Learning to shoot in Sierra Leone
To celebrate the release of The Head of the Snake, I'm remembering the day I spent learning to shoot and blow things up with IMATT - the International Military Advisory and Training Team - in Sierra Leone. There was quite a culture gap between the development workers of the DFID team and the large cohort of British soldiers stationed with IMATT. So we decided to have a day where we shared our work and learnt about each other.
We delivered a very worthy and earnest presentation about how the Country Assistance Plan was working in support of the Millennium Development Goals. They taught us to shoot and blow stuff up. We definitely had more fun.
I looked back at these photos from 16 years ago to help write the sections with the British Army in The Head of the Snake. You'll have to guess who was the inspiration for Magnet and Mouse. I'd love to track down the big blonde Viking and the serious-looking explosives expert to thank them for the inspiration and send them a copy of the book. If anyone knows who they might be - stationed with IMATT in Freetown in May 2007, drop me a line.