Families and Home Front
The connection between the Troops abroad and the UK was perhaps stronger than any other war to date. The 1st Gulf War was heavily televised and with the advance of satellite technology, the world could see the impact of action in a way that it had rarely seen before. Broadcasting companies were keen to get as much coverage as they were given permission for.
QDG definitely experienced the impact of this. There were many interviews given, pictures taken and footage recorded throughout their period of acclimatisation and training. This included a visit from Simon Bates (Radio 1) whilst in Manifa Bay and a visit from Kate Adie just before Christmas in order for QDG to appear on the Christmas Eve 'Songs of Praise'. Each of these were great morale boosters!
Lance-Corporal Jones looking after Kate Adie
'Simon Bates pre-Christmas visit'
The Regiment also actively retained links with the Squadron at home; the first rugby match against the US Marines was filmed and sent back to those members still in Germany.
A big morale booster for the Troops were the letters sent from home. This came in the form of parcels and 'bluey' letters from loved ones or well wishing members of the public. One member of QDG met his future wife through a bluey exchange!
"There's the rather amusing tale of course, as soon as the Brits got into the desert, all the Brits thought it would be a really good idea if they put a little bit of sand in the blueys just to send a bit of the sand home to their wives and loved ones, just to show what's happening in the desert. Well, of course, I don't know, the several thousand British soldiers all putting a bit of sand into a bluey, as soon as the bluey got to the automatic sorting office in Mill Hill, it then clogged up with desert sand which I thought was rather amusing." - George Clegg.
Celebrity Signed Letter of Appreciation
"Dear Member of our Forces in the Gulf
We wish we could write to each one of you personally, but as I am sure you understand, the circumstances prevent us from doing so. However, we do want to let you know that both you and your loved ones are very much in your thoughts.
We very much appreciate your tremendous courage, commitment and dedication in what we fully realise for you and your colleagues in the other Services is an extremely hazardous time.
We, in common with millions of British people, send you our love and we pray for your sage and speedy return to your homes and families.
We are overjoyed with the recent news, and hope this means that you'll me returning home sooner than we'd all dared hope."
Post-War and Return
Immediately after the end of the war, 'A' Squadron were told to re-join the 16th/5th Lancers, although they were to remain part of 7th Armoured Brigade.
Moving on the 4th March, the weather was extremely bad so the Squadron leaguered for the night; the next day, before they could join the Lancers, they were ordered back to 7 Brigade. The Squadron Leader reported that there was 'much relief as this was undoubtedly the fastest route home.'
6th of March Prime Minister Visit
On the 6th March approximately thirty of 'A' Squadron participated in a parade at the 7 Brigade Headquarters, which was addressed by the Prime Minister. Following the parade, the Squadron went east to camp near the Brigade HQ.
On the 13th March the Squadron demonstrated the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) vehicles to the local states.
All equipment was handed over by this date - a, reportedly, relatively easy process!
The Squadron then spent two more days at Camp 4, Al Jubail, before then being driven to Dhahran and flown back to Hanover by British Airways.
Clean Up Before Returning Home
After The Ceasefire
After the ceasefire was announced on the 28th February, the United Nations passed Resolution 687 on the 32d April 1991, which was accepted by Iraq on the 6th. Yet over the following decade there were frequent occasions where Saddam Hussain breached these terms.
The First Gulf War is often remembered for its many new technologies and ways of fighting, from chemical warfare to GPS systems. It can undoubtedly be linked to the specifics of future battle strategies and perhaps future terrorism in the West. Lt. General Sir Simon Mayall links the British leaving Iraq quickly to future wars in his book, Soldier in the Sand (2020).
'…the same domestic imperatives to get us out quickly impacted on the negotiations at Safwan. These left major deficiencies in the final agreement, which was not subject to the right level of scrutiny and which contributed to Saddam remain in in power… In 1998 President Clinton was forced to initiate Operation Desert Fox…'
Simon Mayall, Soldier in the Sand (Pen and Sword, 2020), p. 161.
Yet the contributions to this exhibition have demonstrated that the most pertinent legacy lies with the impact it had on those who took part. After returning home, members of QDG who took part in the Gulf War were awarded the Gulf Medal.
QDG were also awarded the right to hold the 'Gulf 1991' battle honour on their Regimental Standard.
The war is remembered widely in both the United States and the United Kingdom, including by a commemorative memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum (Staffordshire) dedicated to the 42 British men who lost their lives during this war.
Whatever memorials are established, it is sure that for a long time to come, the war will be remembered most vividly by those who were there. It is to their honour that this exhibition is dedicated.