For those of us who were around in 1991, few could forget the faces of the two British Airmen, shot down, captured and tortured in Iraq, during the Gulf War.
Tuesday night takeover – special guest
We have an exciting Tuesday night takeover for you next week (21 April). John Nichol will be taking your questions and chatting about his experiences live on our Army Cadets Instagram feed. Does the name sound familiar? Read on…
The Gulf War
On 2 August 1990, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, a tiny oil-producing state in the Persian Gulf. The response of the international community was swift. The United Nations demanded Iraqi withdrawal and imposed a trade embargo.
A US-led coalition force made up of nearly one million service personnel from 32 countries, including 53,457 from the United Kingdom, was assembled to expel the Iraqis should diplomacy fail.
The United Nations set a deadline of 15 January 1991 for Iraqi forces to leave Kuwait. This deadline was ignored.
The air war began on 17 January with coalition aircraft flying over 100,000 sorties. Land operations started on 24 February and were successfully concluded in just five days.
After five years’ service John was commissioned as an officer and became a navigator on Tornado Fighter Bombers. His squadron was deployed to the Gulf after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and was at the forefront of operations during Operation Desert Storm – the United Nations’ mandated operation to liberate occupied Kuwait.
In January 1991, on the first day of the conflict, John's formation was tasked to attack an airfield in south eastern Iraq, this was the RAF's first daylight, low-level attack of the war. During the attack his aircraft was hit by a ground to air missile and he was forced to eject, he was captured and taken to Baghdad.
After a prolonged and violent interrogation John was paraded on TV and the pictures of the bruised and battered prisoners-of-war were flashed around the world providing one of the most enduring images of the first Gulf War.
Finally, though not after suffering extreme brutality, at the end of the war John Nichol and John Peters were released.
John continued to serve, despite his ordeal, seeing active duty in Bosnia and the Falkland Islands to name but a few.
Life After Service
Since retiring from the Royal Air Force in 1996, John has gone on to become a bestselling author, journalist and consultant, appearing on many shows, such as; GMTV, Newsnight and the One Show.
We are delighted that John has agreed to join us for this unique takeover and hope that as many of you as possible will tune in to ask him questions about his career and story.
If you’d like to know more about John, check out his website.