British NCO served with 27th Field Regt, Royal Artillery in Germany, 1989-1990; went Absent Without Leave prior to deployment to Gulf and returned to GB, 12/1990.
REEL 1 Background in GB, 1962-1986: family; education; employment. Aspects of enlistment and training with Royal Artillery in GB, 1986: terms of service on enlistment; basic training at Woolwich; first posting to Bergen-Hohne Garrision, Germany. Aspects of period as gunner with 27th Field Regt, Royal Artillery in Germany, 1989-1990: military and political situation; reaction to removal of Berlin Wall, 11/1989; awareness of crisis in Gulf; volunteering for service in Saudi Arabia and opinion of training; reaction to briefing about Arabs; incident of being reprimanded for criticising army; driving ambulances during ambulance strike in GB; attitude to system of British military justice and reasons for deciding to go Absent Without Leave.
REEL 2 Continues: opinion of Michael Harbottle's statement on soldiers' rights; question of reforms needed to military system including problem of leaving prior to end of service; story of going Absent Without Leave before deployment to Gulf, 28/12/1990; opinion of Saddam Hussein and Western Allies; question of cowardice and need to justify decision; opinion of British Army counselling provisions and padres.
REEL 3 Continues: Aspects of period in Germany and GB, 1990-1991: attitude to treatment of conscientious objectors by British Army; alternatives offered to fighting in Gulf; further description of going Absent Without Leave in Germany and GB; reaction of family; question of being put under surveillance; reason for wanting to go public over decision; reaction to outbreak of Gulf War hostilities; first contacts with anti-war movement; media coverage of case; reaction to being charged with desertion; public support for actions; release on bail, 8/1991; attitude to possible prison sentence; reason for not naming helpers; support from anti-war movement during rally in Hyde Park, London, 2/2/1991.
REEL 4 Continues: attitude to progress of Gulf War; activities with organisations Reservists Against the War and At Ease; support recieved from other soldiers; story of giving himself up at Rochester Road Barracks, 9/3/1991; interview and charges; reason for being transferred to military prison; description of conditions in solitary confinement and morale during period of close arrest.
REEL 5 Continues: attitude to impending court martial; story of refusing to undergo psychiatric treatment; opinion of defence lawyer Jim Nichol; question of pay; formation of the Defence Campaign Fund; role of Amnesty International in case; support from Members of Parliament and media; effect of case on other soldiers who went Absent Without Leave; further comments on being charged with desertion; opinion of British Army and question of being imprisoned for beliefs.