OP GRITROCK – Sierra Leone and Ebola


As RFA Argus sails South I think a few thoughts on Ebola are due.

Generational Threat

Fresh from lecturing the world about the generational threat posed by ISIS (followed by limited resources and even less resolve) David Cameron finds himself pontificating on the generational threat from Ebola.

He then went on to lecture other world leaders about ponying up resources.

He also made the claim that the UK was leading the way, expect that came as a surprise to the 500 or so US personnel in Liberia that are being ramped up to 4,000, but hey.

Am not normally a fan of Simon Jenkins in the Guardian but in a piece published today he is bang on the money in his criticism of the language used;

We have lost control of the language of proportion

Simon Jenkins makes the point that crying wolf and an uncontrollable use of dramatic adjectives means a rise in cynicism about what may well actually be a generational threat.

I would recommend the article, the only one I have found that actually expresses some degree of uncertainty whilst recognising the potential of Ebola.

Having said that, a precautionary stance would seem prudent and whilst local authorities, large corporations, the NHS and any organisations are busy dusting off their pandemic plans, stocking up with Tyvek suits the MoD is contributing with a wide ranging response, targeted at the infection hot spot of Sierra Leone.

The story so far

This infographic (without double decker buses unfortunately) gives a good overview of resources no deployed.

Ebola infographic

Much of the recent focus has been on the deployment this morning of RFA Argus but we should not forget the many personnel (MoD and DFiD) that have been in Sierra Leone for many weeks and months.

In fact, the UK’s military presence in Sierra Leone goes back many years, the International Military Advisory Training Team Sierra Leone (IMATT SL) has been in place since 2000 to support the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) transition from civil war.
Following an improvement in the security situation, a reduction of funding and focus on Somalia the British led (but international) IMATT SL gave way to International Security Advisory Team Sierra Leone (ISAT) in March 2013. ISAT has a broader security remit that includes policing and prisons for example.

IMATT and ISAT has been a quiet success, an advert for upstream engagement if there ever was one, RSLAF personnel have even contributed to UN missions, although after one of their number was tested positive for Ebola their status is in some doubt.

Whilst IMATT SL and ISAT are mainly a training and mentoring organisation they can request additional support, a typical example being the well drillers of 521 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (STRE) deployed in 2013 to install wells and pumps at 11 RSLAF bases.

In May this  year, with the international focus on sexual violence summits, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a travel advisory covering an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea. By June, DFiD had confirmed their 2012/13 expenditure for Sierra Leone stood at £68.6m. The Project List for the country can be found at this link.

Of the 96 projects listed, only one, GB-1-204838, is Ebola related.

Emergency support to response to the Ebola Virus Disease in Sierra Leone 2014, Budget £5m

At the end of June, the travel advisory had changed but was still advising that most visits would be incident free. This had changed dramatically by the beginning of August with a state of emergency being declared in Sierra Leone, suspension of British Airways flights and the first COBRA meeting in the UK

The Foreign Secretary chaired a further meeting of COBR this morning to discuss Ebola and the current situation in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Ministers and officials from across Whitehall and other relevant organisations attended.

The meeting discussed efforts to limit the spread of the infection across affected countries, which has included DFID’s work to fill critical gaps in the front-line response in those countries and working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to train health workers and increase supplies. A further £3m would now be provided to strengthen health systems in Sierra Leone and Liberia and support the WHO, UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee in limiting Ebola’s spread, taking the total UK contribution to £5m.

advice remains that the risk to the UK is very low. The UK has an established, well-tested system to deal with any known or suspected imported case of this disease. As part of that, precautionary planning measures are being kept up-to-date and the UK’s Public Health authorities are working closely with clinicians, border staff and other agencies to ensure they are prepared to deal with any eventuality.

The UK will continue to monitor the situation closely.

The mid August infographic showed the UK’s resource commitment

Since this first response the UK has slowly ratcheted up the resources provided to combat Ebola in Sierra Leone, by the beginning of September that £2m had grown to £25m.

One of the first projects was the building of a 62 bed Ebola treatment centre in Kerry Town, by personnel from the Royal Engineers (first in, last out, as ever), RSLAF engineers and locally employed civilians.

In mid September, an announcement confirmed the 62 bed centre would be joined by over 650 additional treatment beds spread across a number of locations. DFiD also funded a Red Cross training facility.


The RAF flew in a number of personnel, stores and equipment.

RAF C17 Freetown, Sierra Leone

It was time for a new graphic

Ebola DFiD


Then there was a quick interlude, a donor conference in London and the inevitable hash tag!

More flights followed, bringing in personnel and supplies like generators, ambulances and building materials.

At this point, there were about 40 military personnel in Sierra Leone, mostly engineers, logisticians and medical planners, getting things ready for the initial deployment by 22 Field Hospital, part of 2 Medical Brigade.

It was also announced that RFA Argus would deploy with a number of helicopters and additional personnel.

The Operation also had a name, OP GRITROCK.

Back in the UK, 22 Field Hospital had created a mockup treatment centre  at the Army Medical Services establishment in Strensall (York garrison) and were involved with planning and additional training

22 Field Hospital Ebola deployment preparations 01
22 Field Hospital Ebola deployment preparations
22 Field Hospital Preparations 01
22 Field Hospital Preparations
22 Field Hospital Preparations 03
22 Field Hospital Preparations

The Commanding Officer of 22 Field Hospital, Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt explained to the media

This unit has been the ‘Vanguard’ medical regiment for the past 20 months which means we are on high readiness to deploy at short notice to anywhere in the world – although this is a bit different and provides us with a challenge we are perfectly suited to this kind of task.

Joining 22 Field Hospital are medical personnel from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

More exercises and preparations were carried out.

In the images above the protective masks are from 3M in County Durham. The 3M Aura Particulate Respirator 9322+is designed and made in the UK, the Northeast factory making about a million face masks every year.

A few days later, another aid flight arrived.

On October 14, the Deputy head of the British Joint Inter Agency Task Force, Brigadier Steven McMahon CBE, Minister of Defense the Honourable Major (Ret)Alfred Paolo Conteh and Lieutenant Colonel Abubakarr Sidique Bah, the Commanding Officer of the Engineering Regiment of the RSLAF, visited the by now well under construction treatment centre at Kerry Town, Waterloo, Western Rural District.

Ebola Sierra Leone Image Composite

Reported in ‘Awareness Times’

Minister Paolo Conteh said the Kerry Town project was commenced by the Sierra Leone government but is now fully sponsored by the British Government and military personnel from both the RSLAF and the U.K. Military were on the site to provide support. He expressed gratitude to the U K Government for helping Sierra Leone in this fight as he acknowledged that more troops will soon arrive from the UK..

