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
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
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!