The British BLACKHAWK DOWN: How a patrol from the Parachute Regiment fought its way to safety while six British military policemen were massacred.In 24 June 2003, six British military policemen were killed in the most horrific circumstances in Iraq. At the same time, and in the same town, a small patrol of the Parachute Regiment shot its way out of an Iraqi ambush. Mark Nicol investigates the controversial deaths of the Military Policemen, drawing on their own diaries and letters home, as well as eyewitness testimony from their Iraqi Police interpreters. At the same time, he tells the incredible story of how a hopelessly outnumbered patrol of Paras managed to escape the fury of the mob. The Paras were ready to die, fighting, in the best traditions of the maroon berets. Their lives were ultimately saved by Private Freddy Ellis, whose bravery under fire moved his commander on the ground to recommend he be decorated. Sergeant Gordon Robertson was awarded a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his leadership during the contact.This was the British BLACKHAWK DOWN. Mark Nicol has travelled back to Iraq to produce the first and only coherent account of the bloodiest day of the British experience in Iraq.
Mark Nicol is a journalist who has worked for THE EVENING STANDARD, SUNDAY MIRROR and NEWS OF THE WORLD. He has excellent contacts in the military, thanks to growing up in Hereford (his father served in the SAS for sixteen years) and his first book, ULTIMATE RISK (Macmillan 2003) described British special forces operations in Afghanistan. In 2004 he visited Iraq to research LAST ROUND.