Army veteran from Sheffield lifts the lid on the experiences of soldiers for hire in Iraq

Army veteran from Sheffield lifts the lid on the experiences of soldiers for hire in Iraq

Gary Roberts talking to a pilot in Tikrit, Iraq. For a boy like Gary Roberts, the Army was meant to be a life raft. Expelled from school in Sheffield, he found an escape by visiting a recruiting office shortly before his 18th birthday. By 1997 he was serving in the light infantry. He completed tours in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Sierra Leone, then in 2003 was deployed in Iraq as chaos began to reign following the American and British forces’ controversial invasion. Gary Roberts, an Army veteran from Sheffield. Afterwards he entered the shadowy world of private military contracting – but in 2015, while in the middle of a posting in Africa protecting oil tankers from pirates, an episode from his past came back to haunt him. ‘The most dangerous place on the planet’ – army veteran shares experiences of life in Afghanistan war zone In Basra he had killed someone for the first time, shooting dead an AK47-toting Iraqi insurgent with two bullets to the chest. The incident was picked up by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), an organisation that was shut down without any charges being brought, costing taxpayers £35m – but for some time Gary faced a murder charge and experienced all the consequences a civilian suspect would expect, from a dawn raid on his home to an interview under caution at a police station. Consequently, Gary’s new book, Seven Point Six Two: The True Story Of Soldiers For Hire In Iraq, represents what he believes is a first. “I think I’m the first person to write a memoir about the IHAT and the Iraq war inquiries,” he says. How opinions on Chris Ryan writing about the SAS ‘have come 180 degrees’ after controversial start to literary career He writes in detail about the shooting […]

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