Minister Conteh said the centre will be a 100-bed Ebola facility and later be converted into a Multi-Purpose Medical Centre which will continue to serve the nation long after Ebola would have been eradicated.

The Defense Minister in his conclusion said that according to the engineers on the site, the centre will be completed by the 27th October 2014.

And ‘Awoko’, the Brigadier said;

The most important thing is for every Sierra Leonean to follow the strict prevention code laid down by the health authorities. but it is you the Sierra Leoneans that can eradicate the virus or prolong the time.

The Kerry Town site is being run by Save the Children UK with support from the British military, RSLAF and other NGO’s. This site will be joined by five others (Moyamba, Makeni, Port Loko, Hastings and a site Southeast of Freetown between Sussex and Tokeh) with a similar range of facilities, 80 beds for patients and 20 for infected health workers, these will be operated solely by UK medics.

Lt. Col. Abu Bakarr Sidique Bah is the CO of the RSLAF Engineers being supported by UK forces.

Ebola Treatment Centres
Ebola Treatment Centres

The deadline for all six sites to be complete is the 27th of October.

Heading the Joint Inter Agency Task Force is a civil servant from DfID, David Browne.

After completing their extensive preparations the lead elements of 22 Field Hospital departed the UK for Sierra Leone on the 17th of October

22 Field Hospital depart

22 Field Hospital

22 Field Hospital arrive in Freetown Sierra Leone

UK army medics arrive in Sierra Leone to fight Ebola

As the Army arrived, the Navy departed!

The Royal Navy website describes RFA Argus;

The principal role of RFA Argus is to serve as a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship (PCRS). She has a fully equipped 100-bed medical complex on board, which can be uniquely tailored to deliver cutting-edge treatment afloat.

RFA Argus is a stalwart of the RFA fleet, I had a look at her in the Atlantic Conveyor post from a few years ago, she has a fascinating history.

Contender Bezant was one of the many civilian ships utilised in support of the Task Force to retake the Falklands Islands after invasion by Argentina in 1982, used as an aircraft transport, ferrying helicopters and harriers on her deck.

MV Contender Bezant
MV Contender Bezant (Image Credit; RFA Nostalgia)
MV Contender Bezant (Image Credit; RFA Nostalgia)
MV Contender Bezant (Image Credit; RFA Nostalgia)

Read more about STUFT at the fantastic site of Nick Messenger, click here

Following purchase by the MoD in 1985 for £13million she was converted to an aviation training ship at the shipyard of Harland & Wolff, Belfast, with the addition of extended accommodation, a flight deck, aircraft lifts and naval radar and communications suites.  A Primary Casualty Receiving Facility was added before Argus was sent to participate in the 1991 Gulf War.  Another role of RFA Argus is that of RORO vehicle transport with vehicles carried in the hangar and on the flight deck, a role she performed in support of United Nations operations in the former Yugoslavia.

RFA Argus
RFA Argus

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Argus was again present in the Persian Gulf as an offshore hospital for coalition troops, earning the nickname “BUPA Baghdad”.

In 2010 she had a £37m refit

RFA Argus 28.06.10

Although many might think the 100 bed medical complex will be used for treating Ebola patients, this is not the case, the medical facilities will only be used for injuries and non Ebola illness. If any personnel contract Ebola they will be treated ashore.

The ship provide transport and storage facilities, supporting 3 Merlin HM2 Helicopters, 2 LCVP Mk5 landing craft, various items of load handling plant, 55 vehicles and a couple of Offshore Raiding Craft. 300 pallets of stores have also been loaded.

LCVP Mk5 (Image Credit - Plain Military)
LCVP Mk5 (Image Credit – Plain Military)
Royal Marines Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC)
Royal Marines Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC), obviously, not as tooled up as this example!
LIFT TRUCK - Telehandler JCB 541-70 (W)
LIFT TRUCK – Telehandler JCB 541-70 (W)
Royal Navy Merlin Mark 2 Helicopter
Royal Navy Merlin Mark 2 Helicopter
CRANE - Medium Crane Truck MTD 2030T Terex AC35 05
CRANE – Medium Crane Truck MTD 2030T Terex AC35

Deployment of up to 6 months is anticipated and the various news releases have stressed the stringent infection control procedures that will be implemented.

RFA Argus heads to west Africa to combat Ebola threat

RFA Argus A135 Hospital Ship Leaves Falmouth on Ebola Mission To West Africa

No deployment of this kind would be complete without the obligatory ISO container!

RFA Argus ISO Container Loading
RFA Argus ISO Container Loading

RFA Argus is now on her way.

RFA Argus Ebola 03

The 750 or so personnel will conduct a number of activities, support, force protection, medical training and medical support for the NGO’s and Sierra Leone Government.

Personnel from Royal Scots Borderers 1st Battalion (1 Scots) form part of the force, joining Royal Marines, Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, , Royal Signals, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, DFiD civil servants, personnel from the National Health Service and various NGO’s.

It is a multi-organisation deployment.

There is an obvious need for force protection and evacuation measures for deployed personnel, if the pandemic leads to the break down of law and order or ‘mob rules’ apply the British personnel could find themselves under threat.

Tear gas fired in Freetown after body left on street Ebola

Whilst the British Armed Forces, NGO’s and DFiD are getting stuck in, the militaries of the EU are currently reviewing how they can help, that’s comforting to know!

In the finest traditions of the armed services, those involved will do a great job.

I think all that is left is good luck and come home safe.



One of our commenters reminded me of this

[browser-shot width=”700″ url=”http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/05/uss-argus-and-worldwarz/”]

Life imitating art!

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All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

Best of luck to all involved. Takes a special sort of courage to face up to something like Ebola. Argus amkes sense as it gives personnel what is effectively a “safe haven” offshore and allows us to treat the inevitable non Ebola casualties with minimum risk of infection.


Very best of luck it’s someone with special courage to go forward to help when all everyone else wants to do is get away from there as fast as they can especially when it’s something quite deadly and no one can see it.

A good post
@APATS and Mark
Here , here on the very best of British luck to them all Military and Civilian


There was an awful R4 interview last week with the captain of Argus I believe berating him for the fact it’s treatment facilities were not being used to treat SL Ebola patients. Total lack of understanding why it is there. Our troops need that safe haven, it is the least we can do to support them on the ground

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

@ MickP

Precisely, especially given what they will be facing. Have hosted a few “stand offs” onboard ships for personnel working in various less than pleasant shore environments. It is amazing the effect that getting onboard, having your laundry done, a long hot shower, slap up meal, couple of beers and about 12 hours sleep can have.


