. I suspect yours would have been returned as it was an Ambulance. 
Those dates are certainly correct for the deployment for that tour. The vehicles were likely allocated to 23 PFA from a pool on permanent 'Standby' for such Operations at the time (21 yrs ago, how time flies)

We were all in 5 Airborne Brigade at the time and went on very short notice, with summer leave cancelled and straight after 7 months in N Ireland !! It was one of those tours that wasn't really public knowledge, although the circumstances of what had happened were.

We didn't mind though as we were doing our job, and thrived on it.

For the first few weeks, The Ambulances were used in various locations, going out from our patrol bases at Cyangugu (close to the Burundi border) and Kigali (The capital) on daily convoys to various refugee camps, where aid stations were set up and many thousands of people treated. We also went to Zaire (Now The DR of Congo) several times.

Aid stations were set up daily for the first few weeks, going to the more rural locations where the medics did their bit for 3-6 hours before we packed up and returned to our base. After about a month, we only went to about 3 big refugee camps each day, each with thousands of people in. A convoy of about 6 vehicles to each camp.
I'm sure your vehicle had helped many thousands of people during that tour. They were often treated inside the ambulances. I saw some remarkable field surgery myself, and although there in an Infantry role (Protecting the medics etc etc) we were allowed to get hands on and help the medics with most things. The medics were all brilliant, as were the Royal Engineers who rebuilt schools, bridges etc etc ... 
What was the military registration number of your vehicle? I'll have a look through my photos as you never know I may have a pic !!! I'll dig them out and have a look.
I hope that gives you a slight insight into what we did out there. An interesting tour to say the least !!

It did give quite a bit of insight .. wonderful think this world wide web and I thank Justin for his input

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Did Katy go to Rwanda?

When I bought Katy there were a couple of the eBay pictures that leapt out

The ones that were obviously from Africa, but a question arises below as to whether this was her first time on "The Dark Continent"

As readers of this blog will be aware it's not just this post conversion history that I've been researching, but also her Military history and I've been able to confirm that she was used as an actual ambulance in Croatia

Since then I have been looking into another event on her history card which says from 29th July 1994 to 29th November 1994 she was allocated to 23 PARA FIELD AMBULANCE

So what is this

I have determined that 23 PARACHUTE FIELD AMBULANCE RAMC did humanitarian work in Rwanda in 1994 in OPERATION GABRIEL in what sounds like an awful situation. It is recorded here and with a fuller write up

in that write-up it is noted that
On 30 July, after only 5 days preparation in Aldershot, the advance elements of the contingent, arrived at Kigali airport on the outskirts of the capital.
and later
Op GABRIEL lasted until November 1994, after which it was withdrawn
The dates of that action ties up well with the date of Katy's allocation to that unit. It would be wonderful if she was involved there as well.

Just like Croatia the actual events seem horrible, but to know that Katy was a lifesaver makes it even more important that she's on the road and that in places like this humble blog there is continued recognition of the humanitarian works our Armed forces have done

If anyone reading this has any actual information please leave a comment or use the contact form on the right if you would prefer to make a personal rather than a public comment

Sunday, 1 February 2015

From Green to White and back to Green and Green and Pink and White

Sometimes you have to just stand back and take a look

That was the best way to look at Katy this morning as the winter weather has not been kind

The trouble is the quality of her paintwork, it's matt, and flaky and is a perfect home for the slimiest of algae

So out with the pressure washer and up on the roof (no point in starting at the bottom is there) and from there on inch by inch i washed the green slime off.

You would think that's where the white comes in and it does for a few minutes, but then the really poor state of the paintwork comes in to play and the layers below start appearing as sections of white are literally blasted off to reveal a multitude of layers beneath.

Dark NATO Green in places
Light NATO undercoat where that also flakes off
White where we've reached some of the UN layer
Pink where some form of modern undercoat was used as some form of barrier paint

It's all going to have to come off some time for a proper respray

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