Brian Wood - Big Interview

Date: Friday May 24, 2019 at 11:12am

Thank you for agreeing to speak with NCNB today…You served in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, how long did you serve for and what made you chose to join the Army?  

I’m a former Colour Sergeant, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. I joined the Army to follow in my families foot steps, we have over 100 years unbroken service in the British Army. My Grandad fought in the second world war, my father served for 22 years and my brother is still serving in The Royal Regiment of Scotland.  

What was your time like serving in the Military?

During a 16-year military career, I led British troops across the spectrum of battle: from training to fighting; from operations in the Balkans to high-intensity combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. My time spent in the Military was incredible. I travelled the world, played sport and went on a number of operational tours; 2 in Kosovo, 2 in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan.

Travelling is nothing unusual to the Armed Forces, deploying to places that your normal person would not go to. What is the most memorable place you have travelled?

Iraq was the most memorable location for me. 2004 was the uprising in Al Amarah and the tempo of fighting was something I have never experienced before, it was insane. Brazil was also a country I will always remember. The Army football team went on tour out there and it was incredible. As a lover of football this was top draw.

   

You have done some incredibly brave and extraordinary things throughout your Military career, tell us more about this.

I have served with some amazing soldiers who have displayed courage and bravery that would be admired by anyone. You can’t achieve anything alone on the battlefield! The Battle of Danny Boy saw soldiers from C Company 1 PWRR conduct close quarter fighting against a Militia that out gunned and out numbered us. If I’m honest, how none of us were injured or killed that day is beyond me!

What was it like having to lead your men into enemy positions, knowing you may be out gunned and outnumbered?

I was a young LCpl with limited experience but understood mission command. We left the armoured vehicle and launched a counter attack on the militia ambush. With courage and belief, the enemy position was defeated after 3 hours.

You were awarded the Military Cross by Her Majesty The Queen II, what emotions did you go through?

Proud to have my parents and wife with me. I was very nervous before I received the Military Cross from HM Queen Elizabeth. As she pinned it on my chest she told me to wear it with pride.

Who has had the biggest impact on your life?

My wife for putting up with me and being an all-round legend. My father for being there for me when things got difficult during the Al-Sweady inquiry.

You have recently released your book, “Double Crossed: A code of Honour, A Complete Betrayal” tell us more about what people can read about within the book.

At the age of 23, I was thrust into the front line in Iraq, in the infamous Battle of Danny Boy. Ambushed, we charged across open ground with insurgents firing at just five of us. On my return, I was awarded the Military Cross.   But my story had only just begun. Struggling to re-integrate into family life, I suffered from PTSD.

Then, five years later, a letter arrived: it summoned me to give evidence at the Al-Sweady Inquiry into allegations of war crimes by British soldiers during the Iraq invasion of 2003. After years of public shame, I took the stand and delivered a powerful testimony, and following the tense inquiry room scenes, justice was finally served. Phil Shiner, the lawyer who made the false accusations, was struck off and stripped of an honorary doctorate.

I speak openly about the three battles in my life, from being ambushed with no cover, to the mental battle adjusting at home, to being falsely accused of hideous war crimes. It’s a remarkable and dark curve which ends with my honour restored but, it was too little, too late.  

   

You are also a public speaker, what is it like to be able to tell your story to so many people?

For me its cathartic telling my story, I think it’s important people hear what really happened during the Battle of Danny Boy and all that followed. I talk about my mental battle and the reasons why it took me so long to reach out for support. If telling my story can help just one person, I have achieved my aim.

What drives Brian Wood?

My family and helping people really drive me. I also try and help as many service leavers and veterans as possible. I know how hard the transition from military to civilian is so I try to help as and when I can.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, any final words or wisdom you would like to share with the Armed Forces Community for 2019?

Never give up when you encounter setbacks. Stay in the fight!

Comments

» There aren't any comments for this post yet. Why not be the first to comment?

Leave a Comment

Your Name  
Email Address  
(kept hidden)
Website
Comment  
So that we can check that you are a real person (and not a crafty computer), please answer the simple sum below:  
What is 20 - 1 ? Your Answer