Good luck to all out there. I don’t think one can say much more really.


Just echoing what others have said, best of luck. Takes a special sort of courage to fight an enemy you can’t see or put a bullet in.

Edit: Let’s not forget the 800 NHS staff who have volunteered to go out there as well.

El Sid

Good luck all. Just a minor comment – the RN seems to be quite good at Facebook/Twitter-friendly “posters” these days like the last image. But am I the only one who looked at those medic vests and thought of Crusaders? Given current sensibilities (and the possibility we could end up deployed to somewhere like northern Nigeria), surely someone could have designed them to look a bit different?

Red Trousers

The very best luck to all of them, and those they go to help.

I do think we should be considering an Argus replacement: she is nearly 35! Her Wiki entry says that there was a thought of replacement, but for some unstated reason the project was canned and the IPT closed down.

A HADR/Hospital ship seems to me to be a core function for the UK (if not two), and I’d happily see Defence or DFID budget going towards that. It is also part of a national FRES, which should not only be about tin cans for the Army.

The Other Chris

Mayhap the Cross is intentional.


Good luck and stay safe.

On a brighter note it will probably be the first time that your family will be happy that you came back from Africa with just an STD!

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

Slightly ironic to see Argus sitting off the coast providing a safe haven and support against Ebola given its role in World War Z.

Red Trousers


From your knowledge, is HADR seen as a core function for the Maritime Component? I’m working my way into thinking that a dedicated class of Argus type ships (2 minimum, 3 better), along with pre-dumped stores somewhere central, and a dedicated HADR battle group of C3, manpower, engineering, aviation and medics could be a really useful contribution that the UK could make. 3 ships could cover the Atlantic, and a mission such as Somali pirates, with one in refit/training/surge at any one time.

HADR/PCRS for warlike ops/Presence as a combo. Base them in Gib?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same


HADR is not a core function, it is however a function that all FF/DDs and above are trained and assessed on before they deploy. So it is a Yes and No.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same


Yes and as I said they are trained and assessed before deploying. It can be a core function of a deployment, it is nit a core function to the extent that it affects design and procurement which is what RT was angling at.

I tried to give an honest answer to a question and the honest answer is rarely black and white.


HADR will always be a secondary role for deploying units. However, ARGUS is not roled for this; she is the Primary Casualty Receiving Ship, a floating battlefield hospital vice a mercy ship. HADR is DFID’s job, not ours.

Red Trousers


Perhaps it should be? The RFA, I suggest, not the RN. DFID can fund and organise everything back in the UK, but having a deployable platform is a maritime task.

If that logic holds good, then a specialist platform makes sense, and while I am no expert, a platform that can hold logistics in ISOs, mother ship helicopters, embark a hospital, make clean water and deploy utility craft sounds useful. Especially if it can also embark some troops for policing operations.


“Best of luck to all involved. Takes a special sort of courage to face up to something like Ebola. Argus amkes sense as it gives personnel what is effectively a “safe haven” offshore and allows us to treat the inevitable non Ebola casualties with minimum risk of infection.”

Echoes what APATS said.


@ RT – I agree about having an Argus replacement but I don’t agree that the MOD should pay a dime for building ships for disaster relief.

The DFID and FCO have the budget for this and should use it. They could follow the lead of the department of agriculture and fisheries which pays the MOD to provide the three River Class.

In the long run this is probably better for DFID to do as it desperately needs some good PR in the UK. Its budget is going to get hammered after 2015 without more public support.


RT, it might well be a partly maritime task but it isn’t necessarily a military one. Any capability that diverts funding from any other capability that is not a core task is nice to have, and we can’t afford it.

If DfID want a deployable platform I suggest they sort out a deployable NHS contingent and a bunch of private contractors and set up shop on a Point class RORO. Military happy to be the immediate reaction deployable element, but short term only.

DfID did rather well in Iraq and the Philippines so far, I think their budget is pretty safe.


A couple of interesting links

This one explains “simply” the routes of transmission of abola. It explains who hard it is to catch from early stage patients and how infective end stage patients are. From this you can see how good public health, education ,local treatment/isolation of infected patients would have limited the outbreak.


Developing a vaccine for Ebola has always been an under invested academic sideline. In the main due to the economics of drug research( it only impacted on low numbers of generally poor people). This is an interesting early study that explained some of the complexities of taking the trials from rodents to primates:


Until now when it all started to look a bit threatening, suddenly we have human trials and lots of options( many of which could have been pursued years ago if the economic drivers had been there)


Full respect to all the volunteers going out to help, it’s not a great situation to face even in a well run western hospital, let alone west Africa.

Once they have the basc public health sorted out, a vacination program and an effective cheap treatment ( all coming online hopefully)we should be able to place this in the same Box as small pox. Just wish we had the international vision to do it all a bit sooner.


According to their website DFID have the funding responsibilities for situations like these

Co-ordinating the UK’s response to humanitarian emergencies

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK government’s response to humanitarian emergencies in developing countries.’


So I’m presuming that DFID will be funding this as well. I see nothing wrong with using military capabilities that are available for situations such as this as part of a national assistance effort. The military provides immediate means of transportation and trained manpower at a scale that would be hard for a civilian organisation to match, deployments such as these provide invaluable experience in out of area operations with the added benefit of it not coming out of the MOD purse. It also keeps the military in the public eye and reminds them that the military is a useful asset that is worth funding, it probably helps with our soft power doctrine and possibly recruitment.

The question is whether we should put aside equipment for such eventualities and who pays? I would say it would be probably easier to get DFID to pay for an Argus type vessel than to to pay for a frigate to sit in the carribean for 6 months just in case something happens. You could probably get support for DFID funding such a vessel from all parties quite easily with the predictions on climate change and the effects that they will have in terms of weather events etc coupled with the view that some have of the DFID budget funding Mercedes Benz.

Red Trousers


I agree, a warship sailing about the Caribbean trying to find drugs or hoping for a hurricane so that they can seem important is a waste of resource. The Andrew have better things to be doing.


@ Martin – “The DFID and FCO have the budget for this and should use it. They could follow the lead of the department of agriculture and fisheries which pays the MOD to provide the three River Class.”

Agreed. I once made the suggestion that DFID should be the home for peacekeepers.
A budget one third the size of the MoD could easily support an organisation tailored for disaster relief (engineering, medical, and security), with some basic RFA style transports assets as well as some air transport.


