"Iraqis are better clothed than we are" - Brits

loupaulsen at attbi.com loupaulsen at attbi.com
Thu Mar 27 12:15:15 MST 2003

[Tech note: should I be just doing the link for stories like this?  My worry
is that the story may not be retreivable with that link after a few hours or a
day.  On the other hand I don't want to hog the bandwidth unnecessarily.  I'll
throw in some money if appropriate.]

British troops prefer Iraqi boots to Her Majesty's standard issue

NEAR BASRA (AFP) - British soldiers have been scavenging the debris of war for
Iraqi army boots because the British army variety are disintegrating in the
hot desert sun.

Guardsman Lee Williams, 18, of the Desert Rats' Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
battle group, found a new pair of boots in an abandoned barracks which he said
were "lighter and more comfortable" than the British footwear.

He added that he had been forced to swap his footwear because no replacements
were available for his own disintegrating boots.

Equipment shortages have affected British forces since their arrival in the

Other soldiers are wearing patched-up combat trousers, repaired in one
instance by removing a pocket, and in another case by cutting up a colleague's
spare shirt.

Army officers concede there have been problems with supplies, partly because
of the relatively short time available between the announcement of British
deployment and the soldiers' arrival in the Gulf.

Guardsman Williams, from Birmingham, accepted that his footwear problems would
not prevent him fighting effectively, but said that he was disappointed that
he was having to wear Iraqi boots.

"I was in a prisoner of war camp two days ago in which there was an abandoned
barracks and I saw a room full of boots and clothing," he said.

"The English boots I had on were coming apart, they were the black ones, not
desert boots, and the sole on them was coming off because of the heat.

"So I picked up a pair of the Iraqi boots for myself. There were lots of them,
and they are more comfortable and lighter than the ones I was wearing.

"I'm not too keen about it for obvious reasons and I would not have believed
it if you'd have said that I would be wearing Iraqi boots before I came out

Another Irish Guard, Guardsman David Richardson, 22, from Manchester, has cut
up his own trousers in an attempt to repair holes in the crotch and backside.

"I've only got one pair of desert combats and they were issued second-hand
with tears in them which have got worse since I got here," he said. "I've had
to cut my pocket out to make patches to cover up the holes. It's embarrassing.

"The Iraqi army seems to be better clothed than we are. We are supposed to
look like professional soldiers, but we don't. I look like a tramp."

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