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Operation Telic

First-hand accounts from members of the QARANC who served in Iraq during Op Telic

The codename for the UK forces in Iraq between 19 March 2003 and withdrawal of all our troops on 22 May 2011 was Operation Telic. As with the first Gulf War, members of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps nursed on the frontline. Here are their stories:

Op Telic Major QARANC

When QAs Major Alan Taberner and Captain Linda Marshall were deployed as part of Op Telic 4 ballroom and salsa dancing, love and marriage were the last thing on their minds. They met in April 2004 when they were both mobilised and deployed to work in the 200 strong Multi National Division (South East) Field Hospital (MND (SE) Fd Hosp) based in Shaibah near Basra with the lead Unit being 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital. This was augmented by other Territorial Army and Regular members of the Army Medical Services. This resulted in Linda being deploying from her 201 (Northern) Field Hospital to join the MND (SE) Fd Hosp.

Combats Captain QARANC Holding SA80 rifle

This large logistics base in the middle of the dessert 10K south of Basra city was an unlikely basis for a loving relationship but in the four months they worked together their friendship blossomed into love.

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PTSD assistance dog Lynne book

My PTSD assistance dog, Lynne, and I have written a book about how she helps me with my military Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression. I talk about my time in the QAs and the coping strategies I now use to be in my best health.

Along the way, I have had help from various military charities, such as Help for Heroes and The Not Forgotten Association and royalties from this book will go to them and other charities like Bravehound, who paired me with my four-legged best friend.

I talk openly about the death of my son by suicide and the help I got from psychotherapy and counselling and grief charities like The Compassionate Friends.

The author, Damien Lewis, said of Lynne:

"A powerful account of what one dog means to one man on his road to recovery. Both heart-warming and life-affirming. Bravo Chris and Lynne. Bravo Bravehound."


Buy the Paperback.

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This beautiful QARANC Poppy Pin Badge is available from the Royal British Legion Poppy Shop.

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Major Taberner was in command of the Field Mental Health Team which saw him move to different locations in Southern Basra to support the troops where ever they were based. Captain Marshall served as a surgical ward nurse within the field hospital and during her tour was based in the Medical Centre in Baghdad for a week.

The heat, stress, challenging conditions , hard work and mutual hobby of dancing saw their friendship grow and they were married locally at home in a military wedding ceremony on Saturday 30 June 2007 at Haigh Hall, Wigan. It included comrades from 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital and an Honour Guard of six fellow officers who all served in Iraq. They formed an arch of swords for the happy couple to walk through. There was also a contribution via an excellent drum display by the Lancashire Fusiliers Association Corps of Drums which helped them to commemorate the occasion.

Sword of Honour Marriage QARANC

Alan explains how they met:

It is amazing the resilience of people in draining conditions and how we were still able to occupy ourselves. Being a ballroom dancer in my other life, I set up weekly 'combat salsa' lessons in a portacabin called the HAREM (hospital all ranks entertainment mess) that was very well attended - something to do in down time, and it helped our fitness. I must have an identity crisis struggling between macho - soldiering and dancing, you be the judge. It was interesting to see the many soldiers, officers and civilian support staff in attendance proving that even the military can dance. I am not a dance teacher but knew a few steps and generally flew by the 'seat of my pants'. Linda and I met via these dance lessons. On learning that I danced ballroom in competition back home, some of the attendees wanted to learn more and so I taught them basic waltz steps later in the tour. Linda and I became friends and it all started from there. The relationship only took off when we got back and Linda later moved over to the North West.

On returning from Iraq romance blossomed and we both decided that our future was to be together, which resulted in Linda moving to Wigan and transferring from her Unit in the North East (Sunderland) to '207'. We are still both committed members of the TA and two and half years after we first met I proposed to Linda at her 50th birthday party.

Linda said:

He asked me three times before I answered because I was just in shock! We do lead an exciting life and that's what I love. We love doing competition ballroom dancing and Latin American dancing. I am also planning to ride a motorbike and Alan has got me a 600 Suzuki - I am going to be a lady biker!

Mess Dress QARANC Male Female Officer

Alan explains:

Lots of positive came out of Op Telic 4 for us both, that included unique operational experience, life reflection and our relationship, and we hope that you enjoyed reading a part of our story!

At home in Standish Alan is now a local Community Mental Health Nurse and Linda is a Health Visitor for Ashton, Leigh and Wigan PCT, and both are still active members of the QARANC where both serve as Territorial Army officers in 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital (Volunteers), based at its headquarters in Stretford. . They are taking part in competition Ballroom and Latin dancing which sees them competing around Britain, most recently in London - all from bizarre first steps in Iraq.

Photographs, courtesy of Stephen Taberner, Alan's brother.

Read the love story page for more beautiful romantic stories from QAs.

If you would like to contribute any info, photographs or share your memories of Operation Telic then please contact me.

New post apocalyptic military survival thriller

Former Royal Air Force Regiment Gunner Jason Harper witnesses a foreign jet fly over his Aberdeenshire home. It is spilling a strange yellow smoke. Minutes later, his wife, Pippa, telephones him, shouting that she needs him. They then get cut off. He sets straight out, unprepared for the nightmare that unfolds during his journey. Everyone seems to want to kill him.

Along the way, he pairs up with fellow survivor Imogen. But she enjoys killing the living dead far too much. Will she kill Jason in her blood thirst? Or will she hinder his journey through this zombie filled dystopian landscape to find his pregnant wife?

The Fence is the first in this series of post-apocalyptic military survival thrillers from the torturous mind of former British army nurse, now horror and science fiction novel writer, C.G. Buswell.

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Buy the Paperback.

If you would like to contribute to this page, suggest changes or inclusions to this website or would like to send me a photograph then please e-mail me.

Free Book Operation wrath

Free Book.
The death of the Brotherhood will be avenged.
RAF gunner Jason Harper and a team of Special Air Service operators are enraged after the death of their brothers by a terrorist drone strike. They fly into south-eastern Yemen on a Black-op mission to gather intelligence and avenge the death of their comrades.
Can they infiltrate the Al-Queda insurgents' camp, stay undetected, and call down their own drone missile strike and get home safely?
Will they all survive to fight another day?
Operation Wrath is a free, fast-paced adventure prequel to the non-stop action The Fence series by military veteran author C.G. Buswell.
Download for free on any device and read today.

This website is not affiliated or endorsed by The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) or the Ministry of Defence.

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