As we are all for once in agreement that DFID should fund a HADR rolled vessel, i.e Argus’s replacement.

What type of vessel should we opt for. A small LHD like Singapore’s STMarine’s Endurance 160 concept:


Or Damen’s Karel Doorman JSS, but with a well deck instead of the steel beach:


IMHO, you have to have a vessel with a well deck, because usually after a major event like the Haiti Earthquake or the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami most Ports and Harbours were wiped out on the effected areas.


‘As we are all for once in agreement that DFID should fund a HADR rolled vessel, i.e Argus’s replacement’

I’d be careful about what people wish for.


‘I once made the suggestion that DFID should be the home for peacekeepers’

I think that would be seen as militirisation of the DFID budget and perhaps should be left to the armed forces and the deployment funded through the contingency budget in concert with national policy and aims. It’s also why I think it would be easier to argue for full/shared funding of Argus type vessels with no offensive military capability.


@ Jedi – The only issue with DFID paying for an international relief force is it would eat into the budget to pay for girls schools and women only theme parks. There would also be less money to give to Oxfam and the British Red Cross so they would have to stop spending so much money on lobbying the British government for aid money and their CEO’s would have to take a cut in their £250,000 annual salary’s.

The consequences would be overwhelming and God only knows the effect on the Irish music scene.


At African rates a £12 billion a year budget could pay for an African Peace Keeping Army 1 million men strong. Think of the effect of that on the situation on the ground in Africa. I guarantee it would be more effective in meeting the millennium goals than the current lot if crap we piss this budget up the wall on.


@Simon257: Should be an RFA role, so a SSS or JSS design will be just fine. Long term plan for 8 please to ultimately replace the Forts, Argus, Albion’s and Bays… Just make sure they have hangers this time.


@ Repulse – I am guessing that now there is zero chance for an Ocean replacement that every RFA vessel will come with a hanger now.


@Simon257, I think the 160 may be a bit small. Once you start adding a well deck to JSS the cost would go through the roof. We have two Albions, 3 Bays all of restricted utility without embarked helos. We have Argus that is getting on. As part of a longer term strategy for military and DFID purposes, I would like to see these 6 ships replaced over time with 3 JSS type vessels and 3 Johan de Witt type enhanced Bays. One of each assigned to support RN ops, one of each as HADR response (paid for out of DFID budget) and one of each in extended readiness, rotating through. I say type because I am not wedded to these vessels specifically but they indicate size and capabilities. Task group RM capability provided by CVF and Absolon type frigates (again not wedded to that type, could be T26 conversions)


@Martin: you sort of wonder why they don’t take the senior-most employees in the DFID, tell them to come up with a better strategy for using their increasing budget, or fuck off permanently. God knows they piss most of it up the wall. I suppose when you head a dept who’s job description is giving things away, you attract the sort of people who cannot discriminate between stupid ideas and good ones :-(

Red Trousers

Quite seriously, what about Prince of Wales as a HADR boat? A bit compromised by having no well-deck, but still about 19 million times more useful to the UK than as a reserve carrier.

Best of all, pay for the thing by a simple administrative transfer of £3.5 billion from DFID to MOD.


@ WF – would be interesting to see where members of DFID staff end up after retirement. The papers are keen to point out generals and admirals joining defence contractors. I wonder if DFID staff end up in NGO’s.

The DFID in my opinion is one of the worse excesses of the Blair government and god only knows how it has so much political support.


TD, fishery protection is no more a military task than is border control or SAR. However, it is funded and allows us to maintain a core training capability for command qualified officers and boarding training. And as the core FF/DD fleet has declined so the burden of maintaining the Royal Navy’s public profile has fallen to the fishery squadron and the P2000 flotilla. In sum, a useful supplement that has been worth keeping.

Survey, however, has deeply military implications. Understanding and exploiting the environment has battle-winning potential for submarine navigation, ASW, littoral operations and military data gathering. And MW as well.

Simon, I fundamentally disagree with you. ARGUS is not a HADR platform, it is a floating battlefield hospital there to provide medical cover for our boots on the ground. Get into an RTA in West Africa without that on standby and you seriously take your chances, hence 3 Merlins roled MEDEVAC and ARGUS.


@ RT – POW is not going to be a reserve carrier any more. she is fully funded now to operate as a second carrier stuffed full of those helicopters you are so fond of. :-)



‘I’d be careful about what people wish for’

I don’t know, I think it could work as long as there are clear deviding lines as to what it is used for and who owns it. The fisheries vessels seem to provide a capability beneficial to both parties I see no reason why a DFID funded HADR unit could not. I would however refrain from using any units such as infantry in the role to keep it’s mission clearly clarrified as humanitarian, and I’d put paid to any notions of stealth funding amphibs through the budget.

If it is clearly defined it could be of benefit to both the MOD and DFID.

Red Trousers

Martin, less with the “fully funded” nonsense.

It is “fully funded” in the sense that the bank manager has extended your overdraft, and you are planning to have a champagne lifestyle when the dry rot in the house still needs sorting.

There’s an awful lot of dry rot in the MoD, most of it maritime.


‘long as there are clear deviding lines as to what it is used for and who owns it’

Precisely the (possible) problem. How knows who might start doing what?


Is this and operations like it not more akin to forward engagement and something we should probably be doing more off. It would certainly appear to be a threat to stability in the African region.

Natural disaster or epidemics can have destabilising effects to poorer regions of the world were extremists may prosper so perhaps we should consider this more of a core task. Military training using the adaptable force structure should perhaps not just be training an infantry unit but perhaps also engineers, medics communications, riverine type patrol and basic flight training.


Why should we expend our scant military resources helping nations with functioning governments to do basic health control? Or disaster relief? Or countering piracy? Maybe the embezzling tinpot dictator types should go visit an Ebola ridden village for themselves and stop bleeding their populations dry for personal profit. Either way, it’s no justification to acquire expensive single-use platforms in the face of more significant and serious threats to our national security, just to have them stand idly by waiting for these f***wits to decide they’ve lost interest in trying to govern their own countrymen. We are only involved militarily because it suits our own agenda to be seen to be doing ‘something’.


Mark, one of the most prevalent extremist organisations in West Africa is Boko Haram. That is, literally, ‘western education is evil’. With the West getting involved, will this improve or worsen things, do you think? Noting of course that Nigeria, supposedly an ally in the region, has just done a massive deal under the table with BH to recover the Chibok girls whilst we are flying GR4’s to try and find them?

