A senior army officer serving in Iraq, who voiced concerns over a lack of armoured vehicles for his men, has resigned. Details of the resignation emerged just days after another of Lt Col Nick Henderson's soldiers was killed in a bomb attack in Basra.
Last month the 43-year old commanding officer of 1st Bn Coldstream Guards, who is married with children, made a request to senior officers for extra Warrior armoured personnel carriers.
It is understood that Lt Col Henderson, whose battalion is responsible for security in the southern Iraqi capital of Basra, was concerned that Land Rovers did not offer his men enough protection from terrorist bomb attacks, which have left nine soldiers dead since May. It is unclear whether that request was authorised.
Lt Col Henderson is a highly rated officer who joined the Coldstream Guards in 2003 after transferring from the cavalry. Early in his career he was identified as a high flier and won a place at the Army Staff college, where future senior commanders are taught high-level tactics and strategy. Last night it emerged that Lt Col Henderson had taken voluntary redundancy.
He was said to have been devastated by the death last week of Sgt Christian Hickley, 30, who took the full force of a blast while carrying out a route clearance operation. Sgt Hickley, from West Yorkshire, was due to leave Iraq in the next few days to be reunited with his 24-year-old wife and young son.
He was the third of Lt Col Henderson's soldiers to have been killed in terrorist attacks in recent weeks.
In Al Amarah, 200 miles north of Basra, one of the most dangerous areas under British control, troops no longer travel in Land Rovers, using either Warriors or helicopters to conduct operations. The Army believes that insurgents are using a new type of explosive and a sophisticated detonating device which can easily destroy armoured Land Rovers.Or maybe our own troops are supposed to take comfort in the fact that no-one has the equipment they need.