so I expect most of the UK based people who pop in here at least were aware of the bomb attack on a British patrol boat in Basra which killed 4 and seriously wounded 3 others on Sunday. I'm ashamed to say I read the piece and promptly forgot all about it.
Until this morning when ex-Prince Spangly called me and said, um, have you looked at the news today?
No sez I blithely, why?
well.... he says, maybe you should.
Ah. So it transpires that one of the four dead is a woman who was serving in the Intelligence Corps.
.... just like my best friend then. Who has been on her second tour of duty in Iraq since June.
Now, it's unlikely that J would be out on a patrol. But it's not impossible. And it's unlikely that they'd report four 'soldiers' had died if any of them were commissioned officers. But that's not impossible either. InCorps is a fairly small unit, and there aren't all that many women in it (though relative to other units it's probably pretty woman friendly). And out in Iraq currently there really can't be very many female InCorps troops...
I didn't want to call J's mum because a) if it were her she could do without it and b) if it's not her I don't want to fret her even more than she already frets. And J's phone is non-operational when she's, er, operational. So no way of contacting her urgently.
So I sat here drinking a lot of tea, trying not to panic, trying not to cry too much, not succeeding in either objective, and pressing F5 on the MOD website every 2 seconds.
As you have probably worked out by this stage in the narrative, it's not her. Sadly for her family and friends, the woman in question is Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott, who had been on Op Telic for only a week. It can't really be described as 'good news' in that someone else's family and friends are now going through the grief and torment. I feel an immense relief and a concomitant sense of guilt that our relief comes at someone else's expense like this. It's also a bit of a shock to notice just how little I take in the news when I read it. Puts my work into a certain light as well.
So I'm ok, mostly, and so is J - though SSgt Elliott would have been a colleague and possibly a friend of hers. Made me feel really shaky and desperate for a hug. For the first time in ages I've felt really alone today.