The Other Chris

Common mistranslation, closest to Haram is a combination of Sinful/Forbidden.



Heck the entire Mid East Arab street think western power are evil hasn’t stopped us intervening there. I happen to think doing this sort of intervention will have more positives long term than sending 2 tank brigades to dictate Western ways of running things and will help to marginalise extremist views further.

I am of the opinion that were chaos ensuses and basic state functions break down people turn to extremes it is here organisation that wish us harm can start getting both financial and recruiting benefits, that we will end up having to confront sometime in the future at greater cost in lives and equipment. If through modest military and diplomatic engagement at an earlier stage we can subtly change views and thinking, then those states may have more positive outlooks.

There is limited threats to our country’s national security beyond non state actors russia while being more assertive than in recent years is not about to start a re run of the Cold War.

Red Trousers


“Expensive single use platforms…”

There’s no point in sinking your own boat. Honestly, you leave an open goal. The Royal Navy is pretty single use platform focussed.

A T45, as an example, is pretty good at air defence (if we ever face an air threat at sea, which is highly unlikely), but sod all use at most other things. Don’t even try to come up with a secondary use for a Vanguard class ship.

The amount of money wasted on the Navy since 1945 is shocking.


@ RT – And how versatile is a Challenger 2 tank?


Ah of course, RT, good point. I forget you prefer the ‘lots of inept/barely effective cannon fodder’ doctrine as opposed to ‘capable’ approach. Because of course there’s no air threat, silly me. Remind me where the land threat is again that needs lots of tanks, FRES SCOUTs, artillery, Watchkeeper, an Army, etc? Because Afghanistan and Iraq have been standout successes so far in the annals of great military actions.

Presumably because there’s no air threat anywhere that’s the reason the land component has stood by Rapier for so long?

The Other Chris

Hmm, didn’t know there was no airspace over land. Just the sea. Thanks for the education.

Red Trousers


Not very at all, but I’m an unusual sort of ex-Cavalryman that thinks most of the RAC’s kit ought to be junked. Tanks and CVR(T). To be provocative, we might do well to give our Challenger 2s to our next likely enemy (Iran?), because then we know how to beat him and he’s stuck in the wrong century.

It is the people who are versatile.

The basic problem the Navy have is that they are platform centric , and by and large they’ve still got the sort of fetish for monumentally inflexible platforms that they had at Jutland. Individuals of course among them can be brilliant, but put them in a platform with a limited set of uses and they are immediately neutered.

TAS, are we going to have to teach you some basic 20th century history?


Well we are truly off topic now, aren’t we?

RT, Jutland as a comparator with the T45, really? I am fascinated. As a humble inflexible matelot, I thought I’d studied this one. What cost us at Jutland was not a fascination with big ships but the doomed obsession of speed over protection as exemplified by the concept of the battlecruiser, a failure to train as we meant to fight by neglecting gunnery training, and a total failure in leadership. Ditto the loss of the HOOD. The High Seas Fleet were better balanced in design, better led and better trained, but they still built big, expensive, inflexible battleships.

But if you think differently, by all means educate us.


Holy crap RT, are you having a bad day ? This is inane even for Squaddie centric world view:

“The basic problem the Navy have is that they are platform centric”

Ships are floaty things, needed to be on the sea, they are by definition “platforms” – if you can come up with the definition of a non-platform centric Navy I can’t wait to hear it !

Yes people are flexible. Thats one reason why since I left the Andrew, what was once 3 distinct “trades” or branches have been collapsed into one, and I am sure they display their flexibility in operating, maintaining, fixing equipment on “platforms” as old as T23’s and Hunt class MCMV’s to the newest T45.

Why on earth would anyone try to come up with a secondary use for a national strategic nuclear deterrent “platform” ? That was a dumb throw away comment beneath your normal standard of participation.

Red Trousers


We probably cross wires.

I think in terms of effect achieved, not resources needed.

So for example, in 1980, at the time of the Nott defence review, one option not taken was to establish a British Army Training Unit Falkland Islands. It would have seen a near-permanent Infantry Battalion (plus light aviation and light guns) presence on the islands, and delivered useful training to both the Army and Air Force on how to mount an intervention force at intercontinental distance (the origin of the Spearhead concept). It would also have deterred Carlos Fandango.

What we got was platform centric thinking. It was all about HMS Endeavour.

What effect did those two decisions have, and could it have been different?

The Other Chris

Would the RN have regenerated organic AEW after the Gannet’s without FI?


@RedTrousers: I think the idea of a “British Army Training Unit Falkland Islands” pre-invasion is likely to be pure fantasy. No one is going to sign off on a training location only accessible via a three week boat journey, and then only via a series of small boats: there were no ports of note either. Furthermore, the first question anyone would ask with regard to the Spearhead training is “where is the air support for this intercontinental deployment?”, to which the only reply would have been “we need to find some aircraft carriers”.

Perhaps the originator of this fantasy scheme was planning on using Ushuaia and Rio Galligos to provide host nation support?

Red Trousers


The thought was to improve Stanley airport; there would have been additional benefits to the Islanders.

How seriously was it taken? One brief that I saw had two star (Army) support. Before my service time, I read the brief about 20 Yeats later while clearing old files from HQ 1st Arms Div. There was still an exercise on JDSC in the late 80s where the Spearhead Battalion was tasked to the FI to do an emergency reinforcement (we students had to do the mounting instruction, the Battalion nominally being in Dover).

Red Trousers

Yeats? years I think I meant. And 1st Armd Div, not Arms. Ruddy spellczech on Ondroid, can’t get used to it.



“…A T45, as an example, is pretty good at air defence (if we ever face an air threat at sea, which is highly unlikely), but sod all use at most other things…”

Big mistake. Others have shared your naivety of general operational matters in recent times and suffered the consequences:


“The INS Hanit (Hebrew: חנית‎, Spear) is a Sa’ar 5-class corvette of the Israeli Navy, built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in 1994. On July 14, 2006, during the 2006 Lebanon War, it suffered damage after being struck by a Hezbollah C-802 anti-ship missile… Four crew members were killed during the attack: Staff Sergeant Tal Amgar, Corporal Shai Atas, Sergeant Yaniv Hershkovitz, and First Sergeant Dov Steinshuss…

As a result of the incident, two navy officers, two junior officers and the commander of the ship were formally reprimanded and repositioned to non-commanding positions on land. One of the junior officers had shut down the central radar and parts of the defence system without notifying the commander, in the belief that the ship was not under threat…”

Those who know me will understand why I get a bit touchy when ignorant but opinionated people play down the maritime air threat and the need for layered defences to detect and take out both ‘the archer’ and any leaking ‘arrows’. My doubts about your ability to speak authoritatively on any operational matters beyond the scope of ‘boots on the ground’ are confirmed once again. However, I remain vastly entertained by the tales of your dystopic family and your prolific sexual conquests while serving ‘in-theatre’. Please let’s have some more. ;-)

“…It was all about HMS Endeavour.”



