On this day five years ago my war ended. It would be another 24 hours before I departed Afghanistan for the very last time but, having handed in my weapon systems, I was now a bystander rather than a combatant in the fourth Anglo-Afghan war.
As a schoolboy I recall listening to a Battle of Britain veteran recount his experiences as a World War Two RAF Fighter Pilot as “the best years of my life”. Later, having served in the Balkans myself four years earlier, I read Anthony Lloyd’s personal account of that war and his descent into heroin addiction: My War Gone By, I Miss It So.
Both men reveal a secret I guiltily share. War is the ultimate frontier of human experience. Paradoxically not to be missed but not recommended for your children either.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand. A true story of love, service and incompetence.
Over-matched, over-ruled and over-weight, Spin Zhira is a tale of one man’s personal battle against the trials of middle age set on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry or your money back.¹
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read.’
Frank Ledwidge, Losing Small Wars
Doug Beattie MC, An Ordinary Soldier
Dr Mike Martin, An Intimate war
¹Check the small print first