Stuart Tootal commanded 3 Para on their first detachment to Afghanistan.

His book, Danger Close has just been published and I have just finished reading my copy. I found myself exclaiming "Bloody Hell!" (or similar words) every time I turned a page as Stuart described the almost continuous fire fights that their "peace keeping mission" turned into once they had hit the ground in Hellmund.

I appreciate that it is essentially an army account but his comments on air support were most interesting. Sufficient to say that the close helicopter support they received from the RAF and the helicopter and air support they received from the Americans merited his grateful thanks and acknowlegement of their courage under fire. Other air operations were greeted with a diminished level of enthusiasm!

...and as to the medical support the injured received in Birmingham...don't start me off again!

In view of the continuing problems we are encountering in that country, this book should be compulsory reading for anyone who wants to hear the inside story. I can but hope that a few of the enormous number of non-combatants at the MOD manage to pick up a copy on their way to the dangers of the golf course.

Published by John Murray. On sale for around 15 and worth every penny.

Bob Osborne. Mid Sussex Branch.