Red Trousers


I don’t immediately see the relevance of your example, no doubt my fault. Could you point me to an example that is “not the Falklands” of the actual Andrew being enduringly relevant in an AD context? A few Israelis sodding things up is not a doctrine note, it’s a Board of Enquiry. We all know about the Falklands, but 6 weeks in 60 years is not a good ROI.

I will withhold mention of the Lady Provost of Stirling and the bounced municipal cheque for towing services of a stranded CVR(T), and how she (43, divorced, quite a looker and blondeish to boot) made good on her election claim that Stirling was the heart of the Army.

HMS Gloucester Persian Gulf 1991 – successfully engaged a missile threat against the allied task group she was protecting.



I was pointing out that today’s maritime air threat isn’t restricted to mass forces of Argentinean (or any other) FJ screaming in from over the horizon.

Since the Falklands? I have eyeballed the CO of an Iranian frigate, bridge to bridge, from an isolated MCMV (Mine Counter Measures Vessel) off an Iranian coast bristling with ASMs during the Iran/iraq Tanker War in 1988/9 (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Praying_Mantis); sat in HMS London and experienced the FOST weekly war-type countdown of an approaching attack by Iraqi jets before it was broken up in 1991; and sat on board HMS Gloucester when she splashed an Iraqi Silkworm ASM threatening the Task Group, also in 1991.

Is it true that gentlemen prefer blondes because they get dirtier quicker? (Mind you, some say blackheads are more fun to squeeze.)

Red Trousers

Good grief, is that it? HMS Gloucester once shooting down a missile? Obllocks, I’ve been shot at more times on a single six month tour in Belfast, let alone several months with FREBAT 3 commanding the anti-sniping platoon in Sarajevo, where we stopped filling in the Patrol Contact forms after the first 3 days. Hardly bloody impressive for the Andrew to be shot at once.

As for eyeballing people, go head to head with Ratko Mladic’s bodyguards in a ski chalet in Pale when the negotiations go wrong. He had 5, we had 2. We walked out backwards.


I don’t know if blondes are dirtier. It’s what you want, I suppose. Sometimes the full on who cares, sometimes the thought in their head that you are something they want for the long term.


Sadly RT I think it will take an actual engagement to prove how wrong you are. That it requires lives to be risked to change anyone’s opinion is rather sad.

USS STARK also springs to mind – perhaps the most likely flashpoint now that the West is once again leveraging into the Sunni-Shia Cold War.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same


I would not really worry about what it would take to change RT’s opinion. If you followed his line of logic then you would get rid of half the armed forces. I do like his dits though, a ski chalet in Pale :) Personally I was quite worried after an RTA in Yemen and unlike Pale we were wearing civvies and had zero back up whilst we tried to work out how much it would cost to placate the angry locals who all appeared to have AK47/74 variants. The though of being beheaded tends to focus the mind but was probably less annoying than the booty colour Sgt whispering in my shell like that he could nail all 4 of them with his Glock :)

Gloomy Northern Boy

@Martin – not sure about a million-man African Army, but I am much drawn to the idea of doing a deal with Sierra Leone to base a re-activated Royal West African Regiment (All arms, Brigade strength) alongside their own self-defence forces…and then recognising British Somaliland and pulling off the same trick in respect of the Kings African Rifles. Could support the local Navy/Coastguard on the same basis, and handle smugglers, pirates and terrorists from local bases, mostly using local forces

Funded from the DfID Budget, with additional investment to sweeten the deal and build up both places into African proto-Singapores…and that should leave enough left over to establish a Coastguard for ALL our EEZ’s on the SIMMS/OPV model. The Guardianistas would hate it, but it would probably do more good and be more appreciated than our current approach…

A neo-Imperialist Gloomy

Red Trousers

I’m glad that APATS has given up trying to change my opinion, because then I would be wrong. :)

Getting rid of half the armed forces is just a start APATS. Half of them are clearly unnecessary. 4/5ths of them need retraining, and a quarter to change service if they want to remain relevant. 60% need to improve their fitness assessment, and 20% to be either blokes or be properly practical.

Red Trousers

APATS, re Pale,

I only had 5 rounds loaded, because that’s all that CONOPS said I needed for Zagreb and that’s all that I had. Well Chuffing Obllocks I thought afterward, so I had a bit of a rant at the RQ in Split down the phone, and lo and behold, 500 rounds arrived by helicopter. I had two 9 round mags for the Browning, and a bit of a storage problem which I solved by leaving 487 loose rounds in my desk drawer. :(

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

I had 15 rounds loaded and a spare mag but they were not much use in a concealed carry holster in the small of my back. Neither was the AKMS in the Land Cruiser

Red Trousers


You need to sort out the concealed carry. Should be in your trouser pocket, and in the other pocket, a blade. That can be 6 inches long if you sort out the tailoring, and never needs to be officially issued.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

That works well if you are wearing 5.11 or uniform or other obvious clothing bu when wearing normal clothing an IWB holster works better and still allows very swift access. Not concealed carry option helps when the other guys have an assualt rifle already in theri hands though. what helps then is a smile, a roll of dollars and some Arabic,


Thought about writing something sensible on this subject, but reading down the comments it seems it has been hijacked by RT and his loathing of the navy and the usual “pull up a sandbag” war story bollocks that he insists we should read about.


Well the Daily Mail are reporting that General Sir Nick Carter is reviewing the situation, including plans to send 3000 troops to shut Sierra Leone down:



CBRNGuru – I put this http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2014/10/open-thread-october-2014/comment-page-2/#comment-309976 on the open thread – the threat if left to develop is serious. The right method of containment is not yet sorted. The cure for those infected is essentially unknown (no nice ra-ra statements from the drug companies yet). At the last statement made on the matter the Gov’t said there was no problem in the UK because there are two beds suitable for the safe treatment of those infected in a hospital in London. Two.

