Author Archives: hogdayafternoon

About hogdayafternoon

British/Canadian; Member of the human race, but not racing as fast as I used to...

Law and Order and Firearms – UK style

Quite a few years ago, back on The Mothership, I entered into one of the many debates prompted by Hizzoner. As I recall he attached a short press cutting that involved some sort of police deployment. The photograph showed officers from, I presume, a tactical team dressed in what was pretty much army drab cammo kit. The debate developed around the increasingly `para militarisation` of US police forces and sheriffs departments which many commenters on Neptunus Lex, including Hizzoner, felt was more than occasionally o.t.t. There were many comments, including my own slightly more lengthy description of  our close links with the SAS/SBS and other parts of the British Military. Civil police always have primacy in these circumstances.

I chipped in my £’s worth and explained that in the U.K. we work far more closely with our military (primarily Army and Royal Marines) than our American cousins under arrangements authorised by The Home Office and  referred to as MAC P (Military aide to the civil police), something that your guys are forbidden to do under The Constitution, hence your National Guard.

A guy I knew and met occasionally on joint forces firearms training and counter terrorist exercises has recently published his story. Ordinarily he would not have done so, but he became public property last year when he was indicted and tried for murder, ten years after an on-duty shooting that he and his team were involved with in arresting known drug dealers, including Colombians. The Intel reported that they had ready access to re-activated Mac 10’s as well as other semi automatic weapons and revolvers. Tony shot one of them dead during the hard stop his team conducted after the crime squad’s surveillance unit handed over to the Tactical Team to conduct the arrests. It always was a clean shoot, but his experiences at a Coroner’s Court inquest at the hands of the Coroner (a very important and historic legal position that used to report to and represent the Monarch ie The Crown, hence the name)  was not helpful. Our Coroners have very considerable powers and responsibilities and the position should not be confused with what you guys would know as a coroner. Tony appeared at The Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court) last year. After a trial lasting several weeks he was acquitted.

I’ve just finished the book, published earlier this year. It is the real deal, totally authentic and in no way sensationalised, for having met the guy and knowing several of his colleagues quite well, I can say that this was not his way. Tony followed my footsteps in South East London (he joined about 5 years after me) and reading some of the chapters was a real trip down my own memory lane. I commend the book to you if you have more than a passing interest in such things. Tony worked with his US equivalents. There are several honourable mentions`. The last time we met, he bought me a Chinese dinner. I owe him far more than that.

https://www.amazon.com/Lethal-Force-Life-Controversial-Marksman-ebook/dp/B01A7YX3XY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468920378&sr=1-1&keywords=lethal+force+tony+long#navbar

 

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Attention all hands – New Commander, USN

Congratulations `Whisper`. Splice the Mainbrace.

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In Memorium, from Suffolk, UK

Absent friends, not forgotten

Absent friends, not forgotten

Living where I do, I am surrounded by former air bases of the USAAF `Mighty Eighth`. I cannot go for a ride on my bike without passing, within a matter of 10 minutes, villages that were `home` to thousands of American servicemen. This photograph and the words below are those of Clive Stevens, an amateur historian whose home is on the edge of what was once one of those bases, near the village of Eye, Suffolk. Clive and I spoke at length a few years ago of our mutual interest in this particular piece of military history. It transpired that he came from the village that once housed officers and men of Easy Company, 506th PIR of the 101st Airborne. During the research for the HBO series `Band of Brothers`, Clive and his family met Stephen Ambrose, many of the production team and most importantly, members of those veterans of Easy Company who featured in that series. Some of this visit was captured on film and is available to view here.

On August 17th 1943, the US Eighth Air Force flying from England were to suffer one of their worst daylight combat missions of the war. By the end of the day, 60 Flying Fortress aircraft were missing, representing some 600 empty beds across the airfields of East Anglia. Out of those 600 missing airmen who had taken off that morning, many were to become Prisoners of War and many paid the ultimate price.

Whilst not wishing to disregard any of the units or men that participated in this terrible battle in the skies over Europe, the 100th Bomb Group (Thorpe Abbotts), 381st Bomb Group (Ridgewell), 390th Bomb Group (Framlingham) and the 91st Bomb Group (Bassingbourn) suffered the worst casualties of the day, with the 91st BG loosing 10 aircraft.

The photograph below shows a newly arrived 322nd Squadron crew to Bassingbourn in May 1943, in fact the pilot is still wearing his chino service cap, as this crew were not originally destined to come to England; their orders only being changed from an assignment to the Pacific Theatre at the 11th hour. The sadness as we study this photograph today is that the pilot (Lt Robert Schweitzer was killed flying with another crew over Emden and Lt Richard Martin (shown in the front row wearing his sheepskin B3 flying jacket 2nd right) was killed on this day over Schweinfurt when his B-17F Mizpah, was crippled by enemy attack.

Quoting from Ray Bowden’s excellent book ‘Plane Names & Fancy Noses’……………………………………………”The aircraft was repeatedly attacked by enemy fighters where they poured burst after burst of exploding 20mm cannon fire in the cockpit and walked machine gun bullets along the fuselage and into number 2 engine. The aircraft was seen going into a dive, loosing 1000 feet per minute but under control at 15,000 feet. But the inside of the plane was like a slaughter house with the pilot killed by 20mm fire and the co-pilot Lt George Bryan decapitated. The right waste gunner was dead as was the tail gunner. Miraculously five of the crew had survived and began to bail out, but the Navigator’s parachute (Lt Richard Martin – Shown) failed to deploy and he was later found dead. Mizpah ’til death us do part’ had proved a tragically apt choice of name for several of the crew.”

Bombardier James Harlow (second left), Captain C P Chima and the rest of the enlisted men shown survived the war. Spare a thought for the 600 men who never came home on that day, this month, seventy-two years ago.

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The last flying Vulcan bids Farewell to `little friends` from Lakenheath, Suffolk, UK

Earlier this week

and these too

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Royal International Air Tattoo, July 2015

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Polak always welcome in my house

A very good video from the Duxford Flying Legends weekend recently.

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RAF Fairford last weekend (RIAT)

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