Craig Lawrence author, military historian and lecturer in strategy



​​​​Operation KEELING

In February 2003, elements of 2RGR, the UK Spearhead Lead Element (SLE) Battalion at the time, deployed to Sierra Leone with other elements of 19 Brigade and HMS Iron Duke, to deter a possible coup when the International Special Court went ahead with arresting key Sierra Leonian political figures (including the Minister of the Interior/head of the powerful Kamajors). One surprising feature of the deployment was the request that the Battalion, which was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ian Thomas at the time, conduct a 'whip round' in order to raise US$ 2,000 for landing fees so the tri-star aircraft in which they were travelling back to the UK could refuel in Dakar.