The work being done by the team sent to Sierra Leone is hazardous but will hopefully prove a force for good for the people of that country; the impact on the spread of the disease given the scale and rate of infection is not likely to be decisive – the odd hundred isolation beds cannot match the likely 12,000 new cases this month. Like all others here I wish the team well and pray they return safely, but given the scale of the problem its foolhardy to think this deployment fixes everything. The risk is that with this deployment the public at large (and hence the vote-hungry politicians) assume that the problem has now gone away.

Gloomy Northern Boy

@Chris – I understand the Hallamshire Hospital also has appropriate facilities organised, along with two others…so at the same scale of issue, that’s eight…

Comforting, isn’t it.


Should have added my own quiet prayers for the guys going out there…and those they are trying to help. May they go with God…


@ Simon257 – Wow Oxfam are complaining about a lack of western troops. Maybe they should have thought about that before campaigning to gut the MOD and jack up the DFID.

Now call me Dave is prepared to send 3,000 of our soldiers into the middle of a deadly Ebola outbreak without any vaccine or cure.

Fantastic, Just have to wonder how many will be getting there P45 upon return from Sierra Leone.

Dave haine

I think the worst thing we could do is send in 3000-odd troops to ‘seal off’ a country- it smacks of colonialism, and that would just be a gift to the bearded nutters who are just looking for an ‘in’ to west Africa.

The upthread suggestion of turning Sierra Leone into an african ‘Singapore’ has a lot of merit- And As TD has pointed out, the DFID have been doing that in a steady and quiet way for sometime.

SL has some natural resources that could turn it into a developed economy, if the political system could be evolved. After all, one of the best defences against extremism is a stable, prosperous economy where everyone benefits, in some way.


@ Dave Haine – I have often considered using a large part of our DFID budget to turn SL into a Hong Kong or Singapore of Africa. Indeed I think not having such a place is one of the key things holding Africa back, especially a large deep water port.

The only issue with doing this is that we lack the fundamental resources to do it. Not money but vision and political will.

£ 1 billion a year pumped in to SL in infrastructure and security would revolutionise the place very quickly. Designate it a British Overseas Territory and it would very quickly become industrialised.

It could even be possible to do a deal with the EU giving it full access to the single market and in return it could become a recipient for asylum seekers coming into the EU. Kind of like the Aussie arrangement with PNG but make it a nice place to attract them.

Gloomy Northern Boy

@Martin – “designate it a BOT” err, no…develop a strong and generous relationship with the free people of Sierra Leone over a period of time (building on the goodwill already extant, and the large and productive SL Diaspora already living in the UK) …and then discuss the possibility of a referendum on the subject with their own elected Government…if it is seen to deliver better outcomes for both parties.

Do the same in British Somaliland, and also look seriously at how the UK System can better accommodate aspirations for Home Rule in the home islands, and integrate with the BOTs (and their EEZs) overseas…and we could end up with a United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and other prosperous bits and pieces of territory here and there where we might do some good, make some money and get out and about in the world in the ways that our history suggests will bring out the best in our national character…

A duly democratic, internationalist but distinctively British Gloomy

The Limey

@martin, GNB,

As with all discussions around Africa, the problem that springs to mind is corruption. Singapore successfully made the jump to a developed country in part because of zero-tolerance approach to it.


and we could end up with a United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and other prosperous bits and pieces of territory here

Hmm, I like the sound of that. Elizabeth by the Grace of God Queen of the Loosely Affiliated Collection Of Haphazard Bits Of Stuff. National animal: the caddis fly. Or possibly the bower bird.


GNB, a – ref national symbolic animal – the English national symbol is as we all know the Lion (three of them to be more accurate) and Scotland has a Lion too, in a more ‘see you’ stance. Obviously chosen to represent the majestic herds of lions that roam our green & pleasant land. (In truth the lion was an import; came over with Guillaume le Bâtard in 1066 – Normandy had two lions on its flag, presumably representing the second conquered territory of the Norsemen, so when William took over this island he added a third lion.) But as we use the lion already, how appropriate to invite African states into the benevolent kingdom. Yes I know the heraldic beastie for Wales is a dragon – let’s save that one for the inclusion of China into the UK in a couple of decades time, eh?

As for an appropriate national symbolic animal, I imagine the UK ought to have adopted the cow. There are lots here, they are generally benign, slightly curious, apparently contented leisurely beasts, until their property (calf) is threatened at which point the friendly docile animal reacts with absolute resolve to do whatever is necessary to protect and retain that which is hers. Seems a reasonable match?


@ GNB – I would only suggest doing it by referendum. Maybe in a temporary basis as was done in Zimbabwe in the 80’s. Although maybe Zimbabwe is a bad example :-) There is no ethnic European population in SL or Somaliland so its unlikely to have the same issue I suppose.

Would defiantly be a catalyst for growth though in the wider region.

@ The Limey – I agree defeating corruption is the key. Otherwise pumping in money just gives us a situation like Afghanistan. Harsh anti corruption legislation would be a pre request in my mind. One advantage of designating it a BOT would be absorption of the countries military making it easier to control corruption.


@ Chris Scotlands national animal is a unicorn.

That’s how awesome Scotland is. The only country with an imaginary national animal.

What about a Wookie with a top hat for the new national animal.

Engineer Tom

@ Martin

and Dragons aren’t

We are very inclusive here which should attract the good will of the population of Sierra Leon, after all our First Sea Lord is from Zimbabwe.


@ Engineer Tom – Don’t be daft, dragons are real :-)

Dave haine

@ Chris

Isn’t the heraldic device actually a Leopard? (Dimly remembered drunken watching of QI) Mind you yet another animal with african resonance!


Wouldn’t it be…
…’Elizabeth By the Grace of God, and permission from the scottish, Queen of the Bits that No-One Else Wanted Until They Thought There Was Something In It For Them, and Defender of the Faith’?


@Martin: all in favour of a Wookie. After all, the average drunk Brit sounds fairly similar, and the sensible option is always to let the Wookie win :-)


@ Chris. There are lots of different perspectives from this event. One is that the media as usual have blown this right out of proportion when relating it to the spread of this disease within mainland Europe. Unless you are in direct contact with the saliva or sweat from a contagious victim there is no chance of contamination. Human error will always be there as in the case of the nurse in Spain. An accidentally touch of the skin from a contaminated surgical glove or several other possibilities can indeed allow the disease to absorb into the skin.
Second, dealing with this in Africa and the condition, facilities and education of the public make it a lot harder to stop. There have been multiple out breaks of Ebola in Africa in the past from the mid-70’s but obviously nothing on this scale. All previous cases have been in the hundreds maximum, here we are in the thousands already.
Which brings us to Argus and the troops already out here. They have no remit to get involved with any victims as yet and from my understanding they never will. They are there to build facilities and train the personnel who will be dealing directly with those who are contagious. The Planning Order for this has been given some stick as none of the personnel on board Argus at the moment has one piece of equipment that you would think they might have on them or to hand. Maybe it was an oversight or maybe it was not to scare the locals and make the situation worse. But if you have a contingency plan to look at all scenarios including the possibility of dealing with riots with CS if it ever got to that, then it would be handy to have this piece of equipment with you.

dave haine

Todays number is 5 it seems…

Anyway, wooky with either: a tweed flatcap worn at a jaunty angle, or a knock-off new york yankees baseball cap reversed (or possibly Burberry).

