Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland 1971-74

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9781909384071: Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland 1971-74
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"It's a very weird sensation to be shot at ...Very often you see the gunman when it's too late or you don't see him at all. You might as well just be targets on a rifle range. I often wondered if I would get through this tour ok, and even now I still do ..." In the four-month period during 1971 that Gunner Stephen Corbett was stationed in Andersontown, Northern Ireland, 33 servicemen were killed by terrorist action in the province. His unit, 9 (Plassey) Bty, Royal Artillery, was attacked by a bomb, bullet or rioters on more than 400 occasions. In 1972 alone, the toll of service personnel killed was more than 100. Yet their action was never classed as a war. When the servicemen returned home there were no marches through the streets to cheering crowds. They just quietly slipped in unnoticed and carried on with their other duties. The young Gunner's notebooks detailing his two tours of duty- Andersontown, November 1971 to March 1972, and New Lodge June 1974 to October 1974 - were put in a drawer where they were to lay, untouched, for more than 30 years. Here, for the first time, this account of his service is vividly brought to life and validated through newspaper articles, intelligence reports, and surviving examples of IRA propaganda. Share in the day-to-day life of a Gunner and his 'band of brothers' as they patrol the streets of this unforgiving suburban battleground. Relive the sights and sounds of the rioting and gun battles, and the devastating losses of fallen comrades Bernie Fearns and Kim Maccunn. Belfast Diaries offers a unique opportunity to see this conflicted city through the eyes of a serviceman charged with peace-keeping duties at the height of 'The Troubles'; a real 'must-read' for any Northern Ireland or British Army enthusiast.

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Review:

Steve Corbett was a soldier who completed two tours in Belfast during some of the worst years of the Troubles forty years ago. He has written a well paced and absorbing account of what was a most trying period of his life. With the aid of contemporary diaries he has brought to life the best and worst of his service with a huge slice of panache. Source: War History Online 31/03/2014

From the Publisher:

Steve Corbett has had a lifelong interest in military history and the collecting of artefacts from the Great War. At the age of twelve he joined the local Army Cadet unit in Hulme, Manchester and remained a member until he decided to join the Regular Army in 1969. After serving in Germany for two years – and completing two tours of duty in Northern Ireland – Steve finally left the Army in November 1974 and transferred to the reserves. He moved to Warrington with his wife Pam in 1977 and took up a career in the chemical industry. He retired early in 2001 and in 2008 decided to turn the diaries he kept while serving in Northern Ireland into a book: Belfast Diaries: A Gunner in Northern Ireland which was eventually published in July 2013 by Helion & Co. Steve still lives in Warrington where he spends much of his free time with his two daughters and two grandchildren.

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