The protection of people trying to help the infected wether they are helping stricken family members or patients in care should be top priority , I see we have 300,000 single use suits (where , here or with Argus?) these and many millions more need to be made freely available through out the region along with food and rehydration packs by the Emma Mersk load , I suspect many more are dying than need be due to fear of being infected preventing non-professional carers helping leading to those that die mostly being through nutritional and hydration needs not the actual virus directly.


CBRNGuru – the method of transmission is understood, but all the same there is a risk even in the modern industrial west that anyone bringing themselves here before showing signs of the disease would be treated without the high level of caution known to be required either because the infection slips through wrongly diagnosed or because those not following NBC-style procedures are GPs or family members behaving in their normal way. That’s assuming the infected individuals are being careful and cared for; an infected individual for example making an illicit journey from Sangatte even if he/she feels a bit ill might chose not to present him/herself to the NHS for fear of being deported. There are many ways the disease could spread. I agree if all the procedures are followed and the the sick are identified early then the problem ought to be contained and controlled. But you do have to wonder how many missed or late diagnoses present an infection rate difficult to contain. I am expecting fairly stiff travel limitations and possible quarantine measures in the next few weeks if the spread in West Africa shows no sign of slowing.


Isn’t the heraldic device actually a Leopard?

Only if you are French. It’s an alternative way of saying “lion passant”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Arms_of_England

On the transmission of ebola.
Basically ANY body fluids (inc faeces) that gets into contact with broken skin or the soft mucus generating areas eyes, inside nose, inside mouth or vagina can transmit the virus. Also eating improperly cooked food that’s has been contaminated or the animal involved is a carrier , bats or primates or sharing food with an infected person. It can survive outside the body quite well so secondary contact transmission is quite possible i.e. infected person sneezes onto a door handle and 10 minutes (or several hours) later you use the door handle the pick your nose or rub your eye or scratch your lady parts.
Despite this the CDC have decided based on the documentary evidence it is rubbish at spreading itself with a reinfection rate of just 1.8 on average (measles infects 17 more people for comparison)

Gloomy Northern Boy

@ The daft part of the thread – I don’t think some of you chaps are taking the Gloomy Party Manifesto “Our Place in the World” Section all that seriously..! :-(

@The serious part of the thread…have we got people learning lessons in Nigeria? They seem to have got things under control in very similar circumstances (although maybe they have more money?)…thoughts?



Chris-GP’s should be aware as they have had a resilience directive from Public Health England, but whither they read it or not is debatable. Cross contamination will always be an issue, especially with international travel, so yes there is always that possibility. Luckily this disease is non-transmissible by airborne particles so it does make it easier to contain. I would put things into context by saying that Bubonic plague (The Black Death) is still out there and this is a far more deadly disease than Ebola. When did you last hear of it mentioned in the news? Madagascar suffers outbreaks quite regularly and if you check out the Chinese City of Yumen and see what happened there this year.

Agree Monkey, there are multiple routes of entry for Ebola to infect a human, ingestion is rare and not many people make direct contact with animals.
Unfortunately to some degree I feel this is like AIDS, unless it takes a serious turn in the Western World, it is just considered as an inconvenience at the moment although it is killing innocent people.


@ monkey

My understanding is that the Ebola has a low infection rate because the viral load in infected patients who are not yet showing symptoms is to low for the patient to be an infection risk. when the the patient starts showing some symptoms they will be shedding virus but at quite a low level so that they are not likely to infect other individuals with incidental contact. It’s at the point they become critically ill or dead that they will be highly infective. This is why so many healthcare works have become infected and how leaving the very sick at home and poorly managing the dead has caused the uncontrolled outbreak.

jon livesey

Meanwhile, on the same day, the EU failed to agree a coordinated approach to controlling Ebola or sending aid to Africa, and in London Mr Barosso kindly advised us that the UK would be “insignificant” without the EU.

Indeed the bubonic plague is still a active disease world wide ,even in the US their are regular infections when people come into areas where carrier rodents ( predominately those cute and furry Chipmonks ) fleas are waiting for a new host on the edges of suburbia or out on the outback trails . Its these hiker/hunters that usually die as they are often far from being able to raise help in time for the working medicines to be administered.
The number of healthcare workers being infected as a proportion seems very high , mark of their courage that they know this , but also implying something is amiss wether it be lack of the correct and in sufficient quantities of equipment or that they are need of more rigorous training to stop the infections. By the time a health care official becomes involved the patient is probably in the latter and most infectious stage but something is very wrong it seems to me.



I agree, I would imaging, lack of infrastructure, experience, overly stretched and tired staff all play their part in the number of healthcare workers getting infected. Remember not many healthcare workers have experience managing patients where a failure in PPI and infection control is likely to kill you.

The truth is, infection from a patient is a risk to all front line healthcare works, it’s just generally, vomiting bugs, the flu, more rarely hep B, hep C and TB. Although we work to reduce the risk to a very low level. I can think of occasions in my career in A+E where I have been at risk of this happening, slipping with a dirty sharp(needle) and jabbing myself, someone vomiting all over me, body fluids being sprayed into the air or a confused patient scratching, biting or spitting on me.


A heroic and commendable effort. One thing you might add is that these centres are being built much more quickly than comparable ETCs. Sadly, even this speed seems to not be enough, as the need for beds in SL is now in the thousands. I think we need to accept the use of community care centres, upgrading existing health facilities, home care, and other types of non-ideal solutions.


[…] Although many might think the 100 bed medical complex will be used for treating Ebola patients, this is not the case, the medical facilities will only be used for injuries and non Ebola illness. If any personnel contract Ebola they will be treated ashore. […]


Speaking as someone with a daughter in law who is a specialist in the disease and presently doing a second deployment to the area I think overall this is a very, very good article with great deal of information but did it need the Gaurdinista sneering about Cameron at the beginning? It would have